An oxymoron created by men who don’t want to wear a tie – it’s roots, most likely stem from right here in the Silicon Valley. Yes, California is to blame. Straightforward for men, confusing for the rest of us.
The term itself is ambiguous, open to the mind of the interpreter. Since I reside where this term most likely originated from (East Coaster’s would never pull a trick like this on their guests!), I feel a responsibility to set the record straight.
So what exactly is Casual Cocktail Attire?
First, I believe it’s intentions are good. A hostess/host using this term wants you to feel festive yet comfortable at their event – they are setting a tone. They are not trying to trip you up. They themselves may not even know what the term means. But in being helpful, they are actually causing anxiety – because face it, we are all a bit confused.
I think we can all agree that a cocktail dress, for the most part is not comfortable, not to mention costly. Personally, the less formal attire I own, the better. Since Casual Cocktail doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, it’s important we talk about it, and come to except it, like we did years ago with Casual Friday (not that folks have that one figured out in the work place yet either!). Exceptance requires understanding.
The easiest way I can break it down for you, is wear something that you feel festive and comfortable in – but do take a moment to understand the venue, and your audience. I have seen the term “Casual Cocktail” used on invitations ranging from Reunions (you can read more on my musings from my own 30 Year High School Reunion HERE), Charity Events at the Ritz Carleton, Holiday Parties, to After Work Events and School Fundraisers.
So What Do I Wear?
This can be anything from dark dressy jeans, heels and a fun top – but be careful with denim, you may opt for black dressy pants instead, to a sassy colorful dress and heels. Or if you’re coming straight from work, throw some funky jewelry on with that black dress, switch out your pumps for a pair of funky sandals and you’re ready to go. My personal go-to; a black jumpsuit – mostly because I am more comfortable in pants. Knowing not all of you are fans of a jumpsuit, we all need a fun black dress on hand for moments like these – it will never fail you. You might show up wishing you were in something more colorful and fun – but an LBD, with the right accessories always works!
Your hostess is inviting you to “throw out the worry, of what everyone else is wearing”, and dress for you. Once I got over being angry with the term, I found it to be quite freeing. So embrace it, roll with it, and just have a fabulous time!
I’ve had these pieces in my closet for some time, but some or similar are available:
Here’s a look at a few more outfit ideas, that I believe could pass for Casual Cocktail Attire, so
if you are looking to pick up a new piece, here’s a few beauties!
Have you come across the Casual Cocktail dilemma?
What are your thoughts on Casual Cocktail?
What do you wear for Casual Cocktail?
Share your thoughts so we can learn together, and never be underdressed again!
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