Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Attending a Soiree

So, you get an invitation in the mail for a soiree, and immediately you start thinking to yourself, "What do I wear? Am I going? Do I bring something? Ack!" To be honest, you got the easier end of the bargain if you are the receiver of the invitation, so don't freak out. This part is quite simple, but there are important rules of fashion and etiquette to follow for such an occasion.

Firstly, when you receive the invitation, check your social calendar and find out if you are going to go. If so, and you are at least 95% sure you can go, then go ahead and RSVP by whatever method the hostess has requested (phone or mail). If you at least 95% sure you can't go, then be sure to call and let the host/hostess know and be sure to express your regrets. It's better to call in this situation because you're trying to show her that although you can't go, you wish you could. If you're not sure if you can go, call the hostess, let her know, and that you may not be able to reply by the RSVP date. Tell her you will call her as soon as you know for sure if you can go. It is equally bad to show up when you said you couldn't than to not show up when you said you would, so make sure you know what you're doing. Either way it can throw a lot of things about the party off, so be considerate to the inviter. If at any time an emergency comes up and you have to alter your plans, call the hostess right away. She may be able to fit in another seat or fill yours if you aren't going. If you are going, and the invitation doesn't make it clear, as the hostess what the dress code is, so you can start planning your outfit. Also ask her if you can bring anything; she'll most likely say no, but it's polite to ask and shows you are grateful to be invited.

Let's say the soiree is a cocktail party, and the attire is commensurate with that kind of atmosphere. Men should wear a nice suit, usually in a dark color for an evening party, with a tie and good dress shoes. Women should wear a cocktail dress - think about Vivian in Pretty Woman. A cocktail dress is usually a fancy dress, but it only goes down to the knee, or around that length. Anything longer is too formal, anything shorter and you risk looking too casual or, even worse, slutty. The one at left is a good choice, and basic black is a nice, safe color that you can accessorize easily. You may also run into a lot of women wearing black, so if you want to stand out, you might select the dress at right, another knockout. No matter what dress you choose, make sure you pick a fancier fabric, such as satin or silk. Cotton, no matter the cut, will come off sloppy and underdressed. Pantyhose are a must, no matter what the weather, unless the venue is on a beach or some other situation where you might want to take your shoes off. Oh, while I'm on the subject, heels are also a must, and as we discussed before, don't forget your foundation! Hair is up to you. A lot of women choose to do a nice updo, and some choose to leave their hair down. If you do an updo, you should probably do more understanded accessories - too much and you'll look like you're at the prom. If you wear your hair down, you can pick flashier jewelry, to lend a little extra class to your ensemble. So what jewelery works well?

One of my favorite accessories is the cocktail ring, which is obviously fake, completely gaudy, and yet for some reason looks great with the dress. These extra-large rings are not only a good match, but can be relatively cheap - hey, everyone already knows it's not real. For understated jewelry, pick silver or gold (not both - that's okay for everyday wear, but not a fancy occassion) and get some nice, thin pieces. It will accent what you are wearing, but will still allow the dress to be the center of attention. Small rhinestones add a sparkly touch, and for your up or down do, you might try a couple of rhinestoned barrettes. As always, we caution you that using all of those pieces together is a bad idea, but pick out a couple and go with those. Also make sure you don't have too much going on in one place! If you do barrettes, use more understated earrings. If you're wearing chandelier earrings, go with a simple necklace.

Now it's time to go out and enjoy yourself. Show up about fifteen minutes late. Although we at Las F take pride in our promptness, you don't want to be the very first person there. Show up a little later and you'll already have people to mingle with, and everyone will pay attention when you walk in - we love making an entrance. Men, I have only one piece of advice for you: don't hang around the snacks. It's a party! Go talk to people, dance, tell a joke, but for crying out loud, you will eat again. Ditch the snacks and go start some conversations.