It’s the story of a lot of girl’s lives: there’s a party or event with their boyfriend’s side of their social circle, and he can’t tell you the dress code is. You may ask, of course, but most guys will just look at you confused and wonder what’s so different (or important) about wearing heels or wearing flats or wearing a dress or not.
So in an effort to make this often stressful and hilarious (when you get it wrong, at least in retrospective) process, I decided to make a dictionary, so all you’ll need to do is ask one question: “What are you wearing?”. Or maybe “What are you going to wear?” to avoid probably funny (and happily-ending) misunderstandings.
His answer will determine what you end up wearing, of course, because even if he, like my Dude, doesn’t consciously know what he’s doing, he makes choices by the vibe he gets from a place or his friends or the situation, and that’s good enough. Let’s see this as a “vibe” to fashion dictionary.
Shoes are the most determinant factor, because most conventional guys will only wear non-sneaker-type-shoes if the situation calls for it. Also, shoes are key to the vibe we exude, and so let’s break this into categories by shoes.
The situation is casual.
Shoes: You could opt for flats, slippers (the out-of-the-house-kind) or even cute sandals. If you’re usually dressy or he tends to underdress go for understated wedges. Flat booties or a pair of Converse All Stars are an option, too.
Clothes: This probably calls for jeans, and even sometimes shorts. You have absolute freedom as long as you don’t go anywhere more elegant than a sundress. If we’re talking about a nightly activity, such as a bar, go for a light dress and wedges. Heels would most likely be overkill.
The situation involves a pool or an ocean or sand or extreme heat.
Shoes: Avoid flats that might make your feet a sweaty mess. Go for sandals or espadrilles, depending on your mood.
Clothes: Cute denim shorts, skirts or a sundress. A maxi skirt or maxi dress might be just what the doctor (i.e., me) ordered.
(Edit: When my Dude read this his first question was “What’s the difference between espadrilles and moccasins?” and then he proceeded to point out that he would wear sandals because he’s not a hipster, totally ruining my attempt to deny the existence of male-sandals. I shall forgive him because he’s so hot.)
The situation is seriously elegant but allows for a bit of playfulness.
Shoes: Good heels, with no platform. Nothing you would take to a club with a mini-mini dress.
Clothes: Not the aforementioned mini item. If he wears a suit got for a cocktail dress or ask him if the invitation explicitly says “Etiquette”. If it does, go for a full-length dress.
Driving moccasins / Casual boots
The situation is casual but somewhat put-together. And you should be too.
Shoes: Dressy sandals, pretty flats or wedges. Booties also apply.
Clothes: The key here is really the length of his pants. If he’s wearing anything shorter than full length, read the entry on sneakers. If he’s wearing real pants, think of business casual with an edgy twist. For more info read my post on it.
The situation involves either the flu or a night in bed. I’m going to go for only the latter.
Shoes: None. Unless you’re into that, in which case go for the hottest heels you own.
Clothes: Very, very little to none.
You go, girl 😉