Consider the local culture of destination
Sure, “Athleisure” may be hip stateside, but in countries like Japan or South Korea, not only is it perceived as sloppy—it’s also offensive. Same goes for wearing flip flops in Arab, Hindu and Buddhist countries, or skimpy clothing in the Middle East and North Africa. To avoid unwittingly causing offense, read up on the country to which you are visiting’s dress code. An oversized scarf of shawl is also a good investment for more culturally conservative countries.
Some invitations stipulate a dress code. This is so everyone is dressed to the same level and no-one feels uncomfortably over/underdressed – it’s nothing to get all revolutionary about. Here are the codes, just so you don’t have to look them up anywhere else. Let’s explain…
White tie signifies a very rare, extremely formal event requiring proper ball gowns, top hats, tiaras and gloves and stuff.
Black tie indicates smart evening wear. For women, this means a cocktail dress, long or short, and any colour you like, including black.
Morning dress is often used for weddings or a race meeting where you might bump into a member of the royal family. It means formal day wear: a smart suit or knee-length dress and probably a hat.
Evening wear means smart and evening. (but not as uptight as black tie).
Smart casual means exactly what it says. Clean and comfortable: no jeans, no sportswear.
You’ve been warned! Happy styling!