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A guide to deciphering dress codes

The spring social season is right around the corner, which means there will plenty of moments to say “I have nothing to wear!” What can make this even more panic-inducing is when the dress code reads “creative comfy” or “casual chic,” leaving partygoers scratching their heads. Fear not. There are ways to navigate the style end of the social #Seen.

Casual Chic: Think jeans or leggings, a pretty blouse or blazer, and either a pair of wedge booties or stilettos (if the idea of a casual dress or skirt seems dull). Jewelry can always dress up an outfit or lend a pop of color. For men, it’s all about dark jeans and a dinner jacket or a nice button down and cashmere sweater. Bowties are always a yes.

Parisian Chic: When an invitation comes with a city attached to the word “chic,” focus on the style of a designer from that part of the world. This could mean a color scheme, particular pattern or accessories that embody that region. It never hurts to surf Pinterest for inspiration.

Creative Comfy: Ladies, break out your flat shoes. This is a perfect time to wear easy, comfortable clothes in cheerful colors or prints with shoes made for walking. For men, tone down the polished vibe and let everyone enjoy that hipster ‘stache.

Funereal Cocktail Chic: Whenever there is a very specific type of clothing required focus on a color palette. The obvious choice for this would be black, but think outside the box and wear something unexpected like white (which is worn to funerals in the eastern part of the world). Remember, clothes are meant to be fun, so take risks and enjoy the costume aspect of specific dress codes. When in doubt, opt for a little black dress or dark suit and add excitement with accessories like hats, brooches or long gloves.

Black Tie Optional: The little black dress is always appropriate here, but it’s always nice to glam things up with a long gown. Try if the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a dress for one night is too much to handle. If showing off the gams is more your speed, pick a shorter dress that has embellishment to help amp up the glam factor. For men, a nice suit will do ... coordinating pocket square and tie are always a plus.