Dress Codes Demystified

By: Whitney Collins

Black Tie (aka Formal)
Yes: Black tuxedo jackets and matching trousers, patent leather shoes for men. Evening gowns or cocktail dresses for women.
No: Khakis, nose rings.

Black Tie Optional (aka Semi-formal, Indecisive, Passive-aggressive)
Tuxedos or dark suits for men. Evening gowns or cocktail dresses for women. Pantyhose or no pantyhose. Top hat or no top hat. Attend or don’t attend. See if I care. Not that you’d care if I cared. I may not even go myself. I might have something better to do. But if I do end up going, I’ll probably have a sinus infection. Or cancer.

White Tie (aka Ultra-formal)
Pretty much the same as Black Tie. Except racist.

Texas Black Tie
Pretty much the same as White Tie. Except homophobic.
Oh…and spurs.

Orange jumpsuit, handcuffs, Gucci loafers.

Smart Casual vs. Business Casual
Blue jeans and bifocals vs. Banana slings and ballpoints.

Casual Friday
Dockers, bed heads, Birkenstocks, mild cases of chlamydia.
(Casual Friday is not to be confused with Lackadaisical Wednesday, which permits flip flops and gonorrhea; or Devil-May-Care Tuesday, which authorizes Crocs and crabs. Please note: cutoffs, snoods, gladiator sandals, and genital warts are solely reserved for Manic-Depressive Thursday. We do not care what you wear on Suicidal Sunday, but keep in mind, a little rouge never looked bad on anyone.)

Festive (aka Holiday, Humiliating)
Yes: Sequins, musical neckties, tap shoes, dickies, clown noses, Groucho Marx glasses.
No: Recollection of how you ended up behind the office copy machine spooning with a Chia Pet.

Rugged (aka Sporting, Lesbian)
Yes: Orvis, pelts, slingshots.
No: Spandex, leg warmers, tampons.

Resort (aka Cruise, Water Park)
Yes: Disney attire, fanny packs, cellulite, Aqua Socks, body hair, suspicious moles, third nipples.
No: Concealed weapons, open wounds, Ph.D.s, dignity.

After Five
Yes: Sweatpants, preferably velour. Terry cloth. Red Lobster bibs. Zit cream.
No, I do not want to get back together with you. I just stopped by to get my DVDs and toothbrush. What’s that? I can’t have them until I have sex with you? Hmm. Let me sit here on the couch and think about that. Meanwhile, why don’t you go get me a beer while I finish your lobster? And a glass. A frosty one.

Mardi Gras (see also: Nursing Home, Nursery School)
No: Bras.
Yes: Diapers.

Dressy Casual
Pair an “A” item with a “B” item.
A: Wife beater, overalls, corncob pipe, trucker hat.
B: Tweed knickers, hoop skirt, cummerbund, monocle.

Rehearsal Dinner
Dude! Screw the rented tux; all you’re gonna need is a paper bag for your head. I am so totally going to bring up that time when we did that thing. And that other time when we did that other thing. If I get on a roll, I may even mention those two other times and those two other things! I am so going to make you hate me, and your fiancee hate you! It’ll be awesome, Bro! I’m also going to pick up half of my pork tenderloin during the speech and waggle it between my legs to illustrate a point. Then I’ll shed a few tears before grabbing your grandmother’s ass at the open bar. Soon after, I’ll puke. Any chance I can have your paper bag?

Country Club
Yes: J. Crew “critter” pants, ballet flats, tortoiseshell accessories, alcoholics (non-recovering).
No: Cosby sweaters, Drakkar Noir, Discover cards, Mormons.

Catholic School
Yes: Kilts, hemmed four inches higher than catalog standard. Dime bag in kneesocks. Cigarettes in padded bra. General countenance of ennui.
No: Fishnets. Yarmulkes. Mohawks. Ass-less chaps. Pasties. Pearl necklaces. Chewing gum in confession, Missy.

Le Smoking
Yes: this is an actual dress code.
No: I didn’t make it up.
Suggestions: Wear a beret. Drive your Le Car. Shave your le balls. Plan on doing lots of le cocaine.

Midwestern Thanksgiving Dinner
No: Bare feet, slouching, death metal concert tees, low-rise jeans, hickeys, Methodist jokes, tattoos, scatological humor, mini skirts, eyeliner, eye rolling, Doc Martens, wallet chains, Hannah Montana paraphernalia, or, God forbid, that vulgar v-neck number. What happened to that Lands’ End turtleneck we sent you last Christmas? Don’t tell me you gave it away. It’s probably all because of that man you’re co-habitating with. Oh, mother of pearl…the yams!
Yes: Horse tranquilizers, Snuggie.


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