A dinner party is different than a backyard BBQ, in that there will usually be far fewer people invited.  Dressing well for a dinner party is a sign of courtesy to your host, and you’ll feel like the odd man out if you’re underdressed. The simplest way to assure you look your best is by avoiding shorts, distressed jeans, graphic tee shirts… And don’t even think about sweats, PJs or a tank top. Unfortunately, many dinner invitations neglect to stipulate a dress code so you can usually look appropriate by looking at the occasion and what’s for dinner…

When attending dinner with friends, you will want to look put together but still convey a relaxed attitude. Here are a few scenarios…

  1. Say you have been invited out to a nice restaurant to celebrate a promotion, or some other special occasion. You might try a pair of dark suit pants, a cotton dress shirt with a silk tie, a sweater and/or sport coat and a good pair of leather shoes. Dinner might start with a cocktail (old fashioned is a classic choice), to be followed up with a nice cut of meat and a glass of Cabernet.
  2. Dinner at home? When people entertain at home they want their guests to be comfortable. Cords, chinos or nice denim are all appropriate and will pair nicely with a button down sport shirt. If it’s chilly, add a sweater, and a casual jacket. Finish off your outfit with leather shoes, and socks with a splash of color. The gathering will probably involve a glass of wine that the hosts have chosen to go with whatever they are serving, always be prepared for pasta, or maybe chicken, either way you will want to make sure you use your napkin wisely.
  3. For a very casual get-together (Say taco night at a good friend’s house, or the kid’s birthday party at a pizza parlor) you might choose a flannel shirt with denim and a pair of chukka boots. Not a flannel kind of guy? How about a long sleeve Henley with a light weight cotton jacket? Beer and sodas are probably in your future here. Remember, just because you have known them since High School, doesn’t mean you should dress like you are still there.

As Oscar Wilde said: “You can never be overdressed, or overeducated.” Don’t worry about being the best dressed person at the party, people will notice, and they will step up their attire, at the next gathering.  You can always; Dress Well, be Confident, Find Success! Cheers!


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