Advice for Students

What to Wear to a New Year’s Eve Event

December 30, 2013  |     |   0 Comment

Balloons In The Sky Saying Happy New YearHeading to a New Year’s Eve event and not sure what to wear?  Is there a dress code noted for the event, but you’re not quite sure what it means?

When in doubt about what to wear, you can always ask the host or hostess what they expect their guests to wear.  If the event is taking place in the ballroom of a hotel for example, go online to see if there are pictures of previous New Year’s eve events that it has held and you will get a good sense of what people will be wearing.

The most important thing to remember is to choose an outfit that enhances your professional image. What you choose to wear will also depend on your confidence level, your body type, and the colours that compliment your skin. It’s usually best to choose an outfit that is more distinguished than showy –  and for women, not too short or too revealing.

If the invitation you have received or the event you are attending has specifically noted a dress code, here is a guide from fashion journalist, Cynthia Nellis, to help you determine what is appropriate to wear:

Black Tie:  A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire. Men wear tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates. A little black dress (“LBD”) is completely appropriate for black tie functions.  For women, remember that the hemline of your LBD should be at the knees or no more than two inches above the knees.

Formal:  Formal usually means the same, and is often interchanged with Black Tie.

White Tie:  A White Tie or Ultra-formal invitation requires men wear full dress, with white tie, vest, and shirt. Women wear long gowns.

Black Tie Optional:  A Black Tie Optional invitation gives you the option of wearing a tuxedo or formal dress but it should clue you into the formality of the event, meaning a dark suit and tie would be your other option. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.

Creative Black Tie:  Creative Black Tie leaves room for trendy interpretations of formal wear.  Men can dress in a more modern fashion with a tux — maybe a black shirt, no tie. Women can wear long or short dresses or evening separates.

Semi-Formal:  Semi-Formal means that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening event taking place after 6:00 pm would dictate dark suits for men, and a cocktail dress for women. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for men and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for women.

Business Formal:  Business Formal is the same as Semi-Formal for men, but for women it suggests that they opt for more tailored dressy suits and dresses. The idea is to still be business appropriate — which means nothing too sexy or slinky — but still dressed up.

Cocktail Attire:  Cocktail Attire means short, elegant dresses for her and dark suits for him. The little black dress is the ultimate cocktail dress and appropriate for most special occasions.

Casual and Dressy Casual: Casual generally means anything goes (including jeans, sneakers, etc.) If the host or hostess wants a more dressed-up approach, it would be dictated on the invite.

Dressy Casual calls for dressed-up versions of casual looks. For men, it could be trousers and a sport coat; for women, a dressy pants look. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts and other casual looks are not appropriate for Dressy Casual.

Informal:  Informal is often interpreted as the same as Casual but it actually calls for the same dress as Semi-Formal — dark suits for men, short dresses for women.

Festive Attire:  Festive Attire is usually seen around the holidays, with the mood of the party being Informal or Semi-Formal. For women, it means to choose looks with a bit of sparkle or holiday bent (i.e. a beaded sweater with black pants, a red silk blouse with a black skirt).

Regardless of what attire you choose to wear to your New Year’s Eve event, remember that finishing touches will help you stand out. Grooming is key for women and men. Hair should be squeaky clean and perfect. Nails clean. No chipped nail polish.

Accessories make an outfit come alive and show off your sense of style. Keep it simple and elegant.  Shoes are vital. High heels are standard for women. Black leather shoes are a safe bet.  For men, make sure your shoes are polished and in tip-top shape.

For women, spend some time on your makeup. Take what you normally wear during the day and spice it up a little with subtle stronger elements for the evening. For men, a clean shave is important or if you have any facial hair, make sure it is also properly groomed.

Once you have your attire figured out, be sure to brief yourself before your event and have your “game plan” ready to ensure you make the most of it. Decide whom you need to meet, greet, and thank upon arrival and departure.  As a guest, be calm and gracious. Circulate and greet others. Acknowledge those that you know by saying, “Good evening, it is good to see you.” Smile, make direct eye contact with those you speak with, and always shake hands when you greet and close a conversation.

Most importantly, this is an evening to enjoy and celebrate the promise of an amazing new year! Have fun and let your professional image shine through!

You must be logged in to post a comment.