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What the heck is "casual", anyway?

So, I'm going to an Event Friday night, as a chauffeur and companion for my father. Said event's invitation says "Casual Attire". And I'm going through wide swings in my guesses as to what to wear.

The event is a retirement dinner for a good friend of my father's, a man who is a fairly high-up State employee in the environmental area. The bureaucrat role makes me think "dress up, people will be in business suits", though the environmentalist role edges the scale down some. I think. The dinner will be held at the Southface Institute, offices of a group that promotes environment-friendly housing.

My work clothes are generally jeans or khaki pants, and a cotton shirt. If I'm the hostess and I say "casual", I mean your raggedy cut-offs and T-shirt are perfectly fine. Clearly, my definition of casual must be upscaled for this. :) I'm debating between a summery dress, or a slacks-and-jacket outfit of some sort. All this is complicated by my change in sizes--I don't have any nice slacks that fit right now, nor any summer jackets. I've got dresses I think are too dressy (but one of which might get worn anyway) thanks to things I hoarded for years, but nothing that seems right.

Anyone got opinions? I think I'll make one shopping trip to see if some outfit just hits me as right for this, but I'm not much good at undirected shopping.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
trolleypup
May. 3rd, 2004 03:58 pm (UTC)
Ugh. Really hard to tell without knowing the people involved. I'd go with something you already have, rather than shopping for the elusive and unspecific "casual".
ex_rolanni
May. 3rd, 2004 09:09 pm (UTC)
Rule of thumb is that my "dressed up" is everyone else's "casual." I am forever scarred by arriving at an event described by a friend as "casual" in blue jeans and a t-shirt to find that "casual" in context meant crisp-pressed dress slacks, pastel sweater, and pearls.

I usually go "casual" in black jeans, and a white shirt; if it's cool enough, I'll add a black leather vest. Just to show, you know, that my heart's in the right place.

nlbarber
May. 4th, 2004 02:47 am (UTC)
That's my fear: that I'll be in khakis when everyone else came from their offices (lots more formal than USGS runs probably, as we're about as informal as it gets) in suits and dresses, and the men just removed their ties. I rather be a little on the dressy side for the crowd than vice versa, especially if I can manage that without sacrificing comfort.

Must go contemplate the closet contents again, and try on a few more things...
filkferengi
May. 6th, 2004 03:34 pm (UTC)
I think the pants & jacket combo would look spiff, & be a great way to showcase the New You. But if you don't have them, don't worry about it. It's far more important to be comfortable & able to enjoy the occasion, than being all self-conscious.

Why not go with your summer dress idea? You could be cool & comfortable, yet still show that you'd made an effort. Also, dresses tend to be a bit more forgiving of size changes, in either direction.

The main thing is, have fun with your dad! [Is he tall enough to provide a convenient corner for you to lurk in? ;)]
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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