The Dos and Don’ts of Navigating “Creative” Dress Codes

The Dos and Don’ts of Navigating “Creative” Dress Codes

Over the past few years, you might have noticed that you’re getting more and more invitations to events where the dress code is described as “creative.” While you might understand the general idea that these new dress codes are not strictly traditional, the term “creative” can mean a lot of different things.  So what exactly should you wear when you’re attending a “creative formal” or “creative cocktail” event, and perhaps more importantly, what should you not wear?  Here are a few guidelines to help you have fun with these dress codes without making a fool of yourself.

DO use this as an opportunity to take some risks.  Have you been looking for an excuse to try some new things with your style and get out of your comfort zone?  This is the perfect time to take advantage.  A creative dress code is a literal invitation to use your imagination, so don’t let it go to waste.

DON’T lose your overall sense of style. Don’t confuse risk-taking with arbitrary extremes – you want to be a style icon, not a clown.  The best risk-takers are not those who automatically choose whatever is most outlandish, but rather those who push the boundaries of their personal style while still maintaining a strong, coherent look.

DO experiment with color.  So many traditional events call for subtlety when it comes to color, which means you’re basically limited to black, navy, grey, or perhaps a muted brown.  A creative dress code, on the other hand, is your chance to try out all those color combinations that you always dreamed of wearing, or bolder colors that wouldn’t be appropriate at other times.  Don’t be afraid of greens, reds, or even purples!

DO pay attention to detail.  Being creative doesn’t always have to be about the big moves – you can also make your mark with interesting accessories, ties, or even socks.  The right cufflinks and pocket square can transform an outfit, and combined with an unusual pair of shoes and some amazing bracelets, you can really make a statement.

DON’T take this as an excuse to dress down. Just because the dress code is not strictly traditional formal doesn’t mean you should show up in jeans and a t-shirt. “Creative” means that you should play around within the general parameters of the formal or cocktail dress code, not give up on the dress code altogether.

DO make fun a priority.  When a host specifies “creative cocktail” or “creative cocktail” as their event’s dress code, they’re doing it because they’re curious to see what kinds of great outfits people will put together.  The guests will also get to enjoy each other’s looks, and that’s part of the point, so have some fun contributing to the jovial atmosphere.

We love to see risk-takers being style pioneers, and we have a wide array of pieces that would be great for any creative cocktail or creative formal event.  We can even create a custom outfit just for you, so now’s the time to let your imagination lead the way!

11921 Freedom Dr. Suite 100 Reston, VA 20190 | 703.904.0011

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