How to Dress for Any Occasion

These five clues will help you figure out what to wear to any event.


Formality of the Invitation

Photo by Bijou Karman

If you receive a letterpress or embossed envelope in the mail, chances are a skirt or suit is required. A Facebook message, unless it specifies otherwise, likely calls for a much more casual look.



The venue imparts plenty of info. A wedding at a country club has a much different vibe than one on a beach or in a ware­house. If the event is at an un­familiar spot, try searching online for photos ahead of time.


Time of Day

The start time of a party sets the tone for the celebration. Typically, the earlier an event, the less formal it is. Remember to take into account seasonal changes: Sunset comes sooner in the fall than in the summer.



Do what you can to suss out the cadence of the event. A limited time frame—say, if a shower goes from 3 to 5 p.m.—calls for differ­ent attire than a wedding that begins with an early­ afternoon ceremony and continues on to late­-night dancing.


Fellow Guests

When in doubt, ask for help. Check with a friend who is going to the same event or, better yet, call a few to get a wider sam­pling. If it's a wedding, though, try not to bother the bride—she’s busy enough. Reach out only as a last resort.