We’ve all been there—you get an invite to a special event but the dress code is somewhat ambiguous. Even when you’ve mastered your personal sense of style, there are moments that can send your sartorial mind reeling. This is exactly what happened to me a few days ago. I received an invite from a prestigious skincare brand to attend one of their product launch luncheons. I was of course honored and excited especially since it was to take place at the celebrated Le Bernardin Privé. This private dining area comes from the renown Le Bernardin which holds three Michelin stars. Needless to say, I was just as excited about the food as much as the launch!
But then the age old question hit me…what on earth was I going to wear?
Le Bernadin has a strict dress code but I wasn’t sure if the same holds true for its private dining area just across the way. The invite didn’t hold much insight either. So what is a girl to do at times like this?
What to Do When In Doubt About What To Wear
Research the Venue
Checking out the venue’s website can tell you a lot about its overall vibe. Some venues might even disclose its dress code up front. However for most places the dress code is less than direct. If that’s the case, check out their Instagram feed or search for the venue under IG’s ‘places’ tab. There you can see what people wore at past events and get a gist of how the usual clientele dresses.
What’s the Event For
Obviously dressing for a luncheon is different from dressing for an evening gala, even if it takes place at the same venue. Don’t forget to factor in the time of day, the type of event, as well as who is hosting when planning what to wear. Attending an afternoon luncheon on a weekday for a sophisticated but approachable brand? Stay on point with a look that’s business casual.
Better to Overdress than Underdress
In my opinion, it’s always better to turn up overdressed than underdressed. At least it looks like you cared enough to make an effort rather than looking like you didn’t care at all, especially when it comes to making an important first impression. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to get all gussied up. I find you can never go wrong with something classic, timeless, and chic—like a white button down shirt and a pair of tailored trousers.
Add a Blazer
I think this is the best trick ever because it’s like you’re wearing two outfits in one. If you throw on a sleek blazer over a casual look like let’s say, a vintage t-shirt and jeans, it’s like having the best of both worlds. I don’t think it’s possible to look overdressed or underdressed in a blazer over a tee and jeans. Plus, you can go from day to night in no time flat. When choosing a blazer, opt for something simple with clean lines. It’ll go with everything. For more tips on taking your outfit from day to night, check out this post.
Stay True To Yourself
This is especially important for bloggers and entrepreneurs who want to clearly represent their brand. Days before the event I sort of already knew what I was going to wear. I had fallen madly in love with this Zara dress and I knew it’d be perfect for my luncheon. Obviously though I had to wear something underneath it. It is sheer, after all. In my head, I immediately envisioned it over my favorite pair of jeans, my Levi’s 517s. It was a look that was so me, chic but caj, not to mention modern but vintage. The thing is, I was worried that jeans were 1) not allowed at Le Bernadin Privé, despite no rules saying so and 2) a little bit too casual for the event. So I headed to my closet and tried it on with a more “business appropriate” pair of trousers. It just didn’t look right. The jeans were clearly the better choice. So in the end I went with the jeans and I’m glad I did. Not only was the outfit perfect on the day of (no one poo-pooed the look or threw any shade), it was staying true to my personal tastes and it reflected my job, a blogger with an authority on style.
I hope you’ve found some of these tips helpful. If you’d like to receive more fashion and style tips sent straight to your inbox, feel free to sign up to my e-newsletter. Tomorrow I’ll be sending out the second edition of my brand new Shop With Me series all about my summer skincare and beauty must-haves. Read all about Shop With Me in yesterday’s post here.