Cocktail Attire (or Vote On What My Wife Will Wear)

You read that right, folks: I need you to help The Wife and I figure out what she’s going to wear. Actually, you’re helping me decide what I’ll be wearing. Thing is I have to match her, so whatever she decides to wear will be what she ends up wearing. And this is where you come in.

This Friday we’re scheduled to be up in Tampa to attend my 10-year high school reunion, which is being held at some club somewhere in town. (Why they didn’t just have it at the school gym or something is beyond me. Heck, it was good enough for our dances, why isn’t it good enough for our reunion?) Last week, The Wife asked me what the dress was for the event. Being the avid observer of such things as details I responded in a way befitting only those with the utmost confidence in their fashion skills: “I dunno. Something nice. Semi-formal, I think.”

Needless to say this didn’t get the acclaim I so had hoped it would have.

I then went… I mean, a while later, I… Alright, alright: after two days of The Wife asking me what the dress code was, I was finally forcefully convinced by The Wife to actually take a look at the invitation (sent to us through MySpace; I can only guess others received mailings I did not). There the dress code was spelled out as being “Cocktail Attire.” Of course, this caused a bit of a panic.

I honestly didn’t understand what the big deal was until I found out that Cocktail Attire doesn’t just mean nice: It’s not like Formal or Semi-Formal. Cocktail Attire is its own thing, with its own set of convoluted rules and regulations for women to endlessly debate over. (Guys, on the other hand, simply look at whatever is most comfortable then add a jacket to it. Simple.) Here’s a synopsis I found on the Internet (which, despite statements to the contrary, is the true cause of and solution to all of life’s problems):

Cocktail Attire: Generally seen referring to social gatherings, and some fine dining

  • For men, cocktail attire means suit and tie, or coat and tie. Colors and fabrics may vary with the season or with the location of the event. (A cocktail party at a friend’s place would be a little less dressy than one held in a nice hotel.)
  • For women, cocktail attire is the cocktail-length dress. Hair and make-up should be appropriate to the time of day (typically early evening) and the color and fabric of the clothing will likely vary with the season and location of the event.

Unsurprisingly, Cocktail Attire is a fairly easy thing for a guy to do. For a lady… not so much. While all we guys have to worry is about our clothes, how we look, and how we smell, ladies have the much harder task of having to worry about competition or some other such thing, I don’t really know.

So after a week of looking and debating, of scouring the store racks for something fitting, The Wife (with the help of my mom) narrowed the options down to the following two very economical, family friendly sets. Note that I won’t get into much description because, frankly, I don’t know much about things like cloth material or shoe styles, so you’ll just have to work on what you see. I’ll offer up whatever notes I can.

The First: This set is a light color option made up of a simple summer dress with a shawl, matching shoes and purse. The shoes, dress, and shawl were all bought separately, so they don’t match exactly, but they’re certainly close enough. (If you can tell the difference, I applaud you.) I like the fact that the light color complements The Wife’s hair and skin tones rather nicely. The dress also does a fairly good job of showing off her figure without being temptingly revealing. The pictures include the front, back, and pattern. I don’t like the fact that the materials seem to not go together as well. (But seriously, what the hell do I know?)




The Second: This set is the dark color option (navy blue). While they weren’t bought as a set, the fact that the shoes and dress are the exact same shade of blue makes one think so. I like the fact that this set matches beautifully, and looks therefore very complete and elegant with the right accents (shown). It looks much more dressy to me. This may (and likely will) also be accompanied by a white shawl to cover the shoulders, which should match the fabric of the dress much better than in the previous option. I don’t like the fact that this dress tends to dampen some of her more, how you say, enticing features? Maybe it’s the colors, maybe it’s the cut: I don’t really know. I suggested a white belt or bow (whatever you put around the waist) would complete the set very nicely. (But again, what the hell do I know?)



So here’s the deal: if you select the beige dress, I’ll likely go with a light pair of dress pants (beige) and either a light blue or white dress shirt. (I don’t have a jacket that’ll match that, so that will have to do.) If you select the blue dress, I’ll likely go with a pair of navy blue pants (which would match the dress beautifully), a white dress shirt, and a matching navy blue blazer.

While in the end you won’t have the final vote (sorry, but that’s reserved for The Wife), you do have a strong say in it, since she can’t quite decide right now what she’ll wear. Also, if you have any suggestions (and I know for a fact some of you are champions of the fabric and can guide me better than I could imagine) feel free to make them here. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask any questions: I probably haven’t given anywhere near enough information.

15 thoughts on “Cocktail Attire (or Vote On What My Wife Will Wear)

  1. This is funny. Good idea.

    Is there a poll thingy, or do I vote here?

    I go for the beige. She looks happier in that (bigger smile). Also, it’s summer (maybe not a big deal in FL, but still). Also, I don’t much appreciate the idea of blue on blue. Also, the second is pretty, but perhaps too dressy and after-eight-ish (what time is this thing anyway?). Also, why not wear the blue blazer on the light trousers (or does that look too college-like)?

    Okay, yes. That was it. Have fun.

  2. Also, it’s summer (maybe not a big deal in FL, but still)

    It’s *always* summer in Florida. Heck, I once wrote a song called “It’s Christmas in Florida” where I pretty much made fun of people who had such insipid little things as “seasons.” *heh*

    but perhaps too dressy and after-eight-ish (what time is this thing anyway?)


    Also, why not wear the blue blazer on the light trousers (or does that look too college-like)?

    The fabrics don’t look good together.

    No, the decision was already made on this one: the dark blue it is. (Apparently “cocktail” is a lot more closer to “formal” than I thought. Hell, I had originally planned to go in jeans and a Cubavera shirt.) The Wife’s happier with that, and all the ladies seem to agree: that’s what she should go with.

    Thanks for your input, though!

  3. OK, I know this is over and all, but I love the first outfit! She looks very classy and elegant in the matching beige dress, shawl and shoes.

    And my.. You’ve got lots of books, don’t you πŸ™‚

  4. Actually, she ended up wearing a white shawl with the blue dress. It made for the PERFECT touch up.

    As for books — My dear, that’s quite literally not even the half of them. πŸ˜€

  5. Hi! I dress people for a living… the beige outfit ifs too matronly for her and washes her out. It has too much of a “goody two shoe granny look”. The strapless navy is more youthful, flirty and feminine – and she looks great in it!

  6. Hands down, the darker dress. The first example is NOT cocktail attire!

    Also, the darker dress makes her look MUCH younger and slimmer! She looks sleek and sophisticated in that one. πŸ™‚

  7. I like the blue dress much better as well.

    Another important ‘factor’ is the time of the event. If is during the day (noon, morning) maybe is better to wear something with light colors… but at night is definetely better a dark dress, not necessarily but definetely someting ‘more’ formal…. not that I’m a designer or know a lot about the subject but it’s simple ‘women intuition’.

    Your wife chose the best option!! πŸ™‚

    I hope you both had a great time, I’ll continue with my research for my event next week πŸ™ …but you gave new ideas!!

  8. Definitely the blue. The yellow washes her skin tone out too much. She is pale as it is and the dress makes her look drabby. The blue makes her look younger and definitely works withher figure much beter. The yellow makes her look grandma-ish. Wonder what she picked in the end?

  9. It seems that this has been up for awhile, but I thought it would be fun to respond anyhow. I, too, am in a dilima about what to wear to a coctail party. I see it as a formal affair, but the skirt lenght is my issue. So, although the 10 year reunion is done and over, I liked the blue for the same reasons as Lorena. I hope you had a good time.

    1. She went with the blue! And yes, we had a wonderful time, thank you. Towards the end, though, things got weird–as these things usually do–when a drunk friend of mine started hitting on my wife, pretty hard. Her friend sort of had to pull her away and my wife, though flattered, was ready to go right there and then.

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