I am attending an event billed as a "Valentine's Ball" at the British Deputy High Commission where a meal will be served. I imagine it will be a buffet verses a plated dinner. The venue is their community bar/pub/activity center so it certainly won't be the peak of formality. I am a bit stuck because the suggested dress on the invitation is "Dress to Impress". I am a bit perplexed as to how a "Ball" can be anything but formal?
My evening wardrobe covers the spectrum from white tie to black business suit with all the regular stops in between, yet in diplomatic circles this is the first time I have seen "Dress to Impress" on an invitation.
I contacted the host and the response was "Interpret as you see fit, but no jeans please." WTH?
A search of the internet leads me to understand that "Dress to Impress" is "sub black tie", with a broad personal license to be a bit, God forbid, "blingy" or "fashiony". From images, this is one of the few categories of dress where it appears easier for women to pull it off successfully than men. For the record, I am not "blingy" or "fashiony"....at all...with non argyle patterned socks being about as fashion forward as I can tolerate.
I am thinking of keeping it simple with a basic "Becks" DB look. White spread collar, conservative tie, linen pocket square, khaki or cream linen trousers, and a capt toe half brogue in black. I will forgo the body art however.
Thoughts or comments on "Dress to Impress" appreciated. I find it unnerving, but I am a traditionalist to the core.