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"Dress to Impress" on invitation

3891 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  zzdocxx
Hello Brethren,

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" 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.

Organ Human Microphone Gesture Tie

Thoughts or comments on "Dress to Impress" appreciated. I find it unnerving, but I am a traditionalist to the core.


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Further clarification. Some of the female attendees have been pushing for more guidance from our hosts.

"Guests can be as formal as they like. Our female officers will be wearing dresses, our male officers are wearing shirts with either tie or bow tie."

"I will be wearing a 3/4 length pencil dress, some of the other girls are wearing knee length dresses."

So, change of plan and I will go with the white dinner jacket, shawl collar.

It appears that the vague nature of "Dress to Impress" was not my concern alone.



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Nice try!

But wouldn't you rather something like this!? :pirate:

This photo confirms my fear that "impressions" in dress, as in life, can be both good and bad.

Thanks for the assist fellows. I will report as to how "Dress to Impress" is interpreted by the other guests. Sadly, no photos will be allowed at the event.

I am going with the basic kit while shawl, black tie, tuxedo trousers and patent shoes. I have the mustache back in fighting form after giving it a significant trim a few months ago.


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