Saturday, March 1, 2014

Festive Casual

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Lauren asked me on the phone this morning. {For reference, she’s the best friend a girl could ask for, but she’s persistent.} 

We’re going to a Mardi Gras party tonight. Festive Casual was the answer…. the bane of the partygoer’s existence. “I don’t know,” I replied, “I didn’t make it up, I’m just saying...”

And truly, I don’t know. She peppered me with questions….

Her: “Well, is it festive or is it casual?”
“Peggy wants to know if Jim has to wear a tie? Will your husband be wearing a tie and a jacket?”
Me: “I dunno…let me ask” (I ask….)
Husband: “Wait! You never said I had to wear a tie! I have to wear a tie every day. I don’t have to wear a tie, do I?”
Me: “It’s festive casual.”
Husband: “What does that mean? Oooh. I’ll wear a print-type shirt, like Hawaiian-style!”
Me: {Silent look of horror.]
Her: “If it’s festive, does that mean a Brazilian Carnival outfit would be appropriate? 
Me: “Uhhh…”
Her: “Festive can mean glitzy, you know. I’ll go glitzy.”
Me: “Fine, you go girl.”
Husband: “It’s a Mardi Gras party. Should I wear a costume?”
Me: “Oh, God no.”

It’s 9:30 a.m. and my entire evening is now hanging by a sartorial thread. I was already pondering what to wear to this event with my usual concerns in mind; does it make me look fat? Will my feet hurt in those shoes? Is it hip enough? Now, I have to mentally balance whatever choice those parameters yield against the tableau of being sandwiched between a redheaded Carnival dancer and a 40-something man in a floral shirt. Not good.

Although I believe the hearts of the etiquette arbiters were in the right place when they decided to break things down from simply black tie or morning suit to a plethora of new, contemporary categories, I’m in a quandary. And I don’t think I’m alone.

“Creative black tie,” “smart casual," "dressy casual," "informally fabulous," and "simply chic” are all versions of the ubiquitous festive casual. It's all left me feeling like I've got a big closet full of nothing!

What’s your solution to this brain twister?

I’m not sure how I’m going to navigate this wrinkle and avoid a fashion calamity, but the answer may be spelled B-L-A-C-K-D-R-E-S-S. I'll try to take some shots of the people at the party to see what they chose to wear so you can see for yourself.

Until then, try to be sweet!

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