Come as You Are

How to dress for the Invite

by Aonika Laurent Thomas

The Lord said, “Come as you are.” I wish invitations would take a page out of God’s book. That most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching and if you’re lucky, your dance card will be full. The problem? Attire. It seems more and more, fewer folks are keeping it simple. It’s hard to know what to wear especially since there seems to be a lack of sartorial awareness across the board. You’ve seen it. Your cousin at the wedding wearing a bandage dress two sizes too small, four sizes too short, and the wrong hue for her skin tone, but it was on sale so she went for it. Or your colleague at the office party in her “church” dress. The invitation comes and it says “smart casual,” business casual, hip casual, dress to impress, white tie, black tie, and on and on. No worries, I have a cheat.

Black Tie­

This social event typically starts after 6 p.m. and gives you an excuse to throw on the glamour.

Ladies, wear a long formal gown. Period.

Gentlemen must wear a tuxedo.

Black Tie Optional

Ladies should still opt for a long formal gown.

Gentlemen, again, a tuxedo is more than welcome but you can go with a sophisticated dark suit and tie. Just think James Bond.

White Tie

Ladies, the same rules apply as black tie with the exception of adding white elbow-length gloves.

Gentlemen, the same rules as black tie (tuxedo) but swap the black bow tie for white. If the tuxedo comes with a vest, it should also be white.


Ladies, an elegant above-the-knee dress is most appropriate. However, you can opt for a pantsuit or jumpsuit. By no means does this equal stuffy. Don’t be afraid to go for some sparkle.

Gentlemen, a suit is best but you can certainly pull off a tailored blazer, trouser and pocket square.

Business Casual

Boring! Yes, I said it. We all know you go to work.  This is corporate’s way of saying, “We’re fun and business.”

Ladies, slacks, a nice blouse or top, skirt, or dress.

Gentlemen, chinos or cords, a sweater, and a great pair of chukka boots for fall is a can’t-miss.

Casual Chic

Simply put, mix a dressy element with something informal.

Ladies, leather pants with a feminine blouse and accessories or rugged boots and a ladylike dress.

Gentlemen, you will never go wrong with a cool jacket, crisp T-shirt and jeans.

Smart Casual

Really? Wear whatever you want.

3 Comment

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. I like Steve Harvey, and i like Ellen so i switch every other day between the both of you

  2. Wow! Great stuff

  3. Hey Mr Harvey my husband looks up to you he listens to to you on the week day he is prison you are his role model I pray one day if you don’t mind meeting my husband your radio station, TV show. Thank you Mr Harvey for your wisdom , may God bless you your wife and your family. But God ❤️

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