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Too formal in Philly
Hosts and fashion police like to throw out dress code terms and phrases as if they were an actual Thing. But most of these combinations of words are made up, virtually meaningless, just thrown together to get someone off the hook. "Semiformal." "Cool casual." "Relaxed retro." "Country club." And at auditions, "Wear something you can move in." I hate when I get dressed in the morning and can't move.
Most men really wish an invitation would say, "Wear your navy sportcoat with your khaki slacks, a crisp white shirt, and that print tie you got for your birthday last week." Many women long for cues such as, "Little black dress" or "Evening, but cut above the knee." But alas, despite the promise of mass customization, many of us still have to pick out our own clothes. It's true in our social lives, and it's true at work.
To my ear, "business casual" is the most intriguing phrase of the new economy. Such an oxymoron. After all, business is no more casual than Vanity Fair's Oscar party is optional.
First of all, don't stop buying suits. Nothing makes you feel quite as fabulous at an important meeting or power breakfast as a dark suit and smart tie. It's almost impossible to overdress for work unless you show up in evening Versace. And every executive should keep a spare suit and clean shirt on hand in the office in case Ted Koppel shows up unexpectedly with a camera crew.
In the end, you should wear whatever feels appropriate. If you are comfortable in a suit, then continue wearing suits.
Whatever your personal Philosophy of Style, wear it with confidence and panache and the results will be, well, fabulous. Good luck!
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