QUESTION: I am invited to an “after work” cocktail party in my co-worker’s home. It is directly after work, but should I go home and change clothes? If so, what should I wear? Casual attire?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: If this is an after-work thing, I wouldn’t go home and change clothes. Not many have the time or live that close to work. I would just edit your outfit for the day.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: First, you can ask the host what she’s wearing or what the attire is. Generally, if the time is right after you would normally get off work, like 5:30 pm or 6 pm, then wear what you would wear to work. If it is later, then it might be a little dressier and you also would have time to go home and change. You can also dress up a little more that day for work or layer your outfit and switch out, say, a business top for a more partylike one as you walk out the door, or bring a separate outfit to change into right after work. Deciding this depends on your schedule and the host’s dress code intentions, but generally it’s OK to ask.
HELEN’S ANSWER: It is up to you whether to take the time to change clothes. Usually if the party is directly after work, then whatever you are wearing is fine. You might put on a dressier jacket or scarf to change your look up a little, but unless the host/hostess specifies that the party is more formal, you are probably just right for the party. Have fun!
GUEST’S ANSWER:Linda Miller, former fashion editor for The Oklahoman and “Fashion Matters” blog writer: If you feel comfortable, ask the host — your co-worker — what he or she is planning to wear.
Or ask your other co-workers, but only if you know they’re invited. Assuming it’s a straight from the office to the party event, men can always change their everyday work look with a jacket, even if it’s worn over a polo style shirt and jeans.
Or if the office demands a suit, they can ditch the suit jacket for a more casual look.
Women can elevate almost any outfit with a statement necklace, earrings and a pair of heels. Sometimes it’s all about the details. It’s too bad the host didn’t specify casual or cocktail attire. That always makes it easier for those invited.
Since 2009, Callie, Lillie-Beth and Helen have written this generational etiquette column. They also include guest responses from a wide range of ages each week. So many years later, Callie is 20-plus; Lillie-Beth is 40-plus and Helen is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.