It is time to don your top hat, dust off your dancing shoes and prepare yourself for copious amounts of champagne; the season of soirees is upon us. Your calendar is about to become overloaded with cocktail parties, dinner invitations, work drinks and social occasions of every sort. Whether you are the consummate host or the grateful guest, to make it through the season unscathed we have compiled a few tips to avoid those festive faux pas, a social survival guide for the party season if you will…
Decoding the Dress Code
With so many events to attend it is important to have your wardrobe suitably stocked, and yes gentlemen we are speaking to you as well. A glance at your invitation will often set the tone for the evening. White tie, black tie, smart casual; what does it all mean?
For a full list of attire from buttons to bootlaces, we suggest consulting your handy Debrett’s guide; however, here are the basics:
White Tie – Gentleman, think tails, white waistcoats and white ties (naturally). Ladies, this is an occasion of the most glamorous sort so prepare your finest jewels and full-length gown and an exotic evening bag.
Black Tie – Pull out your dinner jacket, polish your shoes and practice your bow-tying skills. Despite what the name suggests, ladies you do not need not wear black (bad luck gentlemen), a smart cocktail dress and statement clutch bag will do.
Smart Casual – The most misleading of all dress codes…A jacket or blazer is considered appropriate, but the good news is that a tie is optional. The key is to look suave, but not as if you just stepped out of the boardroom. Denim lovers need not fear, as jeans, smart jeans, are also included within the realms of ‘smart casual’ attire. The same rules apply for women so channel your inner Parisian and think elegant yet effortless.
Being a Gracious Guest
We find that nothing starts off a night on the right foot quite like a present for your host. This need not be the time for grand gestures, but a little gift for the home goes a long way. One thing we have learned (and this may shock you) is that cut flowers are not generally considered an ideal choice as it gives your host the job of hunting for a vase…
Stage two of being a gracious guest will hopefully come as less of a surprise, the thank you note. Whether you compliment the food, the host, the company, the dog or the decorations, you are sure to start the New Year in their good books.
Not Getting too Merry
The best parties are always those which end with a few anecdotes and indulgence is almost a festive prerequisite; however, if Dickens is anything to go by, your Christmas actions can (and will) come back to haunt you.
To avoid the classic, clichéd blunder of getting tipsy we like to remember one simple rule. A host or waiter will refill your glass whenever it is empty; however, if you always leave a third of your glass full you can decide for yourself when it’s time for a top up so you are always in control.
Nietzsche once said, ‘In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.’ He may not have been referring to parties in the festive sense, but we think he still managed to capture the essence of the party season…