TEDxAUCollege | What to wear to TEDxAUCollege 2018: Dress codes explained
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What to wear to TEDxAUCollege 2018: Dress codes explained

-Isabel Retterath

It’s the evening before a big event and you’re standing in front of your closet, deciding what to wear. The dress code is ‘casual chic’, and you’ve spent all afternoon figuring out what that is supposed to mean, but without much luck. After having tried on a dozen different ensembles, you decide to go with the outfit you wore on your aunt’s birthday and hope for the best.

Does the situation above sound familiar to you? Chances are, it does. In fact, a survey by retail chain Marks & Spencer revealed that on average, women spend six months of their lives deciding what to wear. Men aren’t much better off, spending roughly four months in a lifetime picking an outfit. These numbers apply to normal situations, such as going to work or school, but vaguely formulated dress codes can throw even more stress into the mix.

The annual TEDxAUCollege event will be held in the not too distant future, namely on the evening of March 13th. In order to minimize the efforts of getting dressed for the occasion, we’ve made a roundup of six common dress codes and explained what they actually entail to give you an idea of what to wear to the event.

1. Black Tie
Black Tie is a very stereotypical, women-wear-dresses, men-wear-suits kind of dress code. Think the Golden Globes, the Grammy’s and the Cannes film festival. Men are expected to wear a tuxedo, and in general women wear long designer dresses. If you’re ever invited to a Black Tie event, just wear your winter formal outfit and you’re good to go!

2. Cocktail
Again, this dress code is quite stereotypical. Men generally wear a dark suit with a tie, while women go for short party dresses. This dress code is usually worn during fancy events, such as birthdays, evening parties, and, not so surprisingly, cocktail parties. Fun fact: the first cocktail party ever was thrown in 1917 in St. Louis by a certain Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. and was described by the press as “the newest stunt in society”.

3. Business formal
Business formal is pretty straightforward: it generally involves outfits that could be worn to the office. This means a blouse paired with trousers or a pencil skirt, or, if you’re feeling funky, a head-to-toe suit. Unfortunately, for those of you who like wearing their weekend attire all day every day, jeans and sneakers are a no-go for this dress code.

4. Business casual
Business casual is a dress code that was actually introduced by the corporate world. The past few years, many large corporations have introduced the concept of ‘casual Friday’. What it means is that on Fridays, employees wear the toned-down version of their usual attire. Trousers can be replaced by khaki’s, blazers by jumpers, and ties are left at home. Still, the shoes are what makes the outfit more formal than casual: moccasins or brogues are good choices for a business casual outfit.

5. Dressy casual
This dress code is the second most casual one, and my personal favourite. It includes outfits that are a little chicer than what you would usually wear on a daily basis. You can wear your most beloved pair of jeans, and spice up the outfit with nice shoes or accessories such as a fedora, or, if you’re bound to Dutch weather, a colourful scarf to keep you warm.

6. Casual
If you’re having class, running errands all day, or meeting up with a friend, casual is your way to go. It’s the dress code that most of us probably resolve to on a daily basis. The rule of thumb with this dress code is as follows: if you feel comfy and relaxed wearing it, you’re good to go!

For the TEDx event, the dress code is somewhere between dressy casual and business formal. Naturally, the purpose of this brief overview of dress codes is only to give you an idea of what you could wear to different occasions, but nothing more than that. Rules are meant to be broken, especially when it comes to something as superficial as dress codes. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. So, if you feel like wearing red vinyl pants, a bright yellow suit, or just plain jeans with your favourite sweatshirt, then by all means, wear that! The most important thing is that you’re wearing something that is you, rather than what others have told you to wear. For those of you that prefer to have some guidelines for getting dressed, this post has hopefully given you an idea of what to wear to the TEDx event. We look forward to seeing you – and your outfits – on March 13th!

P.S. Tickets are almost gone! Make sure to get hold of one before they’re sold out.