Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Image via Shutterstock. Photography by Kate Warren Cinnamon Pittman, Scott Nash, and Tracy Bernstein. Photograph by Andrew Propp Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock/Halay Alex. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock | shutterstock.com Image via Shutterstock. Illustration By Dan Page Image via Shutterstock. Photograph courtesy of FiLIP Technologies Photographs by Natalie Chitwood, Styling Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency, Makeup/Hair Patti Nelson for THE Artist Agency Illustration by Alex Green/Getty Images. Image via Shutterstock. Photograph by Jeff Elkins
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Image via Shutterstock Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock. Photograph of kitchen by Stephen Simpson/Getty Images. Photograph of mudroom by Angie Seckinger; design by Marika Meyer. Photograph by Weikerken Altema Photograph by Fuse/Getty Images Photograph by Julie Fischer McCarter Photography by Kate Warren Courtney Cox, with her kids Carter and Virginia, leads an afternoon of cookie baking in the brightly lit kitchen. Cox had the skylight built to capture even more natural light. Photography by Kip Dawkins Photograph of The Young and the Restless by Monty Brinton/CBS
Photograph of The Millionaire Matchmaker’s Patti Stanger by Randee St. Nicholas/TY KU/Bravo
Photograph of The Biggest Loser by Trae Patton/NBC
Photograph of Orange Is the New Black courtesy of Lionsgate
Photograph of Scandal by Richard Cartwright/ABC
Photograph of Homeland’s Claire Danes by Jim Fiscus/Showtime
Property Brothers by Caitlin Cronenberg/HGTV
Photograph of Kim Kardashian by Brian Bowen Smith/E! Entertainment
Photograph of Mark Wahlberg at Kids’ Choice Awards by Lester Cohen/WireImage/Nickelodeon
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Photograph by Robert Daly/Getty Images Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photography by Kip Dawkins; Styling by Marcie Blough Photograph courtesy Bloomingdale’s
Getting dressed for party season has never been easier. Yes, fashion always rules, but the rules are more fun. Here’s the rundown on playing dress-up.
If the invite says:
1. Casual Chic or Smart Casual
> Decoded: Swap sleek pants for jeans—this is the time for denim to save the day. Pair with a beautiful blouse and one statement piece, like a cocktail ring, drop earrings, or bold bangle.
2. Black Tie or Creative Black Tie
> Decoded: This is your Cinderella moment. Reach for floor-length gowns in luxurious fabrics that aren’t part of your everyday wardrobe. If your host throws “creative” into the mix, stick to the same sophisticated style, but add an unexpected twist, like a bold pop of color via your heels or clutch.
> Decoded: Opt for a shorter hemline in a fun, unexpected texture, like lace or fringe. “I love the flapper look because it’s really different and most definitely not something you’d see everyday,” says Allan. This is also the time to reach for an embellished top and eye-popping color.
> Decoded:Bust out the sparkles. Go for the gold, or color, or sequins, or anything that screams fun (well, maybe it doesn’t scream, but you know what we mean.) “Let the location be your guide as to how far to go,” says local stylist Kara Allan.
5. Black Tie Optional
> Decoded: The level of formality is up to you, as long as it’s still dressy. Though you’ll want to skip the ball gown, you can still wear a floor-length dress. Cocktail looks are an ideal choice because the hemline practically ensures you won’t be overdressed, but keep beading and shine to a minimum.
6. Business Formal
> Decoded: Conservative rules, regardless of your political affiliation. Go for a tailored, crisp look—be it pantsuit or pencil skirt and blouse—in toned-down shades of navy, gray, or black. A simple pair of pumps pulls everything together.