Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

What is 'Formal Wear'?

(34 Posts)
kittylester Wed 30-Oct-19 06:56:39

We are going to a 'do' and the dress code is Formal Wear. We don't go out much (!!!) and I have not seen this on invitations before.

What does it mean? What do I wear? Can I wear trousers?

Can I stay at home? gringrin

Riverwalk Wed 30-Oct-19 07:07:42

Unless it's very High Society and they mean white tie, usually it's dinner jacket for men and evening/cocktail dress for women. I'm sure trousers would be OK as long as they're 'eveningy'.

Don't stay at home!

FlorenceBrown265 Wed 30-Oct-19 07:15:51

Yes Riverwalk! You are right. Kittylester you should not stay at home and must enjoy your life to the fullest.

Nortsat46 Wed 30-Oct-19 07:17:26

I have seen lots of women (including me) wearing smart trousers with dressy tops/jackets at formal events when the men were in DJs.
I think strictly abiding by a dress code is less important than in our parents generation and most people aren’t too concerned.

I think the key is to feel comfortable and confident in whatever you are wearing.
Have a lovely time ...

GrannyGravy13 Wed 30-Oct-19 07:25:02

kittylester definitely “dinner suit” for Mr.Lester, for you it could be long dress, cocktail dress, floaty palazzo pants with top/jacket or ladies tuxedo with slim leg trousers.

I hope you enjoy yourself (House of Frazer has a “posh frock” sale at the moment)

ninathenana Wed 30-Oct-19 07:31:08

Think of all the weird and wonderful outfits you see being worn on the red carpet these days.
You mustn't miss the opportunity to wear a silky DJ style suit with not a lot underneath kitty ! wink
Trousers in right style and material would be perfectly acceptable.
Have fun.

cornergran Wed 30-Oct-19 08:16:47

Of course you can wear trousers kitty, just relax and enjoy it. I’m sure when you get there you’ll see a wide range of clothing. Don’t worry and no, you can’t stay home smile.

Brunette10 Wed 30-Oct-19 08:17:06

I def would agree - do not stay at home. Nice trousers with a smart maybe glitzy top and/or some glitzy jewellery would suffice. You can make a plain outfit looking very glam with accessories. Enjoy!

grapefruitpip Wed 30-Oct-19 08:27:15

kitty, a classy lady such as yourself should not be sporting a glittery top.
I suggest floaty trousers and a top in a vibrant shade, purple or red.
No messing around with tiny jewelry, a large wide bangle and a vintage bag.

dragonfly46 Wed 30-Oct-19 08:37:50

Yes I wear (wore) trousers to these dos. Just glam them up a bit. Unless it says black tie your DH can wear a smart suit and tie.

M0nica Wed 30-Oct-19 08:45:01

What type of occasion is it Kitty, if its a ball, I would say a long dress would be most appropriate, but dress not trousers but if it a formal dinner then a cocktail dress or smart trouser outfit. Tuxedo would be perfect.

Lins1066 Wed 30-Oct-19 08:53:04

Smart suit and tie for Mr Lester and yes you can certainly wear trousers Kitty - with a smart top, velvet or silk would be my choice. Don't stay home, go and enjoy it.

lemongrove Wed 30-Oct-19 09:02:52

This needs more checking out Kitty is there any way you can do it?
I would see ‘formal wear’ as a suit for your DH ( if it had meant black tie it should have said so.)
You could wear almost anything ( but not a ballgown!) dressy trousers and top, a pretty dress etc.

grannysyb Wed 30-Oct-19 09:27:37

Off thread slightly, but many years ago DH belonged to a golf club and the Christmas do invitation said "Ladies, cleavages will be worn!" My reaction was unprintable!

craftyone Wed 30-Oct-19 09:35:35

Trousers are fine but they should be floaty evening types with a glittery or silky smart top. Nice hair do and sparkly earrings. I have many times worn trousers to formal business dinners. Formal for a man always means a dj, never a normal suit. Bow tie, nice white shirt with perhaps a bit of ruffle or embroidery and very shiny black shoes

GrannyGravy13 Wed 30-Oct-19 09:45:55

I agree with Craftyone formal for a man is always a dinner suit, otherwise the invitation would have said "lounge suits"

kittylester Wed 30-Oct-19 11:43:29

Thank you all!!

I'm going with nina's suggestion!! grin

It's not a ball it's an awards dinner with a 'sit down' curry. And 'carriages' at midnight!

At the ripe old age of 71 I am aware that I would much rather stay at home than go to anything that requires 'formal' dress! But, duty calls.

jaylucy Wed 30-Oct-19 11:56:14

You may surprise yourself and have fun !!!
If you prefer wearing trousers, no need why you shouldn't - plenty of choice in many shops at the moment - go for plain black in either velour or a soft jersey that you can wear every day after, with a floaty top or if you are brave, there are a lot of jumpsuits about ! A couple of items of sparkly jewellery and you are done. Worth checking out local charity shops.

HildaW Wed 30-Oct-19 12:15:29

'Formal wear' is not quite as definite as 'Black tie' which really means the man should be in a dinner jacket.
I know its not quite the same thing but on a recent cruise we had 'Formal' nights and the suggested ladies choices did indicate that evening trousers were quite acceptable. Which in my case is most appreciated. My legs have never been my best feature and as time goes by they need sturdy support tights to make them look half way decent so well cut evening trousers in a suitable fabric are pretty much my choice.
I have three pairs one black t'other two shades of navy, all fairly wide cut on the legs but well tailored. I partner them with evening tops and jewellery and feel 'suitably' attired.
I think its all a matter of how you feel - with me I tend to use a bit of make-up and take extra of care with my hair on such occasions and I certainly feel I have hit the brief. I have never felt either over or under dressed - just me but on a good day.

kittylester Wed 30-Oct-19 12:45:28

That's my thought really hilda. Good excuse for a new blouse!!

Galen Wed 30-Oct-19 13:15:55

My formal dress on cunard

GrannyGravy13 Wed 30-Oct-19 13:32:38

You look extremely glamorous Galen

Galen Wed 30-Oct-19 13:45:07


kittylester Wed 30-Oct-19 17:43:56

You do look glamorous galen! I'd never carry that off!sad

craftyone Wed 30-Oct-19 17:52:50

cruise formal, rather different to an awards or business formal