When you are a child, dressing for a birthday party means simply wearing whatever tee shirt can withstand dribbles of red punch, chocolate cake and crusty white icing. But as an adult, birthday parties are more than just a two-hour sugar high. A birthday party is a great opportunity to show a friend or family member how much you care about him or her, to celebrate with others, and even to meet new people from both a personal and professional standpoint. So you should, of course, dress to impress…even at a birthday party.
The first thing to consider when deciding what to wear to is to look at the invitation for any wardrobe requests. Theme parties are popular now, and you may be asked to participate by dressing a certain way. Even if dressing like a pirate at your 4 year old nephew’s party doesn’t sound like a blast to you, you should honor the host’s request. So slap on an eye patch and a tie a silk scarf around your neck, lest you look like a party pooper.
For adult birthday parties, it is a good idea to consider the time of day and location. For example, if you are attending an evening birthday party where all of the guests will be dining at a nice, local downtown restaurant, it’s time to pull out your date wear. For fall, a great evening look is a pair of dark wash jeans or black dress trousers with a pinstripe button up shirt. Top off the look with a nice pair of black leather or suede dress shoes and a black skinny tie. The skinny tie is a hugely popular tie style right now, and due to the fact that it can easily be dressed up or down, it is very versatile. Since dinner out often transitions right into bar hopping or other night life, grab a blazer, sport jacket, or cardigan sweater incase it gets cold. Since you may also end up in a dance club, the button up shirt is a good choice, as the sleeves can easily be rolled up to your elbows for a more casual look.
In the case that you are uncertain of just how formal the birthday party will be, it is best to lean more towards dressy and less towards casual. It is never good to look like a scrub in the presence of well dressed friends, however there is absolutely nothing wrong with being the best dressed guy in the room, regardless of where you are. Also, keep in mind that landmark birthday parties, such as 30, 40, or 50 tend to be more formal affairs. It is likely that many people will be snapping photos, so dress nicely. Birthday parties such as 60, 70, 80… even 100… are often lavish affairs with many guests. A birthday party that takes place in a banquet hall or elegant restaurant calls for a suit. If you have any doubt as to the formality of the event, politely inquire with the host.
For an outdoor birthday party, such as a backyard barbecue, be prepared for the elements, and wear comfortable clothing that allows for decent range of motion. Usually a more casual affair such as this calls for dark jeans, a silk screened tee shirt or button up shirt with a vest, and a comfortable but clean and nice looking pair of fashion (not athletic) sneakers. If it is cool outside, instead try a pair of earth toned corduroy pants and a denim jacket. Dress in layers, so that you can add or remove items of clothing depending on the weather. If you are attending a party inside someone’s house, you may be asked to remove your shoes at the front door. So don’t forget to wear a nice pair of socks!