Knowing what to wear to a dinner party was something I didn't need to consider until a few years ago. Any decent friendship group worth their salt wouldn't have inflicted their grotty first-time flats and poor culinary skills upon a Friday night, and instead, it was all about going out somewhere to find the fun. Night-out dressing in itself is a tricky thing, presenting itself with the same old conundrums time after time: Should I wear high heels, or will it ruin my evening if we end up schlepping from bar to bar? It's raining, but isn't it inherently uncool to carry an umbrella? What if everyone else is super casual, and I've chosen that night to crack out a vintage gown?
All of these irritations can be soothed by the nice, comforting, grown-up confines of having dinner either at your own place or going over to someone else's. There are no guarantees that the food won't be worthy of a MasterChef fail, but you can ensure that the fashion standards are kept high. In fact, it's one of the greatest opportunities to break your wardrobe wide open and wear some of your most exciting things (or finally purchase that standout piece you've had your eye on). Keep reading to see what to wear to a dinner party, plus the style benefits of doing such a civilized thing.
1. Relaxed Separates
Style Notes: Choose fuss-free silhouettes in comfortable fabrics like Lucy did—a dinner party is a perfect opportunity to try out the silk midi skirt trend.
2. Cozy Up
Style Notes: You want to feel relaxed at your host's table, and nothing takes your peace like the realisation that you should've worn another layer. A knitted dress is the perfect solution, promising to keep you cosy while still looking polished. Plus, they're so easy to dress up for the evening.
3. Keep It Simple
Style Notes: Jeans and a nice top. It doesn't get easier than this age-old combination, and the idea can be jazzed up to feel more dinner-party friendly: Simply layer a cardigan over a cami and add earrings.
Style Notes: There's not an occasion in your calendar that a little black dress won't work for. Just add some gold-toned jewellery and strappy heels.
5. Blouse Party
Style Notes: You'll be spending much of your evening seated at a table, so think about what's happening with the top half of your outfit. Perhaps it's time to rock the statement-sleeve blouse you've been thinking about.
6. Slouchy Suiting
Style Notes: A loose-fitting suit is the fashion world's answer to just about every outfit conundrum. Go with trainers for low-key get-togethers and pointed-toe boots or heeled mules for smarter gatherings.
7. Elevated Loungewear
Style Notes: There are tons of matching sets on the marketplace that look luxe but feel like pj's. This feather-trimmed Sleeper co-ord just needs a pair of low heels to make it outside appropriate.
8. Something Sparkly
Style Notes: If your besties are coming around to chez toi, make the most of the wardrobe at hand and use this as a testing ground for the brave sequin-adorned look you're not quite sure the bus stop can handle yet.
9. One-Piece Wonder
Style Notes: Choosing to wear a jumpsuit doesn't have to feel fussy or OTT—see how simple Charlotte Kuhrt's all-in-one is?