See Empress. See Empress Dress Herself....
September 6, 2017 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Hey there! So, you may remember I asked about my parents' anniversary a while back - as it turns out, they took that over from me anyway, and so all I needed to do was send out the invitations and report back with RSVPs, throw some money at my brother for booking the venue, and then - showing up and looking cute. That last is the part I'm having the most trouble with.

My parents have stressed that this is a very, very casual party - they want people to be in shorts and jeans, and to be "comfortable". This will be a couple hours in an afternoon with snacky food and my dad's buddy's band playing oldies. But - it's still my parents' 50th anniversary, and I should make some effort. I don't do dresses all that well, though, so it'd have to be some variety of pants anyway.

We'll be on a beach in Cape Cod in the afternoon. The forecast is 70 or so. Would "relaxed business casual" be okay? How's khakis, a flowy oversized vest and a poet-y white shirt? Sort of like this idea?

(Unfortunately the party is Saturday and I will have ABSOLUTELY NO time to shop!)
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
I think your proposed outfit is great! The main thing that elevates a respectable casual outfit to fabulous is accessories, so I'd break out some pretty jewelry or a light scarf to add some more flair. Otherwise, kick back, relax, and enjoy the party!
posted by Diagonalize at 1:58 PM on September 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yes, that sounds fantastic. (Tim Gunn voice) "Accessorize thoughtfully" (/Tim Gunn voice). Cute shoes, a nice necklace or scarf, will go a long way. Consider a light sweater to go over top, the beach in New England this time of year is prone to be chilly.
posted by donnagirl at 2:39 PM on September 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

My parents have stressed that this is a very, very casual party - they want people to be in shorts and jeans, and to be "comfortable" [...]

Would "relaxed business casual" be okay?

Your parents were very specific and I think you should honor their wishes on this one. To me, shorts doesnt mean business casual. If you feel strongly about it I don't think it would be a huge deal, but I don't think it would be on par with shorts and jeans.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2017

Also, "relaxed business casual" is already very specific wording used on invitations to indicate dress code. I actually thought this was going to be a question about putting together a cute outfit with jeans or shorts, if that makes sense.
posted by Room 641-A at 3:13 PM on September 6, 2017

How about a denim skirt and the same flowy blouse, kind of a compromise.
posted by mareli at 3:15 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Jeans and a pretty top are what I would do for this occasion. If you feel better in khakis than jeans, go for it, they're really not any more formal than a nice pair of jeans these days (aside from weird office dress code standards). You might just want to nod toward causal with your accessories and shoes - so flip flops or other casual sandals instead of closed-toe flats, for example. Fun plastic or wooden jewelry instead of your fancy stuff, and so on.
posted by snaw at 3:29 PM on September 6, 2017 [2 favorites]

Khakis and a white shirt are exactly what I think of when I picture Cape Cod casual, so I think you're on the right track. I don't think I've ever seen that combo look bad. If you've got khaki capris, I think that might relax it a little more than full-length khaki pants. Likewise for bagginess. And I'd probably suggest a little more pattern in the sweater, but I like the idea.

As for khakis being too dressy: I'm a dude who hasn't worn jeans in years. I wear khakis and a t-shirt literally every day of my life. The great thing about khakis is that they're as relaxed as you want them to be.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:56 PM on September 6, 2017

Or if you want to go in a different direction, my wiffe's signature look is a solid-color t-shirt with black yoga pants, usually with a cardigan on top. It's obviously casual, but still nice enough that she's gotten away with wearing it to work.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:02 PM on September 6, 2017

Wear the khakis. You will not be too dressy.
posted by studioaudience at 11:36 PM on September 6, 2017

To be clear, I don't think khakis are too dressy, I'm going by EC's own description of the outfit as business casual. I like all the ideas here that dress them down.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:09 AM on September 7, 2017

I think jeans look better than khakis on most humans.
posted by kapers at 6:00 AM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love that outfit, though I wonder if the long vest will be annoying in a beach breeze. I know it would be trouble in San Francisco.
posted by honey badger at 12:01 PM on September 7, 2017

Thanks, all - it turned out to be the perfect outfit. Everyone else was wearing things from dresses to jeans to shorts, all the little girls wore dresses and my zaniest cousin even wore a suit blazer (which got totally covered with sand because he was playing "pirate ship" with the kids). Everyone was having too much fun dancing to "La Bamba" to care anyway.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:37 AM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

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