Social Butterfly

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By Roxy Rowton

The social season never ends. One social calendar rolls into another with the invites continuing. The social wardrobe should be as individual as each one-of-a-kind invitation. Each and every social request is an invitation to dress your very best—with a pleasing and attractive appearance.

The social dress code do’s and don’ts that had guided the fashionista and pragmatist for generations have gradually given way to a more individualized approach to occasion dressing. To solve the “whatever shall I wear?” jitters, consider the hour of the event, the event’s degree of formality, and the event’s setting to guide you.

An invitation to a social event is not the time to fundamentally alter your sartorial tastes. A simple approach to occasion dressing is to adapt day-to-day wear. Identify an outfit that encapsulates personal sartorial tastes and assemble a handful of carefully curated items or outfits in that vein, but with the
formality level tuned up a notch. Whether penciling in the new social calendar with invitations for entertaining around the patio, going to spectator races, or celebrating afternoon nuptials, make an investment in the social wardrobe so as to be impressively outfitted for every occasion.

Dress for the Occasion

  • The Party Dress—A party dress certainly isn’t a groundbreaking choice, but do not underestimate its aptness to make a well-dressed entrance. A party dress is a social calendar staple and one of the most versatile items of clothing in the social wardrobe. Simply scale up or down the formality with a change of accessories.
  • The Maxi Skirt—A dress isn’t the only option for social calls. The maxi skirt transitions with ease from casual elegance to refined glamour. How you wear it and with what you pair it transforms the simple maxi skirt into a perfect piece for every celebration. Wear with a tucked-in shirt and glossy satin mules, a fitted knit top and metallic heels, or a silk camisole and strappy sandals. Don’t think the maxi skirt must be paired with heels to party; just select footwear with shine and glitter.
  • The Fancy Pant—Trousers or pants are the perfect dress up or down garment for both polished city socials and informal summer receptions. Trousers lend ease and confidence to varied social invitations. For effortless summer social dressing, rotate trousers and pants into multiple outfits by switching out tops and accessories.
  • Statement Suit—The challenge with wearing a suit to a social event is not having it appear too  businesslike. Opt for sophisticated suiting with refined feminine aesthetics (elegant bell sleeves, feather-embellished cuffs, lace panels, portrait collar, fringed hem) to pull together an ensemble that is chic and polished for celebratory social affairs.
  • The Versatile Jumpsuit—Turn to one-piece dressing for the many upcoming summer socials. The jumpsuit is the modern choice for sophisticated city socials and pastoral celebrations. It brings a fresh perspective and unexpected level of sensibility to any social dress code. Dress it up with heels and layered accessories. It’s a sure thing when you don’t want to wear a dress.

Dressing for any social occasion is in the details. Practical and sensible attire isn’t required, or often even desired. What’s the fun of a social invitation if not to get dressed with more expression and exuberance than what is the norm for day-today wear?

Wardrobe and style consultant Roxy L. Rowton ( spends much of her workweek in the closet or the fitting room helping women look and feel their very best. She has two-plus decades in the fashion, apparel and beauty industries.


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