The Code: Dress To Impress This Weekend

Whether you are the social butterfly bouncing from ball to ball this weekend, or a newbie just stepping into your first inaugural season, Washington, DC is buzzing with excitement over this weekend’s festivities.

So you got your invite, bought your tickets (and maybe even swung a date for the weekend) but don’t know what the “code” means!?

Don’t worry, TWG has you covered (literally) with what to wear to some of this week’s most exciting events!


  • Business Casual for Ladies: Try a skirt and silk blouse OR a dress with cardigan.
  • Business Casual for the Gentleman: We LOVE nice Khakis with a button down shirt and blazer.

Our very own Associate Director and TWG Fashionista Extraordinaire, Patton, says “Nice driving shoes go a long way for comfort and style for the gentleman.”

TWG Photo by: Patton at the National Sporting Museum & Library Polo Match in Middleburg, VA.

Tip from the pro: “To dress up an outfit; bring a blazer to layer over your shirt or blouse.”

  • Business: Go with a suit, it never fails!

TWG Photo by: Shmulik Almany and ImageLink

Event: ARC Philnthropic Assembly Chairman’s Council Dinner at the American Red Cross HQ.

Tip from the pro: Ladies, dress up an old suit with flashy emerald pumps to make a splash. Gentlemen, skinny ties and bow ties are in this season!

  • Cocktail: According to experts, the most common fashion faux pas at events is mixing up cocktail and formal wear (especially for the ladies).

TWG Photo by: ImageLink Photography

Lupus Foundation of America’s DC Gala at The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium

“A cocktail party is a semi-formal event where drinks and light hors d’oeurves are served,” says Patton. “Keep your cocktail dresses mid-thigh to knee-length,” she advises.

  • Formal: Attire is “fancier,” and worn to events such as weddings, private dinners or debutante balls.

“Formal means gowns, or your best LBD [little black dress]” says Patton. “Gentleman, a dark suit or even a tux is always a winner.”

  • Black Tie for Ladies: Go all the way with a floor-length ball gown.
  • Black Tie for Gentleman: Black tuxedo jacket and matching trousers formal white shirt, paired with black or onyx studs and cufflinks. Don’t forget your bow tie, black patent shoes and black dress socks. Don’t worry, gloves are not necessary!

TWG Photo by: Rachel, TWG Associate

2012 Points of Light Tribute Awards at the Residence of the Ambassador of Japan

For those looking to get really fancy…check out our White Tie recommends:

  • White Tie for Ladies: MUST wear a floor-length evening gown!
  • White Tie for Gentleman: Black tailcoat, matching trousers with a single stripe of satin coupled with white piqué wing-collared shirt with stiff front, white vest, cufflinks, bow tie and white GLOVES! Don’t forget your black patent shoes and black dress socks


This week, our very own seasoned ball attendee, (or pro baller as we like to call her), gave us some very candid but great advice for those looking to venture out to this weekend’s celebrations. Chairman and CEO, Lynda Webster shares her scoop:

  • Wear comfortable shoes!
  • Be sure to keep your coat check stub with you at all times and in a safe place to avoid hassle at the end of the night.
  • Take a driver–or cab–parking is always limited.
  • Don’t bother with the jewels–it’s not Palm Beach (ha!)
  • Take patience–you might wait a long while to see the President and First Lady.
  • Take an attitude that it’s a networking experience, not a glamorous ball.
  • For parades be sure to wear comfy warm shoes and layer your clothing. Hat and mittens are a must (trust me, mittens are warmer than gloves!) You can put hand warming inserts in them too.
  • Most importantly, have fun, and be safe!

Photo Credits