Dore archive Dress Code

Dress Code

Author Garance Doré

Do you have to go dressed up to a dressed up party? (Not talking naked parties here, uh, I’m talking about parties where “black tie” is written on the invitation.)

You know the parties where you know everyone is going to be totally chic and you have to make a good impression and you know you’re definitely going to get your photo taken? How are we supposed to deal with that?

– Solution number 1: Go buy a dress right away poof! Just like that.

That’s when you’re stressed about the party, you don’t care about anything else, anything like the fact that you’ll be broke for the next 10 years. But that never works for this kinda thing, because now, not only are you penniless for the next 10 years but goodness gracious, ahhh to be a socialite, the second you get photographed in a dress, never again do you dare put it on. It’s a beast but it’s true. (That’s just how it goes. I’m not the one who makes the rules of black-tie. I’d like to remake them for sure. Aha! Next post should be a manifesto of black-tie parties, well, a manifesto against them.) (It’s the worst in New York too, which has to be the last city on Earth to keep this up so seriously. Even in Paris, you see black-tie, you toss on a pair of jeans and some high heels, but ohhhh, in New York, you gotta have the cocktail dress or even more crazy: an evening gown.) So yeah, go broke for a dress you’re only gonna wear once, not so much.

– Or maybe just hide from photographers, which is none to easy in this era so twitterified and facebooked.

– Or you could just NOT GO to the party, which usually ends up being my decision, seeing as I definitely prefer to throw down some vodkas, nice and easy with my friends at a bar.

– Or just borrow a dress. This is how that usually works:

Garance to the PR: “Hello? It’s Garance, I’ve got a party tonight and we’re in panic mode. I’ve got nothing to wear. You have a dress you can lend me?”

(So yeah, you have to know the PR first. You can’t just come outta nowhere and start calling PRs, unless you know them or you are a daughter or a son of someone a little bit famous, which is not so rare nowadays, if you think a second about it.)

Response: “Of course, my dear (generic nickname for everyone who works in fashion), I’ll courrier you (a nice guy rings at your door with the bag) a shopping (that’s what we say in France, it means a selection of clothes, it’s cute, cause it’s the contrary of shopping, no?).”

(The wonderful world of fashion.)(I know. I’m sorry. That sounds totally snobby. You can go ahead and say that I don’t live in real life, but I mean, I’ve gotta tell you stuff about my life, even though it’s not real.)(But seriously, you’ll see in a second, the fairy tale stops there!)

Okay. The selection arrives, lots d tissue paper strewn about and then bam, fairy tale over. OF COURSE. HOW COULD I FORGET. THE SAMPLE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ME. Well shit. Not a single one fits. Okay, one dress kinda fits but I don’t look at all like myself. Like, not at all. Ahhhh! Who is that girl in the mirror ’cause it sure ain’t me.

So normally, that whole episode above takes about two hours where I’m hoping in and out of outfits that don’t look at all like me and it all ends with tears and cursing the fashion world and the sample size which is a size 0 (why do you think everyone in the fashion world is so thin?—except me well… To fit in the sample size, of course). Okay, I've spared you the worst of my moments in front of the mirror, but if you really are interested, I can do a whole post for you just on that.


*Important to note here as well that when you can’t fit in the sample size you start reflecting on borrowing in general and how none of them are your real outfits so it would be impossible for it to be your true style, so bottom line is that it’s totally cheating.

NB: If you actually can fit in the sample size, I’m pretty sure you find it amazing and that everything is so totally your style. Well, at least I imagine that to be the case.

So no, borrowing is a TERRIBLE choice.

So you can also go in one of your normal outfits. Which generally is what I end up doing. It’s not the greatest but it’s classy enough, a little too often the same stuff, it’s the middle road, you get it. In other words, it’s simple. But just so everyone knows, simplicity can bring you a lot of respect. (“Oh, you do faithful to simplicity. What minimalism, such an eye, such style!”) And the photographers keep their distance preferring more fashiony outfits – did you know that at a lot of parties, there is someone who is specially hired just to run around and ask everyone who they’re wearing? And so with all that, you’re pretty much guaranteeing yourself a quiet and pleasant evening.

Looking at it, if before I even get there I’m looking to have a quiet and pleasant evening, the question begs itself as to WHY I’m going to the black-tie party in the first place. Well, as Anna Dello Russo said to me at the Vogue masquerade ballwhere she could barely breathe and almost collapsed under the weight of her gigantic hairdo (you wanna see a photo I took with my iPhone or do you know the outfit I’m talking about?)what’s the point of coming to these parties if not to make an entrance?


That night, she came to the party, didn’t even have a drink, got photographed from every angle imaginable and then off she went about a half hour later, pretty as a princess. And then the next day, who was all the fashion websites covering? Anna Dello Russo, haha! —> Mission make-an-entrance accomplished! (This woman is a genius, lemmie tell you.)


And a few weeks before, we were having a few quiet drinks with Anna, Aurora, and Viviana in a little bar in Milan. We were joking around, dressed totally normally, even miss ADR, who totally knows the best time to have a good laugh and enjoy herself –> at the bar, with her friends. Definitely more there than at some masquerade ball or some black-tie event.


And here’s why I’ve reformulated my initial question as such: Do you go to the party JUST to get dressed up (and to make an entrance)? And if that’s the case, which option above do you chose (buy, borrow, or go au natural and hide from the photographers and wear the same dress more than once, or do you take it to the extreme à la ADR – no, I don’t actually think I could pull it off.)


What would you do?


Translation: Tim Sullivan