When the invitation says “Elegant Business Attire,” what exactly does that mean?
One thing is certain, when an event is held at the Union Club of Chicago you know you will not pass through the portals if you decide jeans or tennis shoes are appropriate. Neither is permitted.
Since I don’t work, technically speaking, as in getting dressed and going into an office. My business attire in the privacy of my home office would not qualify as elegant. It qualifies as “not pajamas, effort made.” I don’t think trousers, a cashmere sweater, a scarf, ballerinas and minimal makeup would qualify for a swell soirée.
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I will be attending the French American Chamber of Commerce’s annual Passport to France party tonight and elegant business is the vestment counsel on the invitation.
Since I rarely wear dresses or skirts these days, my interpretation is simple: slim black gabardine trousers; a white silk collarless blouse; black cummerbund; tuxedo jacket; black suede Chloe ballerinas; black Chanel bag; white topaz cushion cut Amy Holt earrings, multi-colored stone Chanel brooch, gold bracelets. Basically, with a few accessory tweaks, this is my uniform.
I love cummerbunds because they add a certain polish or “finish” to a tucked-in top, they’re discreet — no look-at-me buckle — and they’re so comfortable. A simple, wide grosgrain ribbon works perfectly in its place.
I have three tuxedo jackets and the one I’m wearing tonight has a blazer shape to it with matte satin lapels. It doesn’t scream “tuxedo.” The look is completely understated. When I do, on more formal occasions, wear the jacket with it’s matching trousers or satin pants with a lace blouse or a satin camisole, the mood changes entirely. Tonight it will be a sober approach to elegant business.
Daring red nails are on the agenda. As I write this I haven’t chosen the color, but I did remove my “safe” Chanel Ballerina polish yesterday.
After I have a glass of wine, my plan is to take pictures during the evening to show you how a sampling of the women interpreted the dress code edict. (You know I’m quite shy about asking, thus the wine. Of course I don’t imbibe when I’m out on the street snapping my chic French subjects; I take a very deep breath and spew my litany of sincere compliments and hope they don’t say “non.”)