The other day I got an invitation to a wedding that specified "Beach Festive," so today's Wall Street Journal piece on the stupid trend towards increasingly vague and creative dress codes was timely. Whereas most people find the distinctions between "black tie"," white tie" and "cocktail" quite daunting enough, the article claims that "it's no longer unusual to receive an invitation prescribing a dress code of "wild chic," "beach formal," "resort dressy," "international," "creative black tie" or "safari chic." And it doesn't stop there. We learn about such head-scratchers as "High Black Tie," "Ferrari Hot," "dressy resort" and the harrowingly vague "festive attire." Here, a cheat sheet:


  • Resort Dressy: Think Ralph Lauren, uptight WASPS in movies who need to have their minds blown by free spirits.
  • Wild Chic: "Wild" is always horrible code for "cheetah print." Think "Miami divorcee."
  • Safari Chic: The hosts may envision 70s YSL, but they'll get Khaki. Animal prints optional. Looking stupid mandatory.
  • Ferrari Hot: Red, slits, cleavage. Basically, "Italian mistress."
  • International: "It's a Small World"
  • Creative Black Tie: "Creative" is code for "stupid vests." Possibly whimsical chapeaux, too.
  • Festive: This always evoked those holiday Express-style outfits, like pencil skirts with little red angora sweaters. Sequins may be involved. This also emcompasses "teacher sweaters." The following are dress codes we would like to see:
  • Monopoly Chic
  • Staten Island Festive
  • Appalachian Hot
  • Munchkin Land Uncreative Black Tie, Please: The End of Goofy Dress Codes [Wall Street Journal]