When it comes to choosing party attire it is not always easy to decide on what to wear. You do not want to be the most over-dressed person there, yet you do not want to look out of place by dressing down either. Many things need to be taken into consideration when deciding what party attire would be best, including season, location and most importantly, what type of party it is. This is important so that you can make the appropriate statement as apposed to looking like an idiot or feeling uncomfortable.
When going to a fancy party, the invitation will usually indicate what type of party attire is required. For example, if the invitation states "Black tie", men should wear a tuxedo with - who would have guessed it? - a black tie. For a "White tie" event, a white tie and white vest are required with a tuxedo. In both cases, women's proper party attire is a long gown.
A cocktail party suit would consist of a dark suit with a shirt and tie. Women can wear a dress or any length and colour (as long as it is not a formal gown), a skirt and a classy top, or even a nice pair of pants with an even nicer top. High heeled shoes or elegant boots are better if you are going with pants instead of a skirt. For men another option instead of a party suit could also be dress pants with a sport's jacket.
For a wedding, unless the invitation states otherwise, men should adhere to the same rules as a cocktail party. A tie is always preferable; however, a suit with just a dress shirt is often enough. For women it is a little more complicated. Usually, unless it is a formal affair, a short dress or a pantsuit will do. If it is a morning wedding, a pastel suit or a short dress would be optimal. For a formal affair, a longer dress will do. An evening gown is not required unless the invitation states "black/white tie". A good thing to remember is that a little black dress is pretty much a woman's party suit, and it appropriate unless the wedding is during the day.
For other types of parties, let us say at a restaurant or club opening, a friend's birthday party, an office party, or even drinks at a bar, a really dressy look is not necessary at all. Men would be appropriate dressed in jeans and a button down shirt, although Dockers-type pants with a shirt would be nice too. Women can always dress up a pair of jeans with nice high heeled shoes and accessories. A skirt or a dress is not always mandatory, but it is important to remember that with jeans, it is important to pair it with a really nice top, and nice shoes in order to not look too casual. This is also about helping you not to feel like an outsider and uncomfortable. Remember that your clothing are the elements that make you. And you should wear them to present yourself in the best light possible.
Whatever your party attire is, it is important to always respect your hosts and the other guests by using your best judgement to decide what party suit or dress is the most fitting for the occasion. Wearing sandals in winter and a t-shirt to a wedding is out of place and in bad taste all the time. No exceptions.