Is a Gown Too Much For a Cocktail Party?

Q. I need an answer from someone I can trust. I have to attend a gala for the corporation I work at.  On the invitation it calls for cocktail attire. My son, who will escort me, has picked out a full-length black gown.  I am afraid it is too formal for this event.  Would it be tacky for me to be a little over dressed?  I am usually the one in the crowd that is a usually a little under dressed or barely in the appropriate category.  My son says that for once I should go all out and dress to impress, but I am uncomfortable.

-Overdress to Impress

A. First off, you should be comfortable in this dress to impress situation.  While I want you to look good, I also want you to fit into the setting and not stand out and have co-workers and colleagues wonder why you went full-blown.  In this case, a full-length gown would be too much for the occasion.  A gown is appropriate when the invite calls for it, like at a black tie wedding, a gala, a costly fundraiser, etc. It would be lovely for your son to escort you wearing a dress that hits just below the knee or a dressy skirt and top and perhaps a fitted velvet jacket or cardigan with beading or crystals.

Back to Top