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What to Wear to a Dinner Party & More


Something happens to your social life after a certain point. Maybe it’s age 24 for her or 34 for him; but usually pizza and (your drink of choice) on the sofa transcends into an actual dinner party with silverware and all. Last weekend in Frankfurt, Germany we visited my in-laws and they hosted a class-act Polish dinner party. They served authentic dishes from Poland that I loved including beet soup, Pierogi dumplings and more I can’t pronounce washed down with what else; a shot glass of Polish vodka.

In between rounds of Na zdrowie! (nah zdroh-vee-eh) – That’s ‘Cheers!’ in Polish – I got to thinking. When you first enter the world of double dates, 3-course meals and dinner parties, it can be intimidating. Beyond the Emily Post Table Manners, here’s my Top 6 Tips from etiquette to style for ‘The Dinner Party’…


1. Take a Breather ~ Social anxiety can creep up when you least expect it. Maybe you’re going to meet your new bf or gf’s family over the holidays or having dinner with new clients. Ready? Take a few moments to yourself before, have a cocktail (but not too many) and remember, ‘Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.’ ~Doug Larson


2. Can I Bring ‘X’? ~ I’ve never actually hosted a dinner party like we had here last Saturday; but I made some snack platters once for a NYE pre-party and it was a lot more work than I anticipated. A bottle of wine or champagne, maybe flowers or a dessert is well deserved for any host who’s putting in hours of planning, shopping and cooking.


3. What to Wear ~ If there’s no specific dress code mentioned like ‘Cocktail Attire,’ this fall go with leather pants, a sweater, statement necklace and skinny jeans or a blazer over a cut-out top. Leopard print is a classic ‘Fall Do.’ 


4. ‘A Woman’s Right to Shoes’ ~ Remember that Sex & the City episode where Carrie takes off her Manolo Blahnik heels at a friend’s party and they disappear. While the latter likely won’t happen, if you’re in a home that requires shoe removal, I recommend a 3 inch heel or lower and a pedi. This way you’re fully prepared and won’t feel like that scene in ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ taking off 6 inch platforms.


5. You Get ONE Food Allergy ~ I hate sea-food and after being forced to try it a few times in my early 20’s, I decided ‘I’m allergic to seafood.’ It works. Maybe for you it’s brussels sprouts, veal, turnips or tuna. I recommend a max of 1 faux food allergy. Any more than one at a dinner party and you’ll be labeled a ‘picky eater.’


6. Participation Counts! ~ I’m a full supporter of keeping-up on current events. I know some people are anti-news, but it makes a huge difference in life. Plus, you can join all kinds of conversations or start new ones at social events. My daily sources for a wide variety of current events and pop culture are The Today Show, The News with Robin (Howard Stern), Sky News (here in Europe), the Daily Mail and definitely Twitter, just never at the dinner table.

What are your ‘Dinner Party’ tips whether you’re a host or a guest?


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  1. Glad you had a great time Dale! It sounded like fun. LOL about the food allergy. I’ll have to try that one.

  2. Great tips. I wish I could host more dinner parties, when I get a bigger home that’s the first thing on my list. I love hosting and cooking for people. I think another great tip is to always bring a bottle of wine for the host. If they don’t drink, then maybe a dessert!


  3. This is such great advice! I totally remember the Sex and the City episode. Ever since then I always ask before I have to visit someone if I’ll need to take my shoes on 😀

  4. I am hosting a dinner party in a few weeks and these tips were helpful for that too in terms of what to expect! This is a great resource and I love the leather pants!

  5. Leopard, leather and red?! This look is perfection!


  6. Perfect tips for all the upcoming social events people will be invited too! I recently heard on a local radio station a cute suggestion that when bringing the bottle of wine, never expect it to be used for the actual meal you are invited to, but attach a note for the hostess which states “open this bottle after all the guests have left and enjoy while doing the dishes!” I thought that was adorable!!

  7. Fabulous tips! And, I adore what you wore–very elegant! xo T.

  8. I love leo and leather! You look so pretty.
    Great Outfit 😀


  9. Loved this post and definitely love a good dinner party. My only thing to add would be don’t drink more than the host! I’ve have a fair few embarrassing moments because I didn’t follow this rule xx

  10. Love your tips!

  11. Love the outfit, especially the jacket! And your tip about getting a pedi if you have to take your shoes off reminded me of a recent embarrassing party. I had to drive straight from work to a baby shower and was wearing a dress and tights — but I had ripped really big holes in the feet of my tights. When I got to the party, they asked for people to take their shoes off, so I had to sneak into a side room, slip off my tights and stuff them in my purse so no one would see the horrible holes. Oh, and my legs were really dry and I needed to shave. Not my proudest moment. 🙂

  12. This is so useful! Seeing as I feel like I’m a grown up now cos I’ve moved out, this being classy stuff is gonna come sooner than I think! Tegan xo

  13. Great tips! x

  14. Loving the tips! Sometimes dinner parties can be intimidating. You looking lovely too. Xx

  15. I have hosted MANY dinner parties. My best advice to all hosts and hostesses is to make sure you are completely ready before your guests arrive. Then as each one arrives, spend a few minutes face to face asking questions about them. This time together with you showing personal interest in them will make them feel like a welcomed guest. Make sure they have a drink in their hands too. Having something to hold will “give them something to do” and help alleviate nervousness. As your next guests arrive, give them the same greeting and make sure you introduce them to the other guests. Now that your guests are settled into conversation with other guests, you can quietly slip away to the kitchen to complete the last minute tasks.

  16. Absolutely stunning and classy outfit !!

  17. Absolutely stunning and classy outfit !!

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