I was inivted to attend a dinner this week that was a rather important College-related affair. On the invitation, it specified "Coat and Tie" as the dress code for the men. Of course, no such specific instructions were given for the women who would be attending, which I quickly learned caused much Sturm und Drang for many of them.
At least a half-dozen times in the last few days, I've had one of my female colleagues poke her head in my office and ask "So what are YOU wearing to the dinner?" Now, this was pretty funny to me (as I am sure it is to those of you who know me at all) as I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fashionista. My professional wardrobe, in sum, consists of your standard black, grey and khaki pants accented by a collection of mostly forgettable and largely conservative tops. I never wear skirts or dresses-- in fact, I no longer even own any skirts or dresses--and although I would not say that my "style" (s'il en y a) is exactly androgynous, it most certainly is nondescript. In short, I am not the sort of person that should come to mind when you are wondering who to ask for fashion advice. Not in any way.
Nevertheless, the dinner invitation did present a interesting dilemma. What is expected of women at a "coat and tie" event? I presume that in the business world this almost certainly means that the women are expected to wear skirts/dresses... but in academia, fortunately, most people are progressive enough to know better than to insist on that. (You won't be surprsed to learn, I am sure, that most of the women at the dinner were in dresses and heels, by the way.) So, I wanted to take a straw poll among (both male and female) readers of this blog: How would you have interprested the dress code for the women?