Political fundraisers are a vital stepping stone in any politician's bid for public office. Fundraising events are places where people of influence and power gather to appraise both the candidate for office, and each other. With so much riding on the success of the event, making the right sartorial choice is vital, particularly in a formal club environment. Fortunately, there are a few basic hints and tips which can help those new to the fundraising scene make the appropriate fashion decision.
Some political fundraisers are more formal than others, regardless of venue. It's always worth making discreet inquiries before the event to see what others will be wearing, or even to contact the hosts and ask for clarification. If neither of these options are possible, then there are other indicators, such as where the party is held, how formal the club is on nights of normal business, or the average age of the people on the guest list. If you are completely in the dark about the dress code, it is better to err on the very formal side of the spectrum.
The weather may have a strong bearing on the dress code, particularly if the fundraiser is held on the club grounds rather than indoors. In hotter climates, the standard dress might be a white or beige suit for the men, and a chiffon or lightweight cocktail dress, or a pant or skirt suit, for the women. Colder temperatures suggest more subdued colors, such as the blacks, whites, grays and browns traditionally worn for formal occasions.
If all else fails, the little black dress and a well-fitting black suit are suitable for almost any formal occasion. The dress can be livened up with tasteful accessories and fancy, age-appropriate shoes. A well-chosen bag can add just a splash of individuality while maintaining formality. A man has fewer options, but a nice black or silver pair of cuff links add elegance to his overall look. If the invitation lists "black tie," then you should be ready with a black bow-tie, and women should expect to wear full-length evening gowns.
There are a few basic fashion rules that should be observed for political fundraisers. If women opt for tights or stockings, then closed-toe shoes are essential. Men should make sure the suit is slim-fitting without looking tight, and the shirt is wrinkle-free with collar stays. Also, men should remember that on a two-button suit, only the top button should be fastened, and on a three-button suit, only the top two should be fastened.
Patricia K. Maggio is a freelance writer originally from Chicago, Ill. She has been living, studying or working in Europe since 2007, when she graduated with a B.A. in English from DePaul University. Most recently, her screenwriting work has appeared on BBC America and STYLE Network.