Last Saturday I worked a school auction in the Washington National Cathedral. The dress code was “Cathedral Dress.”
Though I’ve been to the Cathedral many times, I’ve worn everything from shorts (as a tourist) to a dress (for an organ concert). I wasn’t exactly sure what was appropriate to this event, so I asked.
I learned that it could be cocktail, but nothing too flashy or bright. Sort of a “business cocktail.”
Dress codes are important; you want everyone to be comfortable, and most will be more at ease if they wear clothing that ‘fits’ the festivities.
Below is a nice example of how a January client shared her auction dress code on the school website.
- The planner provided a brief written description of what would be appropriate.
- The official dress code — “Cruise Elegant Attire” — was listed.
- How clever to include the color scheme. It’s the first time I’ve seen that done. If a guest wanted to match a dress or tie to the event colors, the palette is provided.
Do you have any opinions on auction dress codes?
Are you doing anything to get the word out about your preferred attire?
Post your comments below.
Peter Holmes says
As a professional Australian FUNdraising auctioneer I now always ask what the dress code is during the appointment process discussions.
As a male it’s probably much simpler for me to comply and still be in fashion!
My branding does not include “loud hats, shirts or jackets” so the “tux”, business or lounge suit & smart casual options are pretty easy to comply with. I do try to match a tie/bow tie to the event or beneficiary’s “colours”. A quick check of their web sites helps this process.
I try to discover what dress code is expected of me DURING the appointment process, because on one occasion after quoting my fee, I was told I had to wear something that was not then in my wardrobe! To buy the appropriate garments it cost me 1/3 of the fee and I don’t expect to use them ever again. Had I been told in the first place, I would have charged a higher flat fee!
I think the concept of providing a hints sheet in the promotional material or on the event’s web page is a great idea to let those that can adapt their wardrobe do so. Adds great ambiance to the event.
Undoubtedly, there will be some that either won’t or can’t adopt the colour/dress code – but at least they are at the event and have paid for their tickets and hopefully will participate in the raffles and auction.
If the dress standard at 2 consecutive events for too higher proportion of attendees is below par, then perhaps more emphasis on dress code is needed in the promotional stage.
Sherry Truhlar says
It’s nice to know the dress code early, isn’t it? It allows extra time to plan, and that’s appreciated whether male or female.
doug sorrell says
Black Tie Open Collar has shown up recently…and been a hit.
Sherry Truhlar says
Interesting. I’ve not seen that. Seems like it’s a halfway point between regular black tie and black tie/blue jeans.