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What not to wear at a cocktail party

Updated April 17, 2017

Your fleece jacket might be perfect for the pub crawl on your calendar next weekend, but what about that cocktail party coming up? What is the "outfit etiquette" when it comes to semi-dressy events? To get the low down on what we should (and should not be) zipping up, we spoke with celebrity wardrobe stylist Heidi Meek and got a list of all the big no nos.

Your favourite jeans

Regardless how great you look in those jeans, they should be given a night off every once and a while. Let them rest while you put on a fun, flirty dress instead.

Your black tie attire

If your dress is trailing behind you, it's too long. According to Meek, floor-length dresses should be kept for more formal evenings.

Your oversized jumper

Don't obscure your cute mini with a winter coat. Nordic sweaters might be trending right now, but worn over party attire they will swallow you whole. Fleece zip-ups and woolly pullovers are cosy, but they don't belong at cocktail parties.

Your day bag

From 9 to 5 this thing is attached to your hip. It has everything you could ever possibly need in case of an emergency, but do you really want to take your day bag -- the day bag that reminds you of work and to-do lists -- on your night out? No. This is baggage you can leave at home tonight.

Your ho so ironic T-shirt

Comfort is king, but it's tacky to wear a t-shirt to a cocktail party. If you can't pull yourself away from the cut you love, shop around for some non-cotton Ts. "Try a fabric that is a more upscale with a sheen to the finish or something like a satin or silk blouse," Meek says.

A huge tote

You've left your work bag at home, but where do you keep your keys? The last thing you want to be doing at a cocktail party is lugging your oversize purse around. Leave the tote at home. Instead grab a clutch or wristlet and use that free arm to grab another cosmo.

Fabric faux pas: Cotton

It's the fabric of our life -- not the fabric of our nightlife. Comfy, cotton tees are perfect for the morning after your cocktail party, but other fabrics are more evening appropriate.

Fabric faux pas: Linen

We love linen for hot summer days and picnics, but not for sipping martinis after dark at a luxe party.

Fabric faux pas: Jersey

Jersey's great. It's versatile, low maintenance and so comfortable that we completely understand why Coco Chanel rebuffed "Vogue" in 1917 and used the fabric that traditionally had been the choice for undergarments as outerwear. But think twice before leaving the house.

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About the Author

Kendra Osburn recently graduated from the University of San Diego with a bachelor's degree in communication studies/media arts & culture. In addition to being the associate editor for her school newspaper, Osburn spent her time writing for local radio stations (KBPS, KPCC) and magazine publications, including "San Diego Magazine" and "USD Magazine."