Dress Code: Fashion’s Night Out

A group response to those who wrote in asking what to wear on Thursday September 8 to FNO.

By Laura Cassidy September 6, 2011

FNO: Not super dressy; no one’s getting married. Not too casual; this isn’t a random Saturday stroll through the mall. Maybe you can borrow Lauren Sant

Throughout the long weekend, after I posted my game plan for FNO, I got hit with several queries about what to wear this Thursday. I figured I’d frame my reply here; if I haven’t answered your message, consider this it.

Fashion is pageantry. We know this. Ancient civilizations, tribal communities, and pockets of specialized modern societies dress up to celebrate, recognize, show reverence, or otherwise parade beauty for the good of the clan, the climate, the culture, the harvest, the trade. The reasons are many, the results are the same: we put on our best, most vibrant, most immediately relevant and we go out into the world to appreciate the best, most vibrant, and immediately vibrant in others.

Fashion’s Night Out is pageantry too. It started in New York in 2009 as a way of revitalizing the retail community. Vogue headed up the campaign to shop and socialize in the name of the economy, the designers, and the industry, and the whole world caught on. So, in essence, Fashion’s Night Out in Downtown Seattle is not unlike, oh, say, Bumbershoot. Instead of standing in front of the bands we love, we’re wearing the designers and styles we admire and commune with like-minded spirits.

So the short answer is: Wear what you love. Wear what you’ll feel good trekking all over downtown Seattle in. Wear what makes you feel individual or wear what makes you feel a part of the whole. I know, I know, you wanted something more specific. Considering the season (so, is this summer?), the timing (let’s put the Night in FNO, shall we?), and the logistics (FNO is basically a pub crawl with boutiques and department stores) we can get specific with these three elements:

1. Shoes So here we are a day past the bookend of summer and the forecast calls for a week of sandal weather. Now, it’s a controversial move, and certainly not for everyone, but I’m fully in support of socks with strappy heels. It’s a look that’s been on runways and style sites for years now; Miu Miu even made a bootie out of it. Not into it? Fair enough. I’d recommend something dressier and less day-centric than your everyday flats and less precious than your prettiest heels. Unless you want to hike the pavement in four inches of python-covered Prada.

2. Outerwear In Seattle, it’s all about that outer layer—even when the weatherman says it’s going to be 83. It cools off right quickly come nightfall, have you noticed? The jackets and outer layers I’m most into right now are little bomber-style shorties (maybe over a knee-length dress), denim shirts over just about anything, well-cut gorgeously colored suit jackets, ambitiously designed military jackets and long, 70s-feeling cardigans. But, really, I’m with you: Let’s hope it’s super warm that night and accessories alone can cut it. In that case, stack on some bracelets and bangles and a scarf or weighted necklace, and head on out.

3. Color There sure are a lot of really gorgeous reds, oranges, greens, and yellows for fall. My favorites are deep evergreen shades and that weird tomato red that isn’t true red, isn’t at all orange but something in between. But don’t forget what’s really making color work in the most exciting runways and on whatever street style blogs you follow is the totally inspired, often wanton, and sometimes non-sensical way in which they are paired, mixed, ‘matched,’ and riffed on. From tone-on-tone color blocking to brights and neons with neutrals and all-out pattern free-for-alls, there’s a lot of fun to be had and FNO—wedged in this space that is not summer and not fall—feels like the time to do it.

So maybe some late-summer additions to a long summer dress Little leather shorts with a great jacket and top? Trouser-like jeans with a white blazer? But only trouser-like jeans or otherwise special denim, okay? This isn’t a cocktail attire affair, but it’s no time to phone it in, either.

If all else fails, remember: Wear what you love.

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