Q: I just got a party invitation that read dressy casual. A friend says she got an invite that called for business casual. Have you ever heard of these expressions, and if so, what do they mean?
A: These terms are becoming more popular, but they mean different things to different people. “Dressy Casual” usually calls for more formal clothing than everyday wear, but more relaxed than cocktail attire. A “business casual” event implies an informal work outfit, the kind that you’d wear for a dress-down day at the office, depending on where you work. A Minneapolis bank, for instance, probably would have a different notion of business casual than a San Francisco graphic design company. But whether a pantsuit, a sundress, or designer jeans and blazer would be appropriate for either depends on where you live and who is throwing the party.