My friend is worried about potential staining and marking of her white and bright expensive lounge and other homeware goods. She is hosting a casual get-together with close friends at her home so she doesn't want to seem annoying or make friends uncomfortable with an explicit formal dress code.

She would prefer close friends to wear light colours to prevent this marking or staining.

The invitations have been sent via Facebook Events so we'd have to write down what to wear in the description of the event, or send private messages to the people that are going to attend.

We're thinking just writing down "Dress code: light colours" may seem to formal or controlling, and so we'd rather not do that.

How best to communicate this to house guests who are close friends without ruining the mood or making them uncomfortable?

  • Hi Darryn! I understand this is one of those times where you wouldn't really have tried anything, but it could help a lot if you could include in your question how you thought about approaching the problem, and why you still need our help (so why you think it won't work, or what you're worrying about will happen if you do it like you think you could do it). That way a.) answers can avoid suggesting things of which you'll later say 'that won't work' and
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 12, 2020 at 16:49
  • b.) your question will improve wrt scope, as our help center states we're not here to tell you what to say so it will help if you can explicitly include the behavior you'd like our help with. If you're interested, we're currently having a discussion on our meta that outlines a bit why this important and tries to come up with ideas on how to make it clearer that we're after this information in questions.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 12, 2020 at 16:49
  • I've edited it a bit. Is that better? Nov 12, 2020 at 17:01
  • It's something we can work with! I've given it another edit: as I said in my comment this site is about behavior, not about telling you what to say/write, so I rephrased that part to leave out the what to write, but still keep the bit about the communication going to be in writing. And I've put your worries about 'dress code: light colours' being too formal before your actual question. I hope I didn't totally miss the mark, otherwise feel free to roll back or further edit, but remember: The part about telling you what to write has to stay out of it, as it's off-topic here.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 12, 2020 at 17:17
  • 2
    I have attended several parties where the host covered the expensive sofa with cheap bed sheats to protect it from spills and other party accidents. Is there a reason she cannot do something similar instead imposing a dresscode on visitors?
    – BagiM
    Nov 21, 2020 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


Any chance you could include fun activities around the dress code?

For example, when it was my father's retirement party, the dress code was blue and white colour. Invitations were oral, not written. So, we had the chance to explain the rationale behind the dress code to each invitee in detail. We would tell them that the decoration colours were also of white and blue hue and we had planned a group photo with everyone including. So, everyone wearing the same shade would make for a better pic. We had also planned games involving the colour of the dress. e.g. white trouser men to dance with blue top women. (we hadn't disclosed every detail to them, of course).

Most guests complied with it. Those who didn't felt left out a bit. We had anticipated this. So, we had planned something around neutral things too, e.g. hanky colour or shoe colour.

The following year, it was my mother's retirement. We decided not to have a dress code as it was too much work for us the last time. But while inviting guests, many insisted us to include a dress code as it was not only fun but also helped them to decide what to wear by narrowing down their options.

So, my point is if you are having fun activities around dress code then you need not worry about it being controlling or formal. You could send across one of the followings with your invitations:

  1. If you are wearing light colours, you could be in for a lot of fun.
  2. Light colours would brighten the evening.
  3. Lots of fun activities involving light colours of the clothing.

If you have more space in the invitation card, you could elaborate on the dress code if you want.

If some guests don't take the hint then we would have to accept the fact that there's bound to be some wear and tear of our furniture if we are using it.

  • Explaining a reason for a dress code looks like a good approach, though remember that the question is about communicating a dress code, not arguing whether having one is always controlling or uncool. I think your answer could be improved by focusing on how the verbal communication of the dress code went, reactions you got to the way you communicated the dress code and possible things OP should keep in mind when they're doing this in writing instead of verbally, instead of telling us about all the activities you did with the dresscode for your dad's retirement party :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 13, 2020 at 10:25
  • @Tinkeringbell, I have made an edit. Is it better?
    – aarbee
    Nov 13, 2020 at 10:47
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    I think so, yes. Thanks for the fast response! :)
    – Tinkeringbell
    Nov 13, 2020 at 10:52
  • 1
    While this might work for a more formal affair, like a retirement party, OP is asking about a casual get together. I honestly don’t own any “light coloured clothes” and having to go buy some for just hanging out will only make me turn down the invitation. Plus, will the friend repeat this every time people come over?
    – AsheraH
    Nov 14, 2020 at 8:02

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