There has been a hewn cry from many of you out there as o what to wear to Alabama’s invite teas and parties that are happening this Saturday March 16th in Tuscaloosa.  I can understand the concern.  For Preview Weekend Panhellenic suggested “casual….jeans…not open toed shoes” and yet we had everything from sweat pants (REALLY??? I mean REALLY????? taking “casual” to a whole new level) to very nice dresses.  So of course you are wondering ..”What do I wear?”

My first piece of advice is not to dress to the themes of the parties. These themes…Under the big Top…Mocktails…Fun in the Sun…Pretty in Pink….Fiesta…Spring Tea….just to name a few are for the chapters.  Their attire will be themed to these parties but yours is not expected to be. In addition with at least 16 or the 17 NPC sororities holding these ALL on Saturday (it has never been this way in the past….they usually have been scattered over the weekend and not all were held at the houses but scattered throughout Tuscaloosa at alum’s homes, restaurants ect) and the fact that they overlap, you would go crazy trying to change clothes between parties.  I have to share that a couple of years ago there actually WAS a girl who attempted this.  Her mother followed her in their motor home and the girl would go to a party for a short while then excuse her self, jump in the motor home and change while momma was driving to the next party.  She even did different hair styles!!!!! Seriously!!!  While I might have been a hot bothered mess by the end of this “quick change stunt” every time she exited the motor home she was perfectly dressed and coiffed in every way. No don’t be getting any ideas…chances are that the row will be blocked off and you won’t be able to even drive down it that day.  Sitting in ahold ing pattern outside of Tut is a recipe for a life altering experience with the Tuscaloosa and UA Campus police!

So what do you were??? It’s a good question :).  I looked at the weather this morning and it looks like a typical spring day in Tuscaloosa.  Yep ladies it’s Spring!!!  For those of you who have been stuck in the ice and snow I know that you all are still wearing boots and jackets but in the land of magnolias and tulips it’s Spring and the girls are dressing like it!!  So ditch the drab dark colors and opt for fun, cute and springy.  The temp said 75…might be a little humid because it looks like some rain is heading in on Sunday Last I saw 20%…which equates to cloud burst at 3pm).

If I were you or you were my daughter I would suggest a cute, casual spring dress or skirt and top.  As with Preview you will see all sorts of dress but generally speaking you will see girls in dresses, skirts and tops and maybe the occasional jeans (I wouldn’t but some will because again the word “casual” has surfaced on some of the invites).  If you are going to go pants/jeans then no blue denim…go a floral with a cute top and wedges or a colored pair with a cute top and shoes.  NO WHITE!!!!  NO WHITE SHOES…NO WHITE DRESSES, NO WHITE SKIRTS…NO WHITE SHOES…..NO WHITE..not until after Easter at the earliest and Memorial Day for those of you who follow clothes etiquette strictly.

There are a lot of really cute casual dresses out there that will not break the bank.  Francesca’s always has  cute dresses for around $50.  I would suggest  to add some cute interesting jewelry to go with your dress or outfit.  Something that would be a conversation piece but also that a sorority would remember you by. Be careful with length at both Francesca’s and Forever XXI…their dresses can run REALLY short.  You  don’t know if you will be sitting on the floor or in chairs.  If you put your arms down straight on your thighs and your dress is at or above your finger tips’s too short.  Yo don’t want to be the girl who is remembered because everyone knew where she got her panties :)>

You all know I am a huge fan of J Crew and Anthropologie.  Both have some very cute casual dresses and skirts.  My current favorite is the Camille Dress from J Crew…with flats or cute wedges and a great necklace this would be great…you might need to add a sweater or jacket in the morning (it should start out at about 50) but by the time you are going between houses you will want to have no sleeves… especially in the afternoon.  the scattered dot shift dress is also cute…again cute necklace.  as far as skirts go at J Crew…you can’t go wrong with the Liberty Postage stamped mini….with a chambray shirt…(love Liberty of London!!!)…roll the sleeves of the shirt..add a necklace and casual shoes. Also the Postage stamp mini that is dotted or the box pleat crepe skirt would work (I actually love the look they show with the box pleat but it’s white and well…I still follow the old rule…am struggling as to whether to make an exception here)

Anthro has some great spring dresses….love the tiered habitual shirt dress, triple bow dress, Whitmarsh Aptus dress, the Day Dress, Prosecco Dress, Pintucked Point dress…you get the idea????

Francescas….so I got on and looked and they look so short but if you try them on and they pass the finger tip rule then I like..Belle Island Chevron shirt dress,  San Fernando Printed Dress, Bocca Raton Polka Dot dress, Portland Floral Dress, Merida Hexagon Dress..again just examples of what you might see.

If you arrive to Tuscaloosa early you can always stop by The Shirt Shop..he carries great dresses..Leona is one of my favorites!!!  The Private Gallery will have some cute things…so will Ellie Crimson (priced more like Francescas), Belk has a good supply..and thern there are the little boutiques downtown.

My suggestion is to wear something that will be memorable….comfortable..that’s your own “style”..shows your personality.  Accent with jewelry. Wear comfortable shoes….you will see open toed wedges even though it is a bit early in the season.  It’s better to dress up than dress down.  NO knit dresses as in clingy t-shirt knit material.  You want to go the more conservative route…nothing cut up to “here” and down to “there” if you get my drift.

What about Lilly?????  You will see some Lilly for sure.  It’s a little early in the Lilly season and so the bold, flowery summer looking dresses are probably a no no. Just my opinion but her knits are too casual for this (and recruitment)…I actually didn’t see a whole lot I would wear.

If you live where there are cute signature boutiques that you shop at then I am pretty sure you will find a great dress or outfit.  Should you bring a couple of outfits..of course..options are good!!!  I always tell girls to have two or three choices ready.  Never know what mood you are going to wake up, if you have a spill disaster …better to be prepared.

Can you change between parties?  Looks like things are back to back for the most part all day.  Many girls have been invited to 6, 7, 8 or more parties. The question has do you handle this?  Is it ok to go from party to party? Yes…these are done on an OPen House format.  When you arrive there will be members at the door to greet you (in most cases)..they might lead you in to chat with other members.  You will have to decide according to what your schedule is how much time you can/ need/want to spend at each house.  I will tell you that this is where it gets though.  You arrive at house A and love it there…thus becomes the struggle “do you leave” and got to house B (an unknown quantity at this point) or stay at house A because you are having such a good time.  I would politely excuse myself and go to house B.  If you have become Facebook friends with girls from house A then you can share with them later what a good time you had, but today is about visiting the houses and meeting members…not making connections with just one house.  It’s the “putting all you eggs in one basket theory” don’t want to do that now….get to know as many houses as you can.

I one final suggestion.  Remember to keep an open mind…you have all heard the tent talk about certain houses.  If you have received an invitation from a house you are obliged to attend.  If you cannot attend then you need to RSVP a regret. It’s polite!  When you are at the parties and you need to leave, simply excuse yourself, thank the girl you are speaking with, explaining you have another party to go to.  They expect this. They shouldn’t ask you what parties you have been invited to but if they do be polite.  You might say “I have my schedule tucked here inside my purse” and smile!

Have fun!!!! Don’t stress!!!!  Would love to hear stories from the day?  More questions???? Don’t hesitate to ask :).