Which is worse: Going to a party underdressed or overdressed?

I think it must be a Malaysian thing, to walk into what one is guessing is a formal do in jeans and a jacket because you don’t want to look like you’ve been waiting all year to get all dressed up and use all that make-up you’ve been saving the last five years.

When Lokes and I got married, we’d put ‘Black Tie Only’ on our invites. About 1/3rd of the guests arrived in jeans and jackets, which was pretty good, considering that only one in five Malaysian households own a cocktail dress/fancy dress shirt.

At tonight’s Christmas party thrown by Lokes’ company sub-division, I’d thrown on around four a half different outfits, to arrive at – you guessed it – a modest jeans-and-red-jacket-tank-top combo because I had no idea what "Christmas attire" meant.

"Does it mean red and green clothes only?" I’d asked Lokes. He, of course, has less of an idea than me, and has neither green nor red whatever and thus, donned a black Italian silk shirt and jeans. We thought we’d looked a pretty pair and were off.

Suffice to say, Americans are pretty serious about their Christmas attire. I should’ve suspected from the racks and racks of fancy velvet (or velour, as the locals like to call it), satin, suede, cashmere tops, bottoms, full-body-affairs (and sometimes, not-so-full) at Target. I thought these were clothes people bought to wear at home on Christmas day or when visiting friends, like the Chinese New Year bajus we buy to wear during the New Year. Or when taking family pictures to be made into holiday letters or Christmas cards. Or when they got invited to a REAL Christmas party.

Note to self: Next year, dress to kill. Or at least, aim to maim.

ps. We have a picture. Will scan and put it up tomorrow.

Lokes and Jenn @ MCB Party 2007

Malaysian Christmas attire.