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Unexpectedly, you've been invited to a cruise ship christening. As with any event, your biggest conundrum is what to wear. Nobody wants to show up to a party over- or underdressed. Even if the invite specifies formal, semiformal or festive wear, you still have several options that may or may not be the best choice to wear on a boat. Keep in mind the weather, and what a big party on a cruise ship will be like.
A cruise ship christening is the official naming ceremony for a new ship before it takes off on its maiden voyage. Depending on the cruise line and where the christening is taking place, the event may include celebrities, royalty, travel moguls and the media. Typically there is a party afterward where guests are invited to drink, eat, mingle and tour the brand-new boat. While the dress code for a christening may vary, it's definitely not the place to sport sweats or a T-shirt and jeans.
If your invitation specifies formal wear, you know it's time to bring out the big fashion guns. This is an event where you're expected to look your very best. It's totally appropriate to indulge in a little glamour and don a ball gown. However, because it's a cruise ship, you can also get away with a cocktail dress or a pantsuit. Keep in mind cruise ships are very large and the after-party might involve a lot of walking. Choose shoes with a little glitz that are also comfortable. Bring a wrap -- the deck can get breezy after sundown.
Semiformal also means cocktail attire. If you choose a dress, the hem should be somewhere between the knee and midcalf. A floor-length dress is too much for a semiformal event -- you'll definitely feel overdressed. Pick a frock in a high-end fabric such as silk or satin. Go for a fun print in a bright color -- you are on a cruise ship, after all. Slacks are also OK, as long as they're dressy and paired with a great blouse. Bring a smart tailored jacket in case it gets chilly.
The term festive wear is a little confusing. In the article "What Does Festive Attire Really Mean? Translating Party Dress Codes Into Perfect Looks," Vogue style editor Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis defines it as “Something smart and special, and it may be a little more opulent than your usual style." That said, don't wear anything too serious -- festive is the operative word. Choose a fun frock with great detailing such as lace overlay or a bedazzled sweetheart neckline. Opt for less glitz with a body-skimming jersey dress or a pretty crepe number in a bold color. Don a tuxedo-style jacket or a cute cardigan once night falls.