Fashion show etiquette: DOs and absolute DON’Ts

Here are some tips and rules on looking not just appropriate but actually stylish around the globe during fashion events

Mimi Raad
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Until the early twentieth century, the main way people saw new clothes, especially the latest from Paris, was on dolls. Around 1391 Charles VI of France sent Queen Anne of England a “fashion doll” wearing the latest royal court dress – she was the fashion ambassador of French taste.

In the 21st century, technology takes charge of spreading sartorial trends. Through social media like Instagram and Twitter, it’s easy to find out the latest in Paris, New York, London, Milan, Dubai, Kuwait, and Iran. These pictures are seen the whole world over while hundreds of thousands of people, including models, journalists, retailers, celebrities, and executives, participate in events across the globe. So here’s the question: what should – and shouldn’t – you wear to a fashion show?


While it can sometimes seem that the world has fallen victim to a sort of sartorial globalization, where jeans are welcome anytime, anywhere, the truth is more nuanced. You can wear jeans but you need to spiff them up. Make sure you’re wearing the latest trend – this season’s must-have denim comes with a cropped, slightly flared and frayed hem. And remember, what works in Singapore might be greeted with looks of horror in Paris.

And while you can pile on the gold and jewels in Greece, you’ll be perceived wearing all this jewelry as vulgar in Germany. So here are the rules on looking not just appropriate but actually stylish around the globe, in fashion events.

Simple: think your everyday style but elevated.

DON’T ignore weather conditions – if it’s cold, wear an appropriate outfit and leave your tiny shorts for summer!

DON’T wear shoes you can’t walk in.

Keep it elegantly casual. Unless you feel like you have to wear an outfit worthy of a thousand camera flashes like Lady Gaga or Anna Dello Russo and you’re up to it, then please refrain. Gone are the days when bloggers had to wear weird outfits to be noticed. The name of the game now, is trendy elegance.

I can’t say it enough, your best kept secret for looking like a million bucks is a tailor who knows your figure. Don’t just grab something off the rack and assume it will fall perfectly on you. Make sure the sleeves are not too long before you get to the show, or the hem length won’t be flattering.)

Unless you are a celebrity with some consistent spending means, there is no reason you should drop an entire month’s rent on a new outfit for the show. By all means do buy a beautiful investment piece that stands out and is re-wearable. But I don’t advise to invest in a designer piece just for this one show.

Put on your diva pout and wear your big sunglasses while on your way to the show. But, please, pull them off during the duration of the event. If trying to stay incognito, then stay home.

Most of the time, I’m all for fabulous over functional. And in this particular event it is not the time for ballet flats, unless you opted for those amazing pointed ballerinas by Dior! This is one of the only times your most decadent, beautiful shoes will have a reason to exist besides collecting them in your closet for your own visual pleasure and ego boost!

If you’re new to the fashion scene, I strongly suggest to bring a fashionable friend with whom you can chat and gossip!

Remember when I said earlier don’t go designer? That doesn’t apply to the handbag. I beg you do not carry a faux designer one; the real thing is a must.

If black is your comfort zone, make an effort and think you’ll be mingling with a fun, bright crowd, you don’t want to be singled out. A pop of color never hurts anyone, or simply go for a black and white outfit.

Elegance and refinement are key words in every occasion including fashion events. No need to flash extra flesh.

And remember, in such an egocentric milieu, most people are going to be so focused on catching a celebrity or busy taking selfies that they aren’t going to even notice what you’re wearing, especially if your shoes are from last year’s collection.)

Bad behaviour

Now that we covered your outfits let’s tackle your behavior.

DON’T block the view of everyone around you while you Instagram every look.

DON’T put on heavy perfume in a show, it is unacceptable.

DON’T post hundreds of blurry, horrible photos on Instagram and useless videos of every event you attend just to show how cool you are. I’m so unfollowing!

DON’T wear imposing hair styles or even hats in the front row. Remember there are people behind you…

I always hear fashion people complaining about fashion events: too many, too time consuming… well guess what, it’s part of the job description if you’re in the industry, and getting to meet and speak with some of the leading names in fashion and beauty is a privilege that most don’t get to experience. If you don’t like it, change your job!

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