Stylist Grayson Mann Wills breaks down attires, from casual to black tie

Photos by Jordan Hefler

It all started with an invitation. A cardstock, letterpressed beauty that, at the very bottom, read “dressy casual.” This seeming oxymoron had us second guessing everything we’ve ever known about attire instructions. Did it mean a sundress? Or possibly pants? Maybe jeans and a top? 

Since much of the content in this magazine is inspired by the real-life happenings of our real lives here in our wonderful Capital City—life imitating art, if you will—we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take you with us on an exploration through the depths of dress codes.

With the help of Baton Rouge native and stylist Grayson Mann Wills of Styled by Gray (@styled_by_gray), as well as a few local boutiques, we took to the recently revamped Jubans to put on full display what it means to dress up. We all deserve a post-COVID refresher, right? Read on for all the outfit inspiration and expert tips. 


Black Tie

Teal tulle ballgown, $1,294, Chatta Box

Elizabeth Cole earrings, $278, Chatta Box

Think: Best Dressed Ball

“When choosing a gown, it’s important to keep the theme of the occasion in mind. For black tie weddings, I like to keep it traditional. If it’s for a ball or gala event, then it’s fun to be adventurous!”


Cocktail

Bow-back dress, $350, Chatta Box

Gold platform heels, $450, Edit by LBP

Think: Engagement party

“I have a very feminine style, so I’ve always gravitated to bows. Pair them with sophisticated shoes and accessories to feel more grown up.”


Dressy Casual

Patterned skirt, $375, Aria

White ruffle top, $210, Aria

Gold hoops, $96, Chatta Box

Green and pink bow heels, $198, Lukka

Think: Luncheon

“Every woman should have a crisp white blouse in her closet, as it adds the perfect polish to any outfit. It’s so versatile and can be dressed up with a printed skirt for an event or paired with jeans.”


Dressy Casual

Black maxi dress, $428, Lukka

Turquoise earrings, $218, Chatta Box

Think: Vacation dinner

“High-quality cotton is perfect for staying cool, and this silhouette is super comfortable because of the loose fit. This dress is instantly chic, though, because of the one-shoulder detail. The maxi length makes it perfect for a dressier occasion, too.”


Cocktail

Beaded mini dress, $2,795, Chatta Box

Think: Girls’ night out

“Make sure the quality is good when you are considering a bold piece or look. If so, the item will last for years and the cost per wear can help you justify the purchase.”


Cocktail

Orange pleated dress, $548, NK Boutique

Rhinestone statement earrings, $293, NK Boutique

Acrylic heeled sandal, $130, NK Boutique

Think: Evening fundraiser

“When mixing colors, try to keep the tones in the same color family. I pulled the look together with coordinating earrings that had both orange and pink.”


Cocktail

Floral mini dress, $1,850, Chatta Box

Pearl and rhinestone earrings, $123, NK Boutique

Gold platform heels, $450, Edit by LBP

Think: Wedding

“Sleeves are great because so many women are self-conscious about their arms. They are flattering and come in handy when temperatures cool down.”


Dressy Casual

Tiered midi dress, $790, Edit by LBP

Daisy earrings, $125, NK Boutique

Acrylic heeled sandal, $130, NK Boutique

Think: Out for drinks

“I like the acrylic shoe trend because they really elongate the leg. However, I wouldn’t recommend splurging on a pair since it’s such a big trend.”