Old etiquette: A little black dress and heels.
New etiquette: Gauge your outfit by the party.
What to wear: Given the number of variables (what time of year is it? who are your hosts? is it a special occasion?), there’s no one right answer, which can make things a bit tricky. If you underdress, you risk offending your dinner companions. Overdress by a mile and “you can make your host feel inadequate, insecure, or uncomfortable,” etiquette authority Sue Fox points out. The solution: “Ask the host for advice,” says fashion consultant Lauren A. Rothman. It’s the best way to find out if you’re in for a denim-welcome get-together or a more buttoned-up, skirt-and-blouse affair. Still worried about hitting the mark? “Stash dangly earrings or a pretty scarf in your bag to dress up an outfit if need be,” advises etiquette authority Lizzie Post.