DEAR HARRIETTE: My friends enjoy being comfortable, and I respect their fashion choices. But now we are all growing up and attending more formal events and dinners, yet there are some girls who ask if they can wear sweatpants to go out. I would never be seen wearing sweatpants, but I know some people value comfort. I have tried planning dressier brunches, yet some girls do not seem to understand neon flip-flops and short shorts are not appropriate. Am I being outrageous and overreacting, or am I allowed to tell everyone to be more put together? -- Dressed Up, Detroit
DEAR DRESSED UP: This is why dress codes are so helpful. Typically, what used to happen when people hosted events is that they wrote the dress code on the invitation. I recommend it. You can put it on an evite or a traditionally posted invitation where you describe how you want people to dress -- anything from cocktail attire (which means a dress and heels for women, jacket and tie for men) to festive dress (which suggests dressing up, but more playfully). You can request no jeans, no shorts -- whatever you want. But to encourage your friends to step up their attire, your best bet is to make the invitation fun rather than a reprimand.