So, if you’re here, we’re guessing you just got a super exciting invitation to something or somewhere, but the word “dress code” stumped you. That’s okay; we’ve all been there! Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common dress codes of today to help you out.
Let’s start with the most common dress code of today – casual.
A casual dress code is one that entails relaxed, comfortable, informal clothing that is appropriate for everyday use. Because it’s similar to our everyday wear (something we’re so used to), it can be easily pulled off, but perhaps too easily that most people would tend to overthink it.
So, what do you wear?
You could wear any plain tees or even button-up shirts. However, soft colours without any prints or slogans are preferred. You could pair them up with some nice chinos, khakis, or jeans. But, keep in mind that it’s best to wear bottoms with a more tailored fit.
Also, try to avoid wearing clothes that are low-cut, ripped, or frayed, as well as apparel like sweatshirts, sweatpants, and shorts.
TIP: Sundresses are an excellent casual dress code option for women.
Next up is the formal dress code.
Simply put, the formal dress code is the polar opposite of the casual dress code, but you probably already know that. So let’s just dive into what you could or should wear.
Business shirts, skirts, dresses, suits, jackets, vests, and tuxedos, in short, anything that is classified as formal wear, can be worn to a setting or event where the dress code is formal. And when it comes to choosing your formal wear, the most important factors to consider are fit and colour. Tailored fit and dark-coloured formal wear are the more appropriate options.
Accessories such as neckties, bowties, and jewellery, also play an important role in a formal dress code, so getting them right is essential.
TIP: Personal grooming, though not clothing-related, is an important factor to consider when attending formal events, so be sure to pay some attention to that as well!
Semi-formal dress codes are quite popular these days, though finding the right balance between casual and formal may get a little tricky. But the good news is that you have a wide range of options!
For women, anything from short, breezy dresses to long, flowing dresses is appropriate. Some examples include cocktail dresses, afternoon dresses, wrap dresses, and maxi dresses, amongst others. You could wear any of them with subtle jewellery or accessories, as well as dressy flats or high heels.
For men, the simplest semi-formal outfit to put together is a dark suit with a dress shirt and a matching vest. You could pair that with a necktie, belt, and dark shoes.
TIP: If you’re attending a semi-formal event in the evening (sometime after 6.00 p.m.), it’s best to lean more towards the formal side, and vice versa if the event is held earlier in the day.
Black tie is the most common dress code for events such as weddings, proms, formal dinners, and of course, red carpets.
Seeing that they’re often associated with such high-profile or important social events, most people are easily intimidated. However, the popular “high-end” dress code is not as intimidating or difficult to pull off as most people believe.
So, if your event invitation calls for a black tie, first and foremost, don’t worry! Here’s a quick list of what you can wear based on your gender:
- Evening gown
- Strapless gown
- Little black dress (LBD)
- High heels
- Pleated white dress shirt
- Cummerbund (optional)
- Waistcoat (optional)
- Formal or dress shoes
TIP: Despite the name, the black tie dress code does not necessitate black-coloured clothing; other dark colours are acceptable as well.
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