Posted by menstyleqa on Mar 28, 2012 in Culture & Etiquette | 2 comments
Sometimes invitations come with dress codes, “dress-casual” or “semi-formal” and so on. What are all the different levels and how do I dress for them?
If you download Antonio’s free 47 page E-book, there is a whole section on this on page 19.
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Terminology may vary slightly in different parts of the country, and more significantly between European and U. S. standards, but these are the basic levels of formality:
Formal: Anyone who sends an invitation with a printed dress code will hopefully be using this term properly. In the daytime it would mean morning dress; at night it would be white tie.
Semi-formal: In the daytime it means formal (striped or checked) trousers and a dark, tail-less coat. At night it means black tie. These days it’s more common to see an invitation that simply says “black tie.” Awkwardly, people may invite you to a “black tie” event during the daytime; this shouldn’t be done but if it is the only polite thing to do is to wear your dinner clothes during the day and say nothing.
Black-tie Optional: A relatively recent invention, implying that the hosts and some guests will be wearing tuxedos but that guests are not required to. If you do not own a tuxedo a plain, dark-colored suit (either black, charcoal gray, or deep navy blue) with a white shirt and a dark, conservative tie is appropriate.
Business Dress: A dark, solid-colored or lightly-pinstriped suit with a white shirt and a conservative tie. Plain, black shoes.
Business Casual: A lighter suit or trousers and an odd jacket. Neckties are optional, but it’s usually a good idea to wear one and then discreetly slip it off if it turns out everyone else decided to go without.
Casual: Not an excuse to wear jeans and a T-shirt! It’s still an invited event, so this means decent-looking slacks and a collared shirt. You don’t need a tie, but a casual jacket would be a nice touch, and good leather shoes are still appropriate. No sneakers or sandals unless it’s an outdoor/athletic sort of event.
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