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Posted on May 18, 2022

Defining Party Attire

In our last couple of posts, I mentioned that we’ve been invited to several balls, galas, or events that require some type of formal wear.  Two were work-related events where the invitation indicated ‘Semi-Formal Dress.’  Semi-Formal Attire is the trickiest of all the dress codes because it typically means tuxedos and long dresses aren’t required, and clothing choices are dependent on the time of the day.  If it’s evening, men should wear a dark suit and women a cocktail dress, but if it is in the afternoon, a cocktail dress could be too much.

I’m not the only person that struggles with this; whenever we are attending an event with the owner of Matt’s company and his wife, she always calls me to see what I’m wearing.  So, I decided to educate myself and share what I learned so that those invitations will no longer cause stress.

  • White Tie – The most formal dress for any event where men wear a tuxedo with a white tie, vest, shirt, and cummerbund, and women wear a long gown.
  • Black Tie – Men wear a traditional black tuxedo, and women wear a long dress, a cocktail dress, or dressy separates.
  • Formal – Dress as if you are attending a Black-Tie Event.
  • Black-Tie Optional – Men should wear a traditional tuxedo or a dark suit, while women can wear either a long dress or short cocktail dress.
  • Semi-Formal – It depends on the time of the event.  A dark suit for men is always safe, while women should consider a cocktail dress or dressy separates.  I always say it is better to overdress than underdress, and for women, a traditional little black dress is always a safe bet.
  • Cocktail Attire – A dark suit for men and a short cocktail dress for women.
  • Dressy Casual or Business Casual – This means no jeans, shorts, or super-casual wears.  Think khakis for men and skirt, capri pants, or slacks for women.
  • Casual or Informal – While this usually means things are wide open, I’d recommend avoiding yoga pants, sweatpants, and super-short shorts.  Consider the event and remember modesty is a good policy.

Finally, whenever I’m attending an event without clothing suggestions, I always look at the time of day, the type of event, and the location to help me determine what to wear.  The good news is that no matter what you wear, Shores can clean and refresh your outfit so that it’s ready for your next big event.  Just drop by one of our locations; we’re here to help.

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