Dress Codes for Social Events

by Jessica Wright
(last updated November 10, 2017)

Whether we like it or not, first impressions do make a difference and wearing the wrong type of attire can leave the wrong first impression. Listed here are a few of the different types of dress codes for social events.

When it comes to get-togethers and social events it seems like there are a wide variety of dress codes. It can be really confusing with so many different social events that require a certain type of dress standard. That's where a standard dress code comes is. Dress codes are nothing more that a set of rules of what is and isn't appropriate to wear to different social events.

As the years have come and gone there has been some relaxation on what is considered proper attire for certain events. Which can make knowing what to wear just that much harder.

  • White Tie. This is the most dress-up social event of all. A white tie or ultra-formal invitation requires that a woman wear a formal floor-length gown with the best of jewelry. The men are expected to wear a white tie and vest with their tuxedos.
  • Black Tie. Sometimes this is also called "formal attire." Not as nice as the white tie event, but still quite formal. Women can choose to wear a long dress but not required. A dressy evening suit or cocktail dress is acceptable. Men should wear tuxedos with white shirts and black ties
  • Creative Black Tie. This type of event allows for more of a trendy interpretation of the traditional formal wear. The men can go with a black shirt, no tie, and a tuxedo. The women could go in either a long dress, cocktail dress, or in evening separates.
  • Semi-Formal. For the women this would be a short dress (anything from mid-calf and shorter would be appropriate) that is more elegant than the normal everyday dress along with high heels. Men should wear a dark suit.
  • Cocktail Attire. This is similar to what one would wear to a semi-formal event. Men should wear a dark suit and women a short, elegant dress.
  • Informal. Would be the same attire as semi-formal, however women should not allow any cleavage to show and should keep the showy jewelry for a more formal gathering. Men should still wear a dark suit.
  • Dressy Casual. For the men this would be trousers, a collared, shirt and a sport coat. The women should wear a casual dress or a shirt with tailored slacks or a skirt.
  • Business Casual. No denim jeans for either men or women. Nice pair of trousers or pants is fine to wear along with t-shirts or some other trendy top.
  • Casual. This is where common sense comes in. Usually anything goes with casual attire, but if you want to impress someone leave the sweat pants or skimpy clothes for another occasion.

Author Bio

Jessica Wright

Jessica is a communications major studying for her masters and working full time. Growing up in a household of girls, she learned young the fun of trying new beauty ideas. Jessica enjoys playing the piano, dating, and having a good time with family and friends. ...


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