Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Proper Dress Code Attire

Have you ever received an invitation to an event with a specific dress code requirement and wondered what to wear? Well wonder no more! Below is a great guide for what to wear for proper dress code etiquette.

After 5

Women's attire should be dressy, but not formal. You should wear something similar to what you would wear to a party.

After 5 attire can include cocktail dresses, dressy shorts, skirts and dress pants for women. Dress shoes should be worn.

Men's attire would include dress shirts with or with out a tie, dress pants, and suits with or with out a tie.


Women's attire should be a cocktail dress or a long dress. Cocktail dresses are knee or tea length, but it is also acceptable to wear an ankle length gown. Floor length ball gowns should not be worn. Depending on the event, it may also be acceptable to wear dress pants with a dress shirt.

Men's attire includes a suit with or without a tie, or dress pants with a dress shirt. If only a dress shirt is worn, a tie should be worn with it. A tuxedo should not be worn.

Black tie

Women's attire should be formal. Either an ankle length dress, or floor length gown should be worn. Short/Cocktail dresses should not be worn.

Men's attire should be either a suit with a tie, or a tuxedo. The tux should not have tails. A bow tie or neck tie is acceptable.

Women's attire is the same as black tie. Men should wear a tuxedo with or without tails, with a bow tie. Depending on the event, a neck tie may also be acceptable. A suit should not be worn.

Semi- Formal

Women's attire is the same as Cocktail. Men's attire should be a suit with or without a tie, or dress pants and a dress shirt with a tie. A tuxedo should not be worn.

White Tie
White tie is the most formal of all attire. Women should wear only floor length evening gowns or ball gowns.

White tie attire for men includes a tuxedo with tails and a bow tie only. A white bow tie is usually worn.


Attire for both men and women should be more dressy than casual, but less formal than semi-formal. Can include business casual or after 5, depending on the event.

Business Casual

Women's attire can include casual dresses, skirts and pants. Casual shoes may be worn, but sneakers should not be worn.

Men's attire includes pants, casual shirts and casual shoes. Also, no sneakers.

Blue jeans should not be worn for either men or women, nor should either wear shorts. There also should not be any large logos or letters/words on shirts.


Basically anything goes for casual. Blue jeans, shorts, sneakers, etc. You may however, want to contact the person in charge of the event to get a feel for what to wear. My motto is, "It's always better to be over dressed than under dressed!"


  1. Greetings from England! :-)
    Well, it is a bit confusing: so, I assume that black tie is basically always formal event, while white tie is super-formal. Now, 'after 5' includes private dinners or outings with friend in the evening, so evening attire is applicable and it will be generally informal. Cocktail is consideres informal, too, am I right? It is, however, a bit more dressy than 'after 5'. Isn't it? Then, since we know what is formal, semi-formal and extra-formal, we know how to dress. So, I understand that semi-formal event is when we need to look less formal than for black tie but more formal than for cocktail/'after 5'. Then finally, when it is informal, it should also be categorized - so: informal can be party/cocktail/'after 5' attire, am I right? Perhaps you should group these dress codes in a systematic table to make it less confusing, so that we understand clearly, what events are formal, informal, semi-formal or extra-formal. White tie is certainly the most formal - 'extra-formal' event. Now, a wedding in the family or a friend's wedding generally would be semi-formal, I guess, but would not necessarily require black tie attire - which is considered formal. What about a college graduation ball, for example? I guess it depends on college's traditions, country's own ettiquete, place of the event and number of guests, as well as on who is attending - in Poland it might be quite a formal event, as well as semi-formal occassion.
    You have really nice blog.


  2. Hi Aisha!

    Yes, I agree...it can all be a bit confusing and I'm sure culture, one's country and just overall interpretation can play a huge role altogether. I think things would be a lot more easy if things were just either formal or informal. However, all of the other variations have been added in between, over the years.(Possibly to drive us all crazy!)

    Thank you so much for your comment and thanks for following.


Please leave your comments. I would love to hear from you!

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