Spring is a time for fashion. White can be worn again, wedding season is here, and color is everywhere. With so many events in the spring season, it is hard to know what you really should wear. You already have your work staples sorted out, but what about outfits for events.
There are seven common dress categories: casual, semi-casual, business, semi-formal, formal, cocktail, and black tie. Some of these categories are easy to understand while others blur the lines with one another. You definitely never want to be under-dressed or so over-dressed that you stand out, especially at someone else’s event (wedding).
This is the most basic dress category there is. If an event is “casual” it means anything goes. This could be jeans, shorts, sandals, t-shirts, and other everyday wear. Most weddings will not be casual dress but many BBQs, birthday parties, and other outings may be.
Semi-casual is a little less every day than casual. You might dress semi-casual to parties, dates, or even to meet co-workers out for lunch- if you aren’t coming from work. Jeans may still be acceptable in semi-casual but only in darker washes or paired with more formal tops. T-shirts, sandals (for men), and shorts should be avoided.
Business attire can be both casual or formal, depending on where you work. Business casual is sometimes called smart casual. Darker washed jeans without rips or tears could be considered business causal as are skirts, dresses, and slacks. Anything you would be comfortable meeting clients + investors in is acceptable.
Business formal may be requested at conferences or more corporate work environments. Some companies may even have a dress code. Business formal would be slacks, pencil skirts, suits, blazers, etc.
Semi-formal is similar to business formal. Slacks + button ups are acceptable as are skirts + dresses of appropriate lengths. You might wear it out to dinner to restaurants where you would need a reservation. You could also wear it to a wedding at a church. It is more conservative than semi-casual.
Formal attire is what many evening events or weddings may ask you to wear. It is very close to black tie. You’ll want to wear a full suit for men or at the least conservative khakis and a sports coat. Women will want to wear evening separates, appropriate length dresses or pantsuits.
If an invitation requires cocktail attire you will want to wear shorter gowns for women + darker suits or formal wear for men. This is a great opportunity to bring out your LBD. Events that may request cocktail attire might be fancier happy hours, engagement + other parties, and even weddings. Cocktail attire events usually involve more standing than sitting + often feature hors d’oeuvres rather than a sit down meal.
Black Tie (+ Optional)
Black tie requires men to wear tuxedos + women to wear formal, floor length gowns. Some weddings may be black tie attire as are galas and award ceremonies. Think the Oscars.
Black tie optional means you could dress black tie or on the more conservative side of formal. Women should most likely still wear gowns or evening separates + men should wear tuxes or suits.
If you have any more questions about attire classification, comment them below.