dress codes for social events.
A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire.
Men wear tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening
Formal usually means the same
as Black Tie, but in some
trendier cities like New York or Los Angeles, it could mean a black
shirt, no tie with a tux. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy
A White Tie or Ultra-formal
invitation requires men wear full dress, with white tie, vest, shirt.
Women wear long gowns.
A Black Tie Optional or Black Tie
Invited gives you the option of wearing a tuxedo or formal
dress, but it should clue you into the formality of the event,
meaning a dark suit and tie would be your only other option. Women wear cocktail,
long dresses or dressy evening separates.
Creative Black Tie leaves room for
trendy interpretations of formal wear. He can go more modern with a tux
-- maybe a black shirt, no tie. She wears long or short dresses or
Sometimes, themed parties call for
dress codes like Texas Black
Tie or other variations of Creative Black Tie. In that
situation, you can have more fun with it, choosing a dressy look with a
theme (for him, it could be a tux with boots and for her it could be a
long dress paired with Southwestern style silver belt and jewelry).
Semi-Formal or After Five
tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening wedding (after 6
PM) would still dictate dark suits for him, and a cocktail dress for
her. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate
short dress or dressy suit for her.
Business Formal is the same as Semi-Formal
for him, but
for women it suggests that women opt for more tailored dressy suits and
dresses (nothing too slinky or sexy).
Cocktail Attire means short,
dresses for her and dark suits for him.
Informal is often interpreted as
the same as Casual
but it actually calls for the same dress as Semi-Formal -- dark
suits for him, short dresses for her -- especially when associated with a
wedding or special event.
Festive Attire is usually seen
holidays, with the mood of the party being Informal or Semi-Formal.
For her, it means to choose looks with a bit of sparkle or holiday bent
(i.e. a beaded sweater with black pants, a red silk blouse with a black
Dressy Casual calls for dressed-up
casual looks. For him, it could be trousers and a sportcoat, for her a
dressy pants look. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts and other casual looks are
not appropriate for Dressy Casual.
Casual generally means anything