Dress Code Breakdown: Making Sure You Look Suitable for Your Next Social Event


With ever-changing fashion rules, it can be pretty hard to tell what's appropriate to wear to certain events. When most people hear the term "dress code", they're likely to think of workplace attire. But that's not the only place that requires a certain type of attire. If you have a big event coming up with very vague dress code requirements, you need to know specifics. Read on to figure out what each dress code entails.

Formal/White Tie: Unfortunately, "formal attire" is often misunderstood. While most men think it means suits and ties, it actually entails mens dress clothes that most men might not even own. Formal wear for men means a tuxedo type of dress coats and vest for mornings and day events, and a white tie for an evening event. White tie events are usually held for diplomatic events, but if you're lucky enough to be invited to one, then you should expect it to be very fancy. In fact, you'll most likely have to rent mens clothes for the occasion.

Semi-Formal/Black Tie: The word "semi" does not mean much in this case. Semi-formal is most likely the strictest dress code you will come across in your lifetime. In the evening, semi-formal requires a tuxedo while a morning event requires a stroller, which is a relaxed alternative to formal morning mens dress.

Business Dress Code: Business means matched mens suits. For most occasions, a dark, solid colored suit paired with a white dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes will be appropriate. On the other hand, light gray or brown suits are usually suitable for daytime events. You should have lighter colored suits for events that simply ask "suits and ties for men." It might be beneficial to consider getting custom clothing made if you go to multiple events with this dress code. Particularly for events like interviews or business trips, where you need to dress to impress -- especially since 47% of managers in 2016 said their employees dressed "too casually."

Business/Dress Casual: In this case, jackets are preferred, but not required. The most common dress casual outfit consists of a blazer with gray slacks or khakis. A more casual option could consist of sweaters or dress shirts with slacks or khakis. Remember, just because the word "casual" is included, doesn't mean you can arrive wearing sweatpants. It's always better to be too dressed up than too dressed down.

Casual Dress: Casual dress leaves it pretty much up to you to decide what you want to wear. While you have free range of your outfit choice, it's still preferred that you at least wear something nice to the social event. At the very least, you should look like you put some effort into your outfit to show respect to your host.

Mens dress codes can be complicated to understand, especially in this day and age where there seem to be fewer social events requiring a certain dress code. But it's still important to understand in case you get invited to an important event.