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Dress Code – Know What To Wear For Every Occasion

Smart Casual? Club Casual? Business Casual? Lounge Attire? White Tie? Black Tie? With so many different dress codes out there, it can be difficult to know what to wear, even when the type of dress code is provided on the invitation card.

“Don’t feel awkward to just call the organizer directly when you are unsure what to wear.” Joelle, director of my locker laundry, says. “You are not comfortable calling them directly, send them an email.”

Joelle said you should always ask what to wear when you are invited to an event with an unfamiliar dress code. And here are some examples:

Black Tie

Occasionally referred to as evening dress, this invitation means tuxedos are expected.

Ladies: A floor-length ball gown. If not, a very dressy cocktail dress would work too.

Gentlemen: A dark suit or tuxedo without tails. Pair with white shirt and tie, or a bow tie.

When to wear it: charity dinners, some weddings, embassy receptions, balls, formal invitations

Smart Casual

Ladies: A pencil skirt or dress pants would be great on you, or you could pair with a silk or button-down top and high heels.

Gentlemen: Opt for dressy pants, paired with a collared shirt, no ties/ no bow ties.

When to wear it: birthday parties, business luncheons, university gatherings, happy hours

Dressy Casual

Ladies: Silk dress, dress pants, or a skirt. No-no for your beloved denim, sport shoes or cotton tees. Pairs yourself with a nice heel.

Gentlemen: Oxford shoes with dress shirts and trousers. You could also do with a blazer or sport coat. Avoid oversize clothes or clothes that are too tight. No tie is needed.

When to wear it: Dinners, church, high school gatherings.

Business Casual

Ladies: Your skirt, khakis, dress pants will do well, and you could pair them with long sleeve or three-quarter sleeve tops. You could also do with your silk dress with min. heels.

Gentlemen: Wear a button-down or a polo shirt, paired with khakis or dress pants. If you want to make an impression, put on a blazer or sport coat. No tie is needed.

When to wear it: Some meetings and conference.

Cocktail Attire

Ladies: The classic little black dress is great for cocktail attire, or you could try a shorter dress with some frill. Show your personality.

Gentlemen: Put on your dark suit, coat and tie (optional) or bowtie (optional). Opt for dark jeans paired with a jacket at some cocktail events, depending on how casual the atmosphere is.

When to wear it: Birthday parties, evening social events, some office gatherings.

Dress code is more than dressing it up for the event, it is also about showing respect to the host and showing your humility. Enjoy!

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