Special Occasion Dress Code Guide

Cocktail dressHave you been invited to a party or special event and you have no idea what to wear? Events like Black Tie, Cocktail Parties and Semi-Formals require specific types of attire, or dress code. If you’re unsure of what to wear to your special event, use this guide.

Black Tie

Black Tie events require formal attire, or in other words, dress your best. Women generally wear formal cocktail dresses, long dresses or dressy evening separates, such as a dressy suit. Even your “little black dress” is a suitable option. Men typically resort to a classic tuxedo. If the function is White Tie, women should wear long gowns while men should wear a formal tuxedo with a white shirt, vest and tie.


Semi-formal events also referred to as “After Five” refer to moderately formal dress. For women, a short dress, cocktail dress or dressy suit is acceptable. While tuxedos are not required for semi-formals for men, they should still wear a nice suit. If the function is a business formal, women should opt for a tailored suit or dress. The idea is to dress a little more business-like without looking too sexy.

Cocktail Parties

If you have a cocktail party in your near future, you’ll want to select an elegant dress. In most cases, the little black dress makes for the ultimate cocktail attire. For men, a dark suit is the perfect solution for a cocktail event.


Informal events typically call for similar attire as semi-formal, especially when the event is a wedding or other special occasion. This means short, semi-dressy dresses for women and dark suits for men. When the event is dressy casual, consider an ensemble that is a dressed-up version of a casual look. For women, a dressy pant suit is acceptable, while trousers and a sport coat is a suitable option for men. When the event is just casual, anything goes unless otherwise stated on the invitation.

Photo: Cocktail dress

Source: pinterest

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