Did you know there’s a difference between “semiformal” and “dressy casual”? Here are the finer points of proper dress.
You Will Need
The dress code
Step 1: Put on your tails
If the invitation says “white tie,” men should wear a black tailcoat with a single stripe of satin or braid; a white pique wing-collared shirt with stiff front; a white vest, white bow tie, and white or gray gloves; and black patent leather shoes and black socks. Ladies should wear a floor-length evening gown. In Europe, the man’s tailcoat should have two stripes.
Step 2: Get out your tux
For black tie, men wear a black tuxedo jacket and matching pants; a pique or pleated front white shirt; a black bow tie; a black cummerbund or a vest; black patent leather shoes, black socks, and no gloves. Women can choose between a floor-length gown or a short, dressy cocktail dress. In the summer or on a cruise ship, wear a white dinner jacket and black trousers.
Step 3: Have your pick
When the invite reads “black tie optional,” men have the choice of a black tuxedo or a dark suit, white shirt, and conservative tie. Women have three choices: a gown, a cocktail dress, or dressy separates.
Step 4: Be creative
For “creative black tie” men can add a touch of whimsy to a black tux, like a colored or pattered bow tie. Women can jazz up their gown or cocktail dress with a feather boa, interesting shawl, or eye-catching jewelry.
Step 5: Go halfway
Wear a dark business suit with a white shirt and conservative tie to a “semiformal” event if you’re a guy, and either a cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and blouse if you’re a woman.
Step 6: Be festive
Think “bright,” “sparkly,” and “colorful” when the invite says “festive attire,” which is basically cocktail party attire – business suit for men, and a cocktail dress or dressy pants outfit for women – with a holiday-themed accent.
Step 7: Dress kind of casual
Men, wear a sport jacket or blazer, slacks, and an open-collar shirt if the invite says “dressy casual” or “business casual.” Ladies, wear a dress, a skirt with a fashionable top, or a sleek pantsuit for dressy casual and a skirt or slacks, and a shirt or sweater for business casual.
Step 8: Look good
Look good in whatever you’re wearing and you can get away with breaking some of the previous rules.
Did You Know?Nearly 40 percent of managers feel their workers dress too casually, according to one survey.
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