Decoding the Different Dress Codes

By  - 6 years ago

So what’s the difference between a white tie event and a black tie attire? What about smart casual and business? We’re sure some of you still don’t know jack about these confusing dress codes, so let’s get to the bottom of it before you make a rookie mistake on your next formal event.


Smart casual

Photos from: JustJared, Pinterest

The rules for smart casual events aren’t super strict, but it requires more posh than your usual casual look. For example, you can wear denim jeans but pair it with blazers and adorn your look with jewelry for a more polished finish. Either flats or heels are acceptable too. When in doubt, remember smart casual is basically just a more dressed-up version of your usual casual looks.



Photos from: Gotceleb, Dailymail, Pinterest

Cocktail dresses should be easy to get your hands on. The hem of the dress has to be above the knee or knee-length but you can opt to wear an evening pantsuit, which works too. T-shirts, sandals, or shorts are a no-no. Also, a little black dress can do no wrong which is why LBD is a must-have item for every girl.


Black tie

Photo from: Harper’s Bazaar, Pinterest, Shutterstock

Black tie is considered the second highest level of formal attire. Weddings are usually black tie events where men are required to wear a tux with a black bow tie and women are to wear long evening gowns or a cocktail dress, preferably in dark or neutral colors.


White tie

Photo from: Vogue, Pinterest

White tie is a notch above black tie and is the highest level of formal attire. Women are usually required to wear a floor-length evening gown with long gloves which they wear during cocktails but take off during dinner. The hair is typically swept up or worn in an up-do. Men are expected to wear a white bow tie, black coat with tails, and a white vest over a white dress shirt.


Business formal

Photo from: Pinterest, Harper’s Bazaar

Business formal is usually worn for business luncheons and important meetings or conferences. So if you’re about to have lunch with the CEO or the board members, make sure to look as professional as you can and suit up with a matching skirt and jacket. Skirts should be cut just at or above the knee. Note that you can’t show too much skin for this dress code, though!


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