Decoded: The Dos and Don of the # Every Dress Code

Decoded: The Dos and Don of the # Every Dress Code

There may be some modern trends that people never thought ever imagined – people actually wear sneakers with clothes at dinner ?! – But there are some holdovers from the Golden Age who are still kicking. First and foremost: the classical labeling system is invited to events with certain dress codes. For us, this ancient system of dress codes can be confusing – in fact, we used to wear our sneakers for dinner.

To help you navigate the landmine black tie, creative black tie, formal business, and beyond, we've deconstructed the 10 most frequently used dress codes for you. You will no longer wonder what to wear to any event.

Scroll down for a detailed list of decoded dress codes, as well as pieces to shop for each.

A black tie event is the emblem of the formal. Cocktail-length dresses are only allowed if they are overly dressed and smooth. What to Wear: Prefer a formal floor length gown. Also allowed: a dressed cocktail dress or your best LBD paired with fancier jewelry, which will enhance the overall look.

A black tie optional event is still dressed but not that tight. In other words, you can wear a formal night gown, but no one will look at you twice if you choose to wear a cocktail dress. What to Wear: A formal floor-length gown, fancier cocktail dress, a style pants, or LBD.


As the name implies, it is a dressed event meant still be the main social and enjoyable. What to Wear: A cocktail dress (obviously), LBD, or a suit of shorts in a more formal fabrication, along with a smooth pair of heels. Flats are not recommended but may work in some situations.

Available in XS sizes up to L.

This is a professional that look not too dressed. Think of something you can wear during the day (on the conservative side) but you will be comfortable wearing at night. What to Wear: An open-collar shirt or sweater with a pencil skirt or pants. You can also wear a dress, as long as it & # 39; s not exciting.

Think about what you will wear if you give a very important presentation. That matters how you should dress for a formal business event. What to Wear: A customized, polished dress with a blazer or a pair of pants. Whatever you wear, style it with appropriate heels. This is not the time for flat or super-high club shoes.

Your average brunch look will work. What to Wear: A skirt (either long or short) and a plain tee, nice jeans with a blouse, or a cotton sundress. Flats are good.


Imagine the black tie with some breathing room. Still formal and dressed but with a smidge of playfulness thrown away. What to Wear: A dressy cocktail dress, floor-long evening gown, or LBD, along with fun and unique accessories.

Think of Olivia Palermo on almost any given day. A sight that is casual but not lazy or sloppy. What to Wear: A dress blouse with jeans and heels, a skirt and top set, a crisp pants, or a dress. Flats are acceptable as long as they are not too casual (ie, no sneaker).

As the name implies, a semi-formal event is just that: semiformal. It was certainly still dressed, but not much of a black tie-optional event. What to Wear: A cocktail dress, LBD, floor-length skirt and blouse in appropriate fabrics (such as silk), or well-dressed. You can also wear a long dress if you like.

This is the most extravagant of all dress codes – that's probably why the Met Gala used it in 2014. Think of the full ball gown, elbow length gloves, and all your best jewelry. What to Wear: A floor length gown (mandatory), gloves (optional), and your best jewelry. Your dress should include fancy luxes such as lace, silk, and chiffon.

Next, 25 found that our editor is obsessed with this .

This post was published at an earlier date and updated.

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