How To Get Basic Dress Codes Right

Don’t stand out at an event for the wrong reasons

Dressing up for an event may seem like an easy task yet, strangely, many people just can’t get it right. Don’t know how formal to go for black tie? Or can’t step out of the house without changing your outfit at least five times? Follow our guide to these standard yet commonly misinterpreted dress codes and you’ll be just fine.

Black Tie

This means a tuxedo for men, but it’s not quite as clear-cut for women. As far as possible, try to go long for dresses, although midi lengths or separates in dressy styles are perfectly acceptable. Take a cue from the kind of event you’re attending — go for a gown if it’s a gala dinner or wedding, and if it’s some sort of business event , a simple black dress in a sleek cut might be more appropriate.



It’s an occasion for LBDs and short dresses. This dress code calls for a little glamour without having to go full-formal. Feel free to be a little experimental with your outfit, but remember that you need to look dressy no matter how creative it is. It’s also a good chance to show off a fun accessory — like a cute clutch or statement heels.


Business Formal

The rules are stricter here — you have the choice of a tailored dress or pant suit for such an occasion. Think corporate and professional — your outfit should look like a dressier version of what you would wear to work.


Casual Chic/Smart Casual

The most common dress code you’ll find stipulated on invites and also the most difficult of them all to define and get right. Everyone knows how to do casual but many ladies forget about the “chic” or “smart” part — for example, jeans with heels or a nice pair of flats are good, but jeans with slippers are never acceptable.

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