What Do Dress Codes for Events Mean: Semi-Formal Attire for Men

Photo: Aingeru Zorita via GiltMANual

Photo: Aingeru Zorita via GiltMANual

Scored an event invite, but the invitation includes a dress code that specifies semi-formal attire? If you have no clue about how to dress appropriately, let us help you!

A few months ago, we briefly touched on the differences between semi-formal business formal and casual dressy attire. We’ve also devoted an entire post on semi-formal attire for women. It’s your turn, gents!

Semi-Formal Attire 

Make no mistake, gents. Semi-formal is still a type of formal dress code! You will need to wear a button-down shirt, but since it’s semi-formal, you can experiment with your shirt. Instead of the classic white, go with subtle stripes or textures. Just make sure everything matches your suit, it should not look clumsy! We’ve got a few examples below to inspire you:

Day Semi-Formal Attire 

For a day event, don’t sweat about looking too formal.

Wear: A light-colored blazer and pair with dark, crisp pants. You can also experiment with darker colors, such as a slightly darker blue, and a colored patterned shirt. Top it off with a slim tie, and the right shoes (and socks!). Contrary to stuffy definitions, a peek of your colorful socks could bring more pizzazz to your outfit!

Quick Tip: Day weddings will not require you to be too dressed up, so don’t stress about a tie if you’re not up for it. We do recommend keeping one in your pocket, just in case!

We love fashion blogger and creative director, Galla’s look! If you’re up to experiment with colored suits, then this is how you rock a lavender suit.

Wear: Not confident about rocking a colored suit like Galla? Go easy on your choice of color. What’s important is the tailored fit, which will elevate your overall look. Keep it simple, with a crisp white shirt, for a balanced and classic feel.

Quick Tip: You can definitely play with textures and unique prints with your shirt, to add personality!

Wear The Right Accessories 

Photo: Guerreisms via Solosso

Photo: Guerreisms via Solosso

What sets semi-formal apart from formal attire are the accents of your suit, so don’t be afraid to switch it up!

Wear: Keep your suit simple, make a statement with a tie instead! Have some fun, experiment with stripes, patterns and textures. Just remember, it’s still semi-formal, leave your Spongebob tie at home.

Quick Tip: Add a dash of color with your tie! We love the look above, where the understated gray suit is paired with a simple white shirt. The pop of neon green really does make his suit stand out!

Photo: Guerreisms

Photo: Guerreisms

Wear: You can also add flair to your outfit with pocket squares! Use a pocket handkerchief or a silk scarf, as a finishing touch to complete your look.

Quick Tip: Make like the gentleman pictured above, and learn the art of contrasting! He’s using a striped shirt, to go with his checked suit which he evens out with a dark, solid tie. He adds a splash of color and pattern, with an orange handkerchief. Anyone can do this to achieve stunning results!

Evening Semi-Formal Attire

Photo: trashness

Photo: trashness

If you’re heading out for an evening wedding or event, just remember the mantra: The later the event, the darker your suit!Wear: Many will suggest a tuxedo jacket and black trousers, with cufflinks. However, it’s important to really look into the type of event you’re attending. If it’s a wedding in the city, but it isn’t a black tie affair, a dark suit with a lighter shade for a shirt will do.  Pair with proper laced up dress shoes, and you’re set!

Quick Tip: Just in case you didn’t get the memo, we’re serious about your suit’s tailored fit. You can be dressed in expensive material, but if it doesn’t fit you, it’s a total waste. Get the lowdown on the type of fabric to use, your cuff length, lapel style and the right fit for pants with Gilt’s MANual Tailoring Guide!
Believe us, when it comes to the trickiness of semi-formal attire, it’s the details that will make a difference. Good luck!

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