What Do Dress Codes for Events Mean: Semi-Casual and Casual Attire

We’ve sorted the Formal dress codes, so now it’s time to tackle the hardest dress codes of them all: Semi-Casual and Casual. Also, what’s the difference between Business Formal and Business Casual? We break it down, below!

As indicated in the dress code, it’s somewhere between formal and casual. Can also be referred to as After Five, and is closely related to the Informal dress code. Simple rule to follow: The later the event, the darker and dressier you have to be.

Photo via: Loverly

Photo via: Loverly

Men: The safest choice is a suit and tie. Pay attention to the time of day and the current season, before deciding on either a dark or light suit. Add dressy leather shoes to complete the look.

Women: Go with a knee-length black dress, or a dressy skirt and top. Don’t be afraid to go with slacks and dressy blouse! Keep things appropriate with a higher neckline, or black stockings for a complete look.

Business Formal
This means you will need a work appropriate suit. Business Formal is the same as Semi-Formal attire for him. The idea is to look sharp, and not fussy. Always remember about appropriate shoes!

For the ladies, keep it clean with business suits and work appropriate dresses. Dress like you’re about to close a huge deal, so leave the celebratory outfit for after work hours.

Dressy Casual 
Just think of this dress code as a dressed-up version of a casual look. Usually for formal festive dinner or a a dinner birthday party. Remember, jeans and shorts are definitely not appropriate! The same goes for sneakers.

Photo: Esquire

Photo: Esquire

Men: Switch your jeans with a pair of trousers, and a sportcoat. The idea is to look comfortable, and still look put together.

Photo via: Style Capsulate

Photo via: Style Capsulate

Women: The safe choice is a dressy pants look. Switch it up and still look appropriate with brighter colors for the casual feel, but with a structured shirt or blouse. Your choice of accessories will pull the outfit together, so go with bangles or a great pair of earrings.  No sports shoes, please! Good heels or ballerina flats will do the trick. The idea is to look polished, not like you threw your clothes on in the dark!

Business Casual
The idea is to look casual and less fussy than Monday morning meetings, but still remain work-appropriate.

Men: You can opt to go with trousers, or khakis. Pair with a collared shirt, and go with a plaid shirt if you’d like! Just remember to look for plaid shirts with large check marks, or two or more colors. Wear loafers, or loafer-style shoes to complete the look.

Women: You can go with dress pants, a dress of appropriate length or a skirt with a blouse. Alternatively, style it up with cropped trousers, and a jacket in a flattering palette. Simple, but sleek!

Smart Casual
A hotly debated category, there isn’t a specific definition for Smart Casual. Our simple rule to follow? Wear whatever you will be comfortable to meet your potential clients and investors in. We believe you can still look presentable, and allow flexibility for your personal taste as well.

Photo via: Pause Mag

Photo via: Pause Mag

Men: Wearing dark colored jeans is possible, provided if you combine it with a slightly more polished shirt. Mix it up with tailored sweaters, or even vests over a shirt. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors, and see what works with your skin tone. Garish colors isn’t anybody’s friend. Also, make sure your jeans aren’t ripped at the knees!

Photo: ASOS

Photo: ASOS

Women: The rule about jeans applies for women, too. Pair your jeans with a brightly colored shirt or top, and use a leather belt to pull the look together. We also recommending your jeans with a trendy structured jacket or blazer. You will still look put together, but with an edge! Scarves can also color your outfit.

This category usually means anything goes, which might include your high tops and jeans. The invite should be a huge indication of the dress code preferred by your host or hostess. If you’re still unsure, remember it’s okay to ask the host or hostess of what they’d expect you to wear. No one will be offended if you asked!

At the end of the day, it won’t hurt to overdress than to show up underdressed. It’s all about putting all the elements together, and coming up with an outfit you won’t feel you will need to change if you bumped into someone substantial on the street. No one needs to see your torn shirts, leave them for home!

What are some of your tips for these dress code categories? Sound off, below!

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