If an event goes to the effort to state the attire then you should go to the effort to dress appropriately. They obviously have a standard that they would like to see for the function, regardless if it is your friend’s engagement party at the local pub or your favourite charity’s gala ball at Parliament House.
So here is your guide:
Black Tie or Formal:
Men – Tuxedo or if that is a little too much for your tastes then a nice stylish plain black/dark suit with a nice crisp white shirt and dark tie would also be suitable.
Women – A formal dress or ball gown, usually to the floor or anything elegant with a hem never venturing far above from your knee (think of the Duchess of Cambridge’s style).
Semi Formal/Lounge Attire/Cocktail Dress:
Men – Still a suit and a tie (sorry boys, it is same old for you, except no penguin suits). This attire has a pretty big range so if it’s on the “semi” side of formal you can take your tie off once you arrive.
Women – Got your LBD (Little Black Dress) then this is your time to bring her out. Again we get to emulate Catherine Middleton’s style in the cocktail dress area. Any excuse to buy a cute new frock.
Informal/Smart Casual/Business Casual: Think ‘Casual Fridays’ at work.
Men: Generally you can throw away the tie today, but I say generally as it’s always good to have one handy just in case everyone else is a little more dressed up than you thought. It is always best to be prepared. Suit pants or nice slacks (does anyone apart from my Mother still use the word slacks?) and a collared shirt. If it is the colder months you can opt for the suit or sports jacket. No jeans, no sneakers.
Women: The trick here is to know the environment and understand what is appropriate. You don’t want to be “that girl” with the too short of skirt. Generally it best to stick with a dress or skirt with a hem never too far up the upper leg. We can opt for a skirt or pants with a nice top to stay neutral.
This is a tough area for women as our wardrobes are just so darn eclectic so this is why it’s best to understand the environment you will be attending and if in doubt, ask (the host).
Business or Corporate Attire:
For both – a suit.
Men wear your tie and women a business dress with matching jacket is also fine here.
This attire is what you would wear to your really important corporate job interview, meeting, media appearance for professional segments, big presentation. Be stylish, professional, groomed, neat, (polished shoes men! Actually, and ladies!) and be ready for business.
And the one we have all been waiting for….. Casual:
Jeans and tees generally but again it’s good to know what you are walking in to and dress appropriately. Although it does say casual it shouldn’t mean that you can go to this event straight from gardening, it is still an event with an invite so nice jeans and a nice shirt (or dress or skirt, etc….). Sneakers should be fine but be mindful of where you will be standing, for example, if it is on someone’s boat then white soles sneakers only so you don’t mark their deck. Again, ask if unsure.
Well now you are ready to get gussied up for your black tie event or if you are like me happy to be allowed to wear your jeans to the casual event but remember, no matter where you are, or whatever you are wearing, etiquette is still relevant. Shorts and thongs or a tie and polished shoes has no reflection on your common courtesy and appropriate behaviours you should be portraying like we always talk about.
Enjoy your events and your shiny shoes (or sneakers).