Dress Codes: Outfits For Every Occasion

Andrew Parker
Aug 09, 2021

Anyone who has been invited to a wedding or formal party has encountered the term “dress code”. If you have ever received an invitation with specific dress code requirements, you probably did what anyone would do in that situation – looked it up online. If you have never had to look up dress codes before, you’re in luck. This is the definitive guide to all main dress codes so you never have to guess what to wear to an event again.

Lady Gaga at  the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards

Getty Images / AFP / VALERIE MACON

There are seven main dress codes: casual, business casual, smart casual, business or informal, cocktail or semi-formal, formal or black-tie optional, and black tie. When it comes to casual outfits, there are no rules –¬†even jeans are acceptable. If your invitation calls for business casual, pick an outfit you would wear at the office – for example, dress pants and a blouse. Smart casual, also called dressy casual, is a combination of casual, business casual, and business dress codes – so you want to look sharp and stylish at the same time. But if your event’s dress code is business or informal, it might call for a business suit or business-style dress and heels.

A semi-formal or cocktail attire is somewhere between business and black-tie, which means a little black dress is always a safe bet for these events. Black-tie occasions are the perfect opportunity to wear a floor-length gown.