Attire Guide: Dress Codes from Casual to White Tie

Etiquette Articles

More etiquette articles

The world of Emily Post etiquette advice is at your fingertips. Please, search or browse our comprehensive online etiquette articles.

Trending Topics

Dining Etiquette

Business Etiquette

Wedding Etiquette

Children's Etiquette

Traditional Etiquette

Invitations & Correspondence

Image & Attire

Everyday Etiquette

Digital Manners

Hosts & Guests

Hard Times

Explore more etiquette articles

Training & Services

Find a course

Emily Post training and consultation services are available for groups, businesses and individuals. Choose from trainer trainings, seminars, live-online workshops, and self-paced online courses, to best meet your etiquette training needs. Every live session is customized for the client and built from our extensive menu of training topics.

Training Options

Trainer Training

Training Topics

Content Partnership

Browse all trainings & services

Shop

Shop all products

Find the right Emily Post book or greeting card for you. We have the perfect wedding, graduation or housewarming gift for someone special in your life.

Best Sellers

Emily Post's Etiquette, 19th Edition

Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition

Table Manners for Kids

Emily’s Magic Words

The Unwritten Rules of Golf

Higher Etiquette

Our Favorites

The Emily Post Garden Collection, Garden Cards, Set of 8

Pineapple, Thank You

Zinnia Garden, Happy Birthday

Zinnia Garden

Zinnia Garden Gift Tags, set of 10

Late Summer Bouquet, Feel Better

Shop all products

Awesome Etiquette Podcast

The Awesome Etiquette podcast is a weekly Q&A show where hosts, (cousins, and co-presidents of the Emily Post Institute,) Lizzie Post and Dan Post Senning answer audience questions, tackle etiquette topics in detail and salute good etiquette witnessed by the Awesome Etiquette audience.

Listen on your favorite platform!

AppleSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcherTune InPandora

Awesome Etiquette Podcast

Episodes

About

The Emily Post Institute Inc. is a fifth generation family business that has been promoting etiquette based on consideration, respect and honesty since Emily Post wrote her first book ETIQUETTE in 1922. Today we offer a wide range of books, online resources, training programs for all ages and topics, a weekly podcast and a selection of greeting cards and paper products.

The Emily Post Institute

Emily Post

Learn more about us

Search

Black tie, white tie; formal, semi-formal. Festive! Casual! Hitting the right note with attire can be confusing. Here are the details of how to dress appropriately for any occasion:

Casual

Casual dress code refers to clothing that is informal and comfortable, yet clean and professional. It’s best to go with nicer casual wear and avoid the baggier items you wear around the house.

Women

Men

Dressy Casual

A dressy casual dress code is a versatile balance between formal and casual. This is the ideal choice for networking (or socializing) after work, fundraisers, or dinner at a nice restaurant.

Women

Men

Semi-formal

A semi-formal dress code is best described as being more formal than what you would wear to an office, but slightly less formal than what you would wear to a formal event. Do keep in mind that if the event is later than 6 in the evening, you’ll want to err on the side of formality.

Attire Guide: Dress Codes from Casual to White Tie

Women

Men

Business Formal*

A business formal dress code is characterized by a suit jacket with matching pants or a skirt. The darker the suit, the more formal. There are seasonal variations as well as matching accessories to personalize your look, but they should not be a distraction in any way.

Women

Men

Business Casual*

Casual business attire is pretty ambiguous, but generally means slacks, khakis, or a skirt with a dress shirt, blouse or polo. Dresses and seasonal sport coats fall into this dress code as well.

Women

Men

*Always check and abide by your company’s dress code. Read more about business casual dress codes.

Black Tie

Black tie attire is slightly less formal than white tie, but it is more formal than business attire. It is the most common formal dress code for events such as weddings, proms, formal dinners, and theatre.

Women

Men

Learn more about Black Tie Attire.

Creative Black Tie

A creative black tie is best described as attire with a black-tie foundation with room for some creativity and flair. It maintains black tie formality but allows for the use of textures, colors, and accessories to personalize your look.

Women

Men

Black Tie Optional

A black-tie optional dress code gives guests a couple of formal options to choose from. Men are requested to wear a tuxedo, but can opt for a dark suit. Women can choose either a formal evening gown, a shorter cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

Women

Men

Festive Attire (usually for the holidays)

A festive dress code is often the choice for holiday or New Year’s parties. It’s essentially cocktail party attire with a seasonal and festive holiday touch.

Women

Men

White Tie

Also known as “full evening dress”, white tie attire is considered the most formal of all dress codes. The white tie dress code indicates that guests are high-caliber, royal, or have high social standing.

Women

Men

Learn more about white tie attire.

Be sure to also check out our articles on wedding attire and golf attire.

Categories


Recommended Articles

The Etiquette Advantage in Business, 3rd Edition Personal Skills for Professional Success

Related Articles

How to Help a Friend Who Has Body Odor

Five Tips for Looking Crisp and Keeping Cool in the Workplace

Hats Off! Hat Etiquette for Everyone

Color and Your Professional Brand: Women

The Emily Post Institute Inc. is a fifth generation family business that has been promoting etiquette based on consideration, respect and honesty since Emily Post wrote her first book ETIQUETTE in 1922. Today we offer a wide range of books, online resources, training programs for all ages and topics, a weekly podcast and a selection of greeting cards and paper products.

About Us

Services

Misc

Contact

info@emilypost.com


The Emily Post Institute
25 Crossroad, Suite 2
Waterbury, Vermont
05676

Please stay in touch, sign up for our newsletter.

Sign up!