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dress codes for all occasions

all occasions

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black tie means formal. Women wear long evening or cocktail dresses or dressy evening separates. Men wear traditional tuxedoes with formal white shirt, black bow tie, and black cummerbund. Men may also choose to add their own flair to their tux by wearing a traditional style tie (silver or gold) or colored bow ties and cummerbunds.

black tie optional or black tie invited means you have the option of wearing a tuxedo, but it gives you an indication as to the formality of the event. A dark suit, white dress shirt, and a conservative tie would be the other option for men and women should choose a short or long cocktail dresses or dressy evening separates.

casual means anything goes, but please be tasteful, no holes, tears or paint spots.

cocktail attire simply means short, elegant dresses or dressy pantsuits for her and dark suits for him.

white attiresimply means wear all white; such as white dress or pantsuit for her or white shirt and slacks for him, however remember depending on the time of event will determine how dressy the occasion.

creative black tie allows for personality influences in your formal wear. Men can go with a more modern tuxedo - maybe a black shirt, no tie. Women can wear long or short dresses or separates (maybe a long lace or sequined skirt with a sleek blouse).

dressy casual usually means no jeans or shorts. A cocktail-length dress for the ladies and your standard khakis with a button-down shirt and tie for the guys... no jacket required. This attire is similar to business casual, but a bit dressier.

formal usually means the same as Black Tie. If your host is especially trendy, men may wear a black shirt, no tie with a tuxedo. Tradition, however, requires that men wear the standard tuxedo and women wear long cocktail dresses or dressy evening separates.

informal can mean the same as casual, however, when the event is associated with a wedding or another special occasion, some form of decorum and respect should prevail. A dress for her or a nice pair of slacks and a shirt for him are informal, but respectful of the event.

formal or informal are two terms usually found with weddings. The time of day determines the dress.
. . . IF the event or wedding is held before 6 pm, women may wear a tailored suit or pretty daytime dress (avoid black before 6 pm). If it’s a religious wedding, bring a wrap to cover bare shoulders. Men may wear a traditional business suit, shirt and tie (dark colored for winter, lighter colors for summer) or a blazer, dress slacks, and tie. One never wears formal attire before 6pm, except for the members of the wedding party.
. . . FOR an event after 6pm, men wear dark suits or dinner jackets, women should wear a cocktail dress, dressy evening separates, or dinner suit. Black is fine to wear after 6 pm.
. . . FOR an event labeled “Informal”, even if it’s after 6pm, you may dress as though it’s a before 6pm event.
. . . IF the invitation requests Black of White tie, men and women should follow the guidelines listed for those terms.

nightclub chic suggests nothing other than black and sleek.

semi-formal is the trickiest of all dress codes. Typically it means that tuxedos are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening event (after 6:00 pm) would still require a dark suit for men and a cocktail dress for women. Daytime semi formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for her.

sophisticated resortwear means upscale sundress for her and subtly colored linen trousers for him.

theme or festive attire means please find appropriate attire to go with the event theme. Theme attire is becoming more prevalent these days and dress codes have expanded to fit the occasion. To encourage your guests to dress in costume, include a specific request on the invitation, such as: “Renaissance garb requested by not required.” Be sure to let quests know that they may still attend even if they do not dress for the theme, otherwise you may alienate those guest who don’t feel comfortable in costume.

ultra-formal means White tie. Women wear long gowns, men wear full dress, with white tie, vest and shirt.

white tie means ultra-formal. Women wear only long gowns, formal evening gowns. Long gloves are often worn, as well. A woman may keep her gloves on during cocktails, when dancing, and when going through the receiving line; gloves should be removed during dinner. men wear a black coat with tails and white pique vest. This is worn over a white formal shirt with white pique bow tie and black patent leather shoes.

outdoor events... It is extremely helpful and considerate to mention to your guests that your event will be held outdoors. To do so appropriately simply add it into the wording of your invitation. For example, prior to giving the location name and address include a line that states “in the garden”, “under the stars”, or “on the terrace”; whichever wording is appropriate.

a note about etiquette... Appropriate attire has been traditionally indicated by the time of day and location of the event and does not properly appear on wedding or formal invitations. With many quests being potentially unaware of this point of etiquette, you may feel it necessary to indicate appropriate dress on your invitation or reception cards. When using Black tie, the ‘B’ is uppercase and the ‘t’ is lowercase. Black tie generally appears in the lower right-hand corner of the reception card. When no reception card is used, “Black tie” appears in the lower right-hand corner of the invitation. If you do not like corner lines on invitations, you may include a reception card to indicate the type of dress.

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