Dress code 101

A cheat sheet to help you navigate the various dress codes

WRITTEN BY: Janelle Vreeland
Dress code 101

Confused and intimidated by the many dress codes employed by restaurants, formal events and businesses? Don’t worry, our dress code 101 cheat sheet will give you the basis of each code and help you dress appropriately, no matter the dress code or the setting.

Casual elegant dress code

A step above business casual, casual elegant trades in khakis and polos for dress shirts and slacks. Generally, men will do well to wear a dark suit or perhaps a sportcoat. The look can be made even more elegant by the addition of a tie and cufflinks. For women, it generally consists of a formal black pant suit or a gown or dark-colored cocktail dress. Women can also switch to more elegant, evening makeup and carry a clutch or wear a wrap to complete the look.

Formal dress code

Formal wear is often reserved for the fanciest of parties or events. A formal event can be a black tie or white tie affair and, as the names imply, both expect similar styles of dress. For men, suits are usually acceptable, but if the event is black tie or white tie only, then men are expected to arrive in tuxedos. Women are expected to wear formal cocktail dresses or long evening gowns.

Jacket required

This final code is probably best described as “elegant.” Men are expected to wear suits (with a matching jacket) and ladies are expected to wear elegant cocktail dresses, gowns or even evening separates or elegant pant suits.  

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