With every event comes the obligatory question: what is the dress code? Finding an outfit is one thing, but finding one that fits the dress code is very much another. Going in too formal can make you seem overly uptight, while coming in too casual can make you look apathetic or too nonchalant. Furthermore, it seems like every now and then an event throws an entirely new code on you, leaving you scattered. Frantically, you search Google and dig through your wardrobe to put together an outfit that’s “smart casual”. But fret not (and save yourself some time) because we’ve posted an infographic that lays it all out for you in a supremely accessible manner. Check it out and then we’ll pick things back up at the bottom.
What a chart like the one above really helps with are the minor dress code distinctions. After all, no one is expecting you to pop into a black tie event wearing a t-shirt and jeans, and likewise no one is thinking you’ll roll up to the next backyard barbecue in a tux. It’s really the middle area where those minor dress code distinctions add up.
Take, for example, the dress code categories of “business formal” and “semi-formal”. One is basically a step up from casual business wear, meaning more flexibility, while the other is a slight notch below black tie, meaning more rigidity. There are also things to consider like colour, length of tie and type of jacket. In other words, at first glance the two dress code categories might feel similar, but if you show up at a formal event wearing informal business attire, you will stand out and not in a good way.
One thing we’d like to add: no matter how stuffy or how lenient the dress code, in our opinion there’s always room for the personal touch of style. Yes, that means even when the dress code is casual you can show up wearing apparel that represents your individual aesthetic. Likewise, the dress code can call for the strictest black tie outfit you can muster, but there are still room for tiny variables like what type of handkerchief you put in the breast pocket or the brand and material your tux is made of. All we’re really saying is that at the end of the day there’s the dress code and your personal fashion code and what you end up wearing can always represent both simultaneously. How you achieve that feat is up to you. Start by using the above chart to make sure you got the dress code down in the first place.