With parties, events, weddings, and galas finally being rescheduled for the near future, you need to have the perfect attire for any event that you’ll be invited to! Your closet may be full of options, but what’s appropriate for this particular event? Below is a list of different types of events and what to wear to each. Check through what you already have in your closet or take a shopping trip to purchase the perfect outfit for your event.
Social Attire Defined Guide
1. Black Tie
When it comes to black tie events, the dress code is very specific. Whether this is for a wedding or a gala, the attire consists of floor-length gowns and tuxedos. If you don’t have a floor-length gown, your local bridal shops or wedding boutiques are the perfect places to either buy or possibly rent a gown. If you do not own a tuxedo, check out local tuxedo rental stores.
Casual the most general category of attire, and what it means will depend on the event you’re attending. The bare minimum of class for casual attire usually includes jeans and a nice top that isn’t torn or dirty, and be sure to avoid sweatpants or hoodies.
If you are headed to a wedding where the dress code is casual, then go with a business casual outfit. This consists of casual sundresses, jumpsuits, rompers, skirts, or pants paired with a classy blouse, or dress pants paired with a button-down shirt or polo. You can find most of these options at your local mall or department store.
3. Cocktail Party/Formal Attire
Cocktail party attire is somewhere in between black tie and casual. Formal attire and black tie optional can also fall into this category. Tuxedos and floor-length gowns are optional but not mandatory, and floor-length dresses are often popular for formal events that take place in colder seasons.
The best options for cocktail party attire are a suit and tie, a short formal dress (known as a cocktail dress), a nice work suit, or a classy jumpsuit. You can find these attire options at local bridal shops or wedding boutiques, local tuxedo rental stores, or at local malls or department stores.
4. Creative Black Tie
A creative black tie event is considered a modern, contemporary, and chic black tie event. In other words, there is more room for interpretation. Two-piece sets, like a nice blouse and pants, cocktail dresses, floor-length gowns, or very classy and beautiful separates are great options for a creative black tie event. For the tuxedo or suit look, colored or trendy-fabric bow ties, jackets, shirts, pants, or socks are the perfect attire options for this event.
Show your personality by choosing fun colors and styles that are flattering and appropriate for you, and accessorize with sheer fabrics, sequins, silk blazers, or anything that is fun and hip. Check your local bridal shops or wedding boutiques and local tuxedo rental stores to find your best options for this attire.
5. Festive Attire
Around the special holidays and events, parties are always happening. The dress code may range from formal (cocktail party attire) to casual. Family events may lean towards the casual side, and you could wear outfits like dress pants with a nice sweater or festive top.
Formal holiday parties that consist of lots of people attending, that are hosted at a nice venue, and that have important people attending may require you to wear outfits that are similar to cocktail party attire. Your local mall or department stores will provide you the best options.
6. First Date
Choose an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing—confidence is key for this one. Make sure you know where the date is, and then dress according to the dress code of the place. If you look good, you feel good! Check out the local mall or department stores to find the perfect look.
7. Religious Ceremonies
Attire for religious ceremonies usually consists of very classy outfits that are not low-cut, tight, or revealing. Dress pants with a blouse or classy shirt, mid-to full-leg length dresses, suits, dress pants with a polo, or a long formal skirt with a nice shirt are your go-to options when it comes to attending religious ceremonies or events. Your local mall or department stores will have plenty of options.
Semi-formal can be considered a step below formal attire or slightly less-formal cocktail attire. Long dresses are not required. Go for shorter (at or above the knee) choices. Dress pants, blouses, and skirts are also acceptable. Local mall or department stores are great places to look for outfits for this type of event.
9. White Tie
There are no exceptions to this event. It’s floor-length evening gowns or bust. These occasions are as formal as you can get. You do not want to look dressed-down in any way. A full-length ball gown, beautiful jewelry, long gloves, elegant makeup, and fabulous hair updos are a must. A lengthy black jacket with tails, a white vest, a bow tie, formal black shoes, and white gloves are the other specific attire.
If you’re going to one of these types of occasions, it’ll be a high society affair. Shopping at your local bridal shops or wedding boutiques are the perfect places to get a fancy ball gown for this event. Don’t forget to also check out your local tuxedo rental stores for all of your tuxedo and tuxedo-accessory needs.
We want to make sure you’re dressed your best and feel your best for whatever event you are attending. For more tips from anything about event planning to how to look your best, check out other blogs by Easy Event Planning!
Written by Kimberly Vona, Brittney Casad, Natalie Davidson
Edited by Amy Chiang, July 2020