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Dress Codes

Whether throwing or attending a party the choice of appearance can dramatically affect the mood and tone of the event for you and the other guests. It can also impact attendance. Dressy events attract high energy guests and add excitement and anticipation. However, those who cannot afford higher end clothing or are too tired at the end of the day to take the time to dress may choose not to attend. A more casual dress choice may attract people who are looking forward to a relaxing event, but might dissuade others from attending because the party sounds boring. Hosts take time to think about their guests, and some even discuss with their guests what would be the best attire for the event. Dress should always be listed on the invitation. Invitees have two choices: attend in the requested dress or do not go. To ignore the dress code insults the host, makes the other guests feel uncomfortable, and puts you in the position of possibly being asked to leave, adjust clothing and/or not being invited to future functions. Red Carpet Entertainment has developed the following table to help hosts choose which dress is right for what occasion, and for guests to prepare to have a wonderful time.
Code Men   Women  
White Tie Black tailcoat, matching trousers with a stripe of satin or braid down the sides. White piqué wing-collared shirt with stiff front. White vest. White-colored (e.g. mother of pearl) studs and cuff links. White bow tie. White or gray gloves optional. White handkerchief or boutonnière optional. Black patent shoes and black dress socks. White Tie Male

Formal (floor length) evening gown. Formal heels, pumps, sandals or ballet slippers to suit the gown. Couture or vintage jewelry. Evening bag, if desired, should be clutch style. Elbow ("opera") length gloves, white or coordinated to gown are optional. Corsage if desired to compliment the dress.

White Tie Female
Black Tie Black tuxedo jacket and matching trousers. Formal piqué or pleated front white shirt. Black or metal studs and cuff links. Black bow tie. The black tie may be substituted by the "black button" clipped to the top button of the shirt. Black cummerbund or vest matching the tie. White handkerchief Dressy suspenders are optional. Black patent shoes and black dress socks. No gloves. A white dinner jacket may be substituted for the black tuxedo jacket if the event is happening in the summer or on a cruise. Black Tie Male

Formal (floor length) evening gown.

-or-

Dressy cocktail dress.

-or-

Your dressiest little black dress.

Formal heels, pumps or sandals to suit your dress. Opportunity to wear your best jewelry.

Black Tie Female
Creative Black Tie Tuxedo jacket (black or color) and matching tuxedo pants combined with trendy or whimsical items, such as a black or colored shirt, patterned bow tie and cummerbund or vest set and interesting/festive studs and cuff links. Formal shoes and dress socks coordinating to tuxedo. Look should still be classy and tasteful. CReative Black Tie Male

Formal (floor length) evening gown.

-or-

Dressy cocktail dress.

-or-

Your dressiest little black dress.

Fun and unique accessories, but should still be classy.

Creative Black Tie Female
Black Tie Optional

Black Tie (above)

-or-

Dark suit, white shirt and conservative tie.

Leather dress shoes and dark dress socks.

Black Tie Optional Male

Formal (floor length) evening gown.

-or-

Dressy cocktail dress.

-or-

Little black dress.

-or-

Dressy separates

Black Tie Optional Female
Semiformal Dark business suit. Matching vest (optional). Dress shirt. Conservative tie. Leather dress shoes and dark dress socks. Semiformal Male

Short afternoon or cocktail dress.

-or-

Little black dress.

-or-

Long dressy skirt and top.

-or-

Dressy separates

Semiformal Female
Cocktail At this type of event, men are expected to be the stylish but muted backdrop to ladies' foreground glamour. Dark suit. Dress shirt (ideally with cuff links.) and tie. Formal leather lace up shoes and dark socks. Cocktail Male Cocktail dress. Women should always outshine men in this category so women are free to select something with pop and flair. Formal pumps or sandals. Accessorize with jewelry, scarves, belts and wraps. Cocktail Female
Nightclub

Dress shirts of any color. Slacks with leather belt or suspenders. Dress jeans acceptable as long as they are clean, not baggy and not torn. Vests are recommended. Ties and bow ties optional. Polos, henleys and other fashionable shirts acceptable. T-shirts can be worn as long as they are clean, fit well and do not have any writing or logos on them. Blazers and sports jackets optional. Leather shoes.

Tank tops, jerseys, sweats, carharts, fatigues, baggy or ripped or dirty clothing, tennis shoes, work boots and ballcaps are not appropriate.

Nightclub Male

Make it fun! Colorful fabrics, sequins, beading, shiny metal and crystals. Help the lights to bounce through the room. Form fitting dresses are recommended. Skirts work well when pared with a flashy top or bodysuit. Tank tops, camis, spaghetti straps and tubes are fine. Sheer/fishnet blouses are acceptable as long as a cami, bikini top or other under-layer is worn. Skinny jeans are acceptable as long as they are clean, not baggy and not torn. Shorts are fine. Fashion stockings are good. Heels and pumps should be comfortable to dance in, and are better if they have some sparkle or bling to them, such as rhinestones or metal accents.

T-shirts, jerseys, sweats, pajamas, carharts, fatigues, baggy or ripped or dirty clothing, tennis shoes, flip flops and ballcaps are not appropriate. Open toe shoes are not recommended.

Nightclub Female
White Party

White suits. White blazers, sport jackets with white pants. Textured fabrics are fine as long as they are white. Metallic accents (studs, cuff links) are fine. White shoes.

Color of any kind (other than metal) is inappropriate.

White Party Men's Outfit

White dresses.

-or-

White pants or skirt and a white blouse. If blouse is sheer white then wear a white undergarment.

White, pearl and metallic jewelry and accents (i.e. metal chain belt). White heels, pumps.

Women's white party outfit
Festive Holiday Seasonal sport coat or blazer in color of choice. Coordinating slacks. Open collar shirt or dress shirt with optional holiday or festive themed tie. Loafers or other casual dress shoes and socks. Festive Holiday Men

Cocktail dress.

-or-

Little black dress.

-or-

Long dressy skirt and top.

-or-

Dressy pants outfit or separates.

Feature holiday colors and accessories.

Festive Holiday Women
Business Formal Same as semiformal (above) men's business formal

Suit

-or-

Business-style dress

-or-

Dress with a jacket.

Stockings (optional in summer). Heels, low or high.

Women's Formal Business Suit
Business Casual Seasonal sport coat or blazer with slacks or khakis. Dress shirt with optional tie or casual button-down shirt or open-collar or polo shirt. Loafers or other casual dress shoes and socks. Business Casual Men

Casual style dress.

-or-

Skirt, khakis or pants with blouse, open-collar shirt, knit shirt or sweater. Heels, low or high.

Business Casual for Women
Dressy Casual Seasonal sport coat or blazer with slacks. Dress shirt or casual button-down shirt with optional tie or a polo shirt. Leather shoes or loafers. DressyCasualMale

Dress

-or-

Skirt and dressy top

-or-

Dressy pants outfit

-or-

Nice jeans and dressy top.

Heels, low or high.

DressyCasualFemale
Casual Khakis or good jeans (clean, no holes). Cargo or bermuda shorts. Plain T-shirt (no slogans), polo shirt, henley, turtleneck or casual button-down shirt. Loafers, sneakers or sandals. Socks optional. Casual male

Sun dress

-or-

Long or short skirt

-or-

Khakis or nice jeans

-or-

Shorts

Plain t-shirt (no slogan), polo shirt or turtleneck or casual button-down blouse. All clean footwear is appropriate except flip-flops.

Casual female
Retro Create a fun look using pieces from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. You can shop thrift stores and vintage shops, or raid your parent's closet! You can even mix modern clothing with a retro piece or two. It is even cool to mix and match pieces from different decades. retro male Same as for men. retro woman
Costume Pick a costume from a costume shop or use your creativity to design an outfit to surprise other guests. If the party has a theme, choose outfits that fall within the theme. If you are going with a date or group, consider coordinating your look for even greater impact. If the party is for all ages, children will likely be present so racy costumes are not appropriate. Dracula Costume Same as for men. Woman's Halloween Costume
Cosplay Costume Choose or make a costume from your favorite comic book, cartoon, video game, anime, manga, movie or television series. If the event is a cosplay contest, be sure to review the rules for the event as some limit the categories and prohibit weapons. Cosplay Male Same as for men. Cosplay Female
Theme Choose an outfit that reflects the theme that the host has chosen. A great place to do research is Google Images. If you are going with a partner or group, coordinating the style is a great way to provoke Oohs and Aahs from the other guests. The examples to the right are for a Roaring Twenties theme party. 1920s men's fashion Same as for men. Flapper girl
Street Time to bring out the t-shirts and tank tops! Layered tops. Jeans should be faded, torn and/or baggy. Any fatigue works well. If your baggy boxers are showing, that is a good thing. Anything leather is good. Overalls. Hoodies. Puffy coats. Hats are also recommended. Old shoes, fashion kicks, worn out and faded Chuck Taylors. There is no such thing as too much jewelry. Street Style Men T-shirts and tank tops. Multi layered tops.Vintage and retro dresses. Faded/torn jeans. Stockings with runs in them. Sweatshirts and hoodies. Leather jackets, belts, pants, skirts and accessories. Jogging suits or workout wear. Fake fur. Any kind of hat. Old shoes, fashion kicks, worn out and faded sneakers, interesting heels, military or Doc Marten boots. Creative looks with vinatge and thrift store items. Big flashy jewelry. Street Style Women

Note: It most cases (other than weddings) it is better to over dress than under dress. You'll bring energy to the event and you can always say you are on your way to another party!

Sources: Emily Post Attire Guide; dresscodeguide.com; Glo; Pintrest; Announcingit; How To Dress For A Party; Yahoo Voices; Wikipedia; wikiHow
 
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