Getting invited to a formal business or corporate event is really exciting and glamorous, but it can be overwhelming to know exactly what each dress code means and how you can adapt it to make it your own.
A lot of the dress codes are only very slightly different from one another, so we are here to clarify everything and give a few examples of what you should be looking for.
Whether you’re off to a fancy corporate celebration, awards ceremony, or a summer ball, we’ve got you covered with every dress code from cocktail to white tie!
Cocktail Dress Code
A cocktail dress code is our first dress code which is still formal but with hints of casual, fun, and elegant. This is more of a ‘party’ formal dress code, which typically refers to a mini or midi dress and heels, although jumpsuits are also a good option! Fitted dresses are common, although a more fitted top and looser skirt is also often seen. As this is a fun dress code, don’t be afraid to go for something bold in terms of colour or embellishments, then mix things up with your hair and makeup.
A great go-to look is a satin mini dress with heels and a sleek updo. Finish the fun look with glam jewellery and glowy makeup for a look that will get heads turning every time! A fun and flirty mini dress and delicate curls are also a great option.
Semi-Formal Dress Code
The next dress code is semi-formal, which is slightly more formal than a cocktail but not as formal as a black tie. This is a good opportunity to pull out your luxury clothing, and you wouldn’t usually see mini dresses at a semi-formal event, so stick to knee length or just above the knee. Sophistication is the key here, with a slight hint of something extra, like a feathery hem or sparkly belt.
You definitely don’t need to wear a ball gown or floor length dress to a semi-formal event, just something classy and dressy. A classic black midi dress is perfect if you are stuck for something to wear, with a slight leg split. Then, add some colour to your shoes and bag! Very subtle patterns would also work well for semi-formal events or add something different with a texture like a ruffle on a wrap dress.
Black Tie Dress Code
Many people think that black tie is the most formal dress code that there is, but in reality, there are two more above black ties! However, the most important thing about a black-tie dress code is that the dress is floor length and that you choose a fabric that is appropriate to the dress code, which is normally chiffon, silk or lace. Avoid wearing anything short, very bright, or bold patterns. Keep things simple with a beautiful dress that is high quality and allows your beauty to shine and has a beautiful silhouette.
Grab attention with a stunning hair and makeup look, focusing on something sleek and subtle. You could go bold with a bright lip to bring the look to life. A black tie is the opportunity to wear your finest understated jewellery, with diamonds being a firm favourite. More and more weddings are now a black tie, so the most important thing to remember is to choose a floor length dress and neutral colours are encouraged! If you are struggling to choose a look, go for a simple strapless floor length dress in black, with sophisticated diamonds and an understated makeup look.
Creative Black Tie Dress Code
Next up we have a creative black tie, which is on a similar level of formality to black tie, but it gives you the opportunity to bring some fun to the look! So, you’ll probably want to go for a floor-length dress, but you have the opportunity to be bolder with colours, patterns, texture, jewellery and your hair and makeup look. You can also go a bit more extravagant with the silhouette.
For example, you might have a strapless floor-length dress, with a black tie, but you might have a larger skirt in a brighter colour with bolder jewellery. If you have a creative dress sense, this is the perfect opportunity to show it off!
White Tie Dress Code
Last but not least we have the white tie dress code, which is the most formal of all dress codes. For this dress code, you will go for a full ball gown or extravagant evening gown, with large skirts or trains and even long gloves for some events! Sophisticated glamour should embody this look, with a simple hair and makeup look that lets your dress and jewellery really shine.
White or cream is beautiful for this kind of event, with classic colours and silhouettes working best. As an example, a white tie is the chosen dress code for the most formal Royal events, so this really is your chance to dress like royalty.
Go all out for this look and we know you’ll steal the show wherever you are headed!
- Blogger and Educator by Passion | Senior Online Media & PR Strategist at ClickDo Ltd. | Contributor to many Education, Business & Lifestyle Blogs in the United Kingdom & Germany | Summer Course Student at the London School of Journalism and Course Instructor at the SeekaHost University.