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Learning And Understanding Dress Codes

Oct 9, 2007
Invitations to parties, events and special occasions may regularly occur and it is appropriate that men understand invitation terminology to avoid being underdressed or overdressed.

If the invitation indicates Black Tie Preferred or Black Tie for a semi-formal event in the evening or Full Dress or White Tie for a formal event in the evening, the host of the party is telling you that the event is meant to be elegant and he or she will be expecting you to dress appropriately and accordingly fitted for the party's decor and ambience.

If the invitation indicated Black Tie Invited or Black Tie Optional, you ultimately decide what to wear but you can expect most men at the party to be in tuxedo. If it so happens you don't have a tuxedo, a black suit should be comfortable.

There is some confusion though when an invitation indicates casual as casual wear can come in varying degrees. Plus, the host may think that "informal" means "casual" when in fact these two are different.

The time of day plus the occasion should determine what a man wears.

Day formal can mean a tailcoat (in black or gray), trousers in matching color, double breasted vest in gray color, gray colored gloves, gray tie, white boutonniere, studs and pearl cufflinks when it comes to strictly formal receptions.

Day semi-formal which is usually the dress code for day weddings would be gray striped or black trousers, gray cutaway morning coat, double breasted vest (gray), long gray tie and gray gloves, studs and pearl cufflinks and white boutonniere.

For events like a charity ball or the opera, evening formal is the way to go. This calls for black tailcoat, white tie, black trousers, pique vest in white, white boutonniere, white gloves, silk scarf (white), gold or black cufflinks and studs.

Semi-formal attire in the evening for theatre opening night or a wedding calls for tuxedo which is white dinner jacket in the summer or black dinner jacket, black vest, black trousers, bow tie (black), silk scarf (white), gold or black studs and cufflinks.

For informal attire whether at day or night, this means business attire or cocktail and not at all casual. Required attire would be a business suit, lace-up shoes and a neck tie. For evening events, a dress shirt that is non-button down on the collar will do.

Create a lasting impression by dressing accordingly for what the occasion calls for.
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