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Semi-formal Dress Code

Semi-formal Dress Code for Men and Women You Always Wished to Know

Semi-formal dress code is a type of dress code expected at certain types of business events, private events, or even at the workplace. Take a look at the attire, for both men and women, which contributes to this style.
Puja Lalwani
Last Updated: May 7, 2018
Semi-formal dress code is known to be the style of clothes which are worn to events between two levels of formality, i.e. informal and formal. This dress code is usually followed for almost any evening events nowadays, but was restricted to particular occasions earlier. It is quite similar to the formal attire of dressing. Semi-formal events include weddings, theater performances, corporate events, and dinner parties. One may follow a semi-formal dress code for these events if specified on the invitation. There are many clothes that are involved in this style of dressing and it is very different for men and women. An elaborate description of such a dress code is mentioned here; take a look and make your choice of comfortable yet stylish clothes.
Dress Code for Men
The semi-formal attire for men is not as rigid now as it used to be; but it still revolves around certain basic essentials. Men are encouraged to be creative with their styles, but only if they are able to carry it off in a classy and elegant manner. If not, it is wiser to stick to the traditional semi-formal dress code.
When an invitation specifies a semi-formal dress code for men, it means you are traditionally expected to wear a suit with a matching trouser. You may eliminate the vest from it. If it is a morning affair, opt for a linen suit. If it is an evening affair, stick to light weight suit, not something very heavy. Classic pinstripes are the way to go. Choose from any of these colors:
  • Traditional Colors : Blue, Gray
  • Standard/Safe Colors : Black, Brown, Tan, Beige, Khaki, Teal
  • Bold Colors : Olive, Burgundy, Maroon, Red, White
You should be able to appear confident if you wish to wear a trendy suit with bold colors and carry it off with panache. If you are unsure about it, stick to the classics.
The traditional shirt to wear with a suit is a classic white button-down shirt that is well-fitting. You may opt for a shirt with extremely light and fine prints, but ensure that they do not overpower your overall appearance. The same goes for the color of the shirt. Wear complementing rather than contrasting colors to keep the look classy. For evening events, you may go slightly bolder and wear a contrasting shirt with your suit.
Tie and Other Accessories
A tie is not a compulsion in the semi-formal attire. While some prefer it, in other cases it can be eliminated. A tie should complement the shirt and suit and should preferably be of a silk fabric. It may have a print on it, but refrain from wearing one unless its really classy. You may opt for small cufflinks to complete your look. Wear a belt that complements your suit and matches your shoes.
Classic leather dress shoes, polished and shining, are the way to go.
Given below is a compilation of different looks that pertain to the semi-formal dress code. Take your pick based on your personal style as well as comfort.
Carry off this lightweight suit with style for an event during the day.
contrasting shirt with the dark suit
This look oozes style through and through. The contrasting shirt with the dark suit is perfect for an evening occasion, be it a dinner or a wedding!
daywear suit
Another suit that is great for daywear, try this out for a business conference or a lunch with colleagues
suit with a tie
A complete suit with a tie is necessary in some cases even for a semi-formal occasion. Stay on the safe side with a pin-stripe suit and a classy tie.
This chic semi-formal look can be pulled off by young entrepreneurs who have just started out in their own business.
Dress Codes for Women
Compared to men, the semi-formal dress code for women is slightly more lenient. Women have a larger variety of outfits and accessories to choose from to wear for a semi-formal event.
Unlike a black tie affair where women are compulsorily expected to wear long gowns, at a semi-formal event, women may wear cocktail dresses that are knee length, or a maximum of one inch above the knee. Long gowns are not out of question and women may choose to wear one that is ankle length if they wish to.
Skirts, Trousers & Shirts
Women may even choose to wear trousers or long skirts with a dressy blouse at a semi-formal event. Light colored dressy shirts work well for a day event, while darker shades work better for an evening affair. Trouser colors should be limited to the traditional black, gray, beige, or navy blue with pinstripes, while the fabric should be of a high quality. The length of the trousers should be up to the ankle.
Since the semi-formal attire for women is quite chic on its own, accessories should preferably kept to a minimum. This gives the entire attire a classy look. Limit accessories to a beautiful ring and a simple necklace. If you are wearing long earrings, avoid the necklace. Lately, even the no-jewelry look has become very popular. If you think you can carry it off, it is a great option.
Shoes that women wear to semi-formal events should have at least a slight heel, that can go up to 6 inches for those who prefer it. It should definitely be of a rich material, and jazzy enough to complement your outfit and the event. If it is a business event, eliminate the jazz but maintain the heels.
Choose from this variety of semi-formal hairstyles for different hair lengths.
business look
This business look for women is light yet smart, and fits perfectly within the semi-formal dress code.
formal dress
The perfect dress for a day event, wear such a dress with a scarf or even with a shrug in a slightly more formal setting such as a business event.
skirt with tank top
Pairing a skirt with tank top with a semi-formal jacket gives a great semi-formal look. Accessorize suitably and your look will be complete.
white dress
This simple white dress is perfect for a morning wedding or even a lunch with the girls at a fine-dining restaurant!
shirt and trouser
A simple business look that any woman can pull off, combine a sash with your shirt and trousers, and your look is complete.
Combining these tips with your own sense of style will give you the perfect attire that constitutes a semi-formal dress code. Just remember to carry it off confidently with elegance and you can't go wrong, irrespective of whether you are wearing it just to office, for a corporate event, a cocktail party, or for a wedding.