Decoding The Dress Code

So you’ve RSVP’d to that upcoming event and you’re ready to roll. Now the tough part, understanding that dress code and figuring out what to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. It can be a daunting task, even for the most courageous of souls, but there is good news though, decoding the dress code is more simple than you think, and we’re here to show you how it’s done.

To begin unraveling what the hell “semi-formal beachside chic” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress codes. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.

Black Tie 
The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means a tuxedo only. This isn’t the place for a suit. Look on the bright side though, every single person looks damn fine in a tuxedo. Think of it as your James Bond moment. Here’s is some additional inspiration too.

Black Tie Optional
Also referred to as “formal” or some variation, this is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and similar formal events. By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, we encourage it. But, a dark-colored suit, like black or charcoal, works equally as well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple silver, burgundy, or navy tie.

Semi-Formal
The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings, this dress code is also referred to as “cocktail attire”. Depending on the time of the event (day or night) and the time of year (darker colors in fall and winter, lighter colors in spring and summer), most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp dressed man. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you're feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t necessarily mandatory but, when has anyone ever not benefitted from throwing on a complementing tie. We say, do it.

Casual
Sure, it's the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but we always say ‘dress to impress”. Simple cotton or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a casual blazer and try a pair of bucks or loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all manner of colors here.

Consider the dress code decoded. Let’s make our way to the bar, shall we?