Casual: This is pretty much your everyday laid-back dress-code. While sweat pants might be a bit of a stretch, feel free to pull out your favourite jeans and flats and prepare yourself for a comfortable and relaxed event. Even though it’s casual, you’re still attending a special occasion, so make sure that you’re neat and well-groomed.
Smart-Casual: This is pretty much as the name states – a smartened up replica of your casual clothes. Guys can’t go wrong with a dark pair of jeans and an open-collared shirt whereas girls should opt for a short dress, skirt or dressy pants. Avoid t-shirts, shorts and flip flops, as well as over-the-top bling.
Festive: The idea is to wear smart-casual wear with a bit of bling or a splash of colour. Generally associated with the festive season and New Year’s, festive attire means choosing a red silk blouse instead of a beige one, a studded blazer instead of denim or dangly earrings instead of your day-to-day studs.
Cocktail: Considering that a cocktail party generally takes place at sunset, this should be your guide stick – i.e. find the middle ground between day and evening wear. Guys should opt for a light or dark suit with open collared shirt and perhaps leave the blazer at home, whereas girls are usually expected to don knee to calf-length dresses. Light-fabric maxi dresses are also a yes-yes!
Informal: First off, this is not the same as casual, but rather more along the lines of semi-formal. While tuxedos are not required, men are still expected to wear a dark suit or, in the case of a daytime event, a light grey or beige suit. Women on the other hand should wear cocktail dresses for evening occasions and elegant knee-length dresses for daytime.
Formal Business: In this scenario, it’s about wearing a fancier version of your day-to-day office attire. While men should stick to their office suit and tie or informal/semi-formalwear, women are expected to don stylish dresses or elegant suits – nothing too sexy or revealing. Keep it stylish yet professional!
Black Tie: This is what we know as “formalwear” and is generally associated with a stylish evening affair. Tuxedos, ties, polished black shoes and slim-cut suits are a must for men, whereas women are expected to wear long floor-length dresses. Don’t hold back in terms of bling, and do note that heels are definitely on the yes-list.
Black Tie Optional/Invited: While this type of event is still strictly formal, the dress code is somewhat more lenient – mid-way between semi-formal and black tie. While tuxedos are a welcome sight, men also have the option of donning a dark suit and slim tie. Women on the other hand should preferably wear long dresses, though up-styled cocktail wear is also allowed.
White Tie: This is as formal as it gets, so time to put your most elegant foot forward. Men are expected to wear tailcoats with vest and white tie, or something a little quirkier like a cravat or bow-tie. In terms of the female attire, evening gowns are non-negotiable, with gloves being an optional but recommended extra.
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