Dress Codes A-Z from classic to contemporary

The “dress code” establish what is acceptable to wear in a specific situation

Dress codes are not only the traditional “black tie” or “smart casual” i.e. the type of look you should have for a party or a social occasion. Dress codes extend into the day to day living, such as your work environment, and your ability to wear appropriate clothes for your environment determines your acceptance in the work environment and show other people that you belong.

Most famous dress codes

Traditional dress codes

White tie

It’s the most formal and traditional elegant attire. It’s used in very rare occasions such as diplomatic evenings and nights at the opera or other events of like important weddings.

Women: floor-length formal gown and gloves; hair typically worn in an up-do.

Men: tailcoat, white shirt, white bow tie, black shoes, black socks.

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Black Tie

For formal evenings and only when the invite says so the Black tie dress code requires a Tuxedo for man and an elegant dress, no gloves, for women.

Suitable for weddings and elegant ceremonies. 

Women: floor-length formal gown, cocktail dress, elegant suit.

Men: tuxedo suit, also known as “smoking” suit, with a black bow tie.

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Black tie Invited

It is similar to the black tie dress code, but it allows a little creativity in the final touches, men and women can play with fun accessories to make the black tie look less formal.

Women: cocktail dress, long dress, elegant suit  

Men: the most suitable is the tuxedo

Black tie optional

It is similar to the black tie dress code, but it allows a little creativity in the final touches, men and women can play with fun accessories to make the black tie look less formal.

Women: cocktail dress or elegant suit, an above-the-knee hem is appropriate, or an evening pantsuit. 

Men: tuxedo is not mandatory, you can also wear a dark suit with a tie

Creative black tie

It is similar to the black tie dress code, but it allows a little creativity in the final touches, men and women can play with fun accessories to make the black tie look less formal.

Women: long or short dress or broken evening suit, enriched with lace and embroidery. 

Men: this dress code allows a bit of freedom, interpreting the formal suit in a trendy key. The most classic example is the tuxedo with non-traditional accessories: if in doubt, play it safe, wear a tuxedo with a colored waistcoat or an informal tuxedo with a black shirt without a tie.

Cocktail attire

Common for parties and a wide rage of events such as work event that could take place in an à la page  restaurant or at a colleague’s home, Depending on the time of the event you can understand if it’s a soirée or an aperitif.  For women a “cocktail dress is meant to be fun and beautiful at the same time — so show off those legs, girl!” cit. Vogue

Women: an above-the-knee hem is appropriate, or an evening pantsuit. 

Men: suit, tie optional

Formal Attire

Formal wear, formal attire or full dress is the traditional Western dress code category applicable for the most formal occasions, such as weddings, christenings, confirmations, funerals

Women: Dress. 

Men: morning dress for daytime and white tie for evenings

Semi Formal Attire

Semi-formal attire is an outfit that is dressier than what you’d wear to an office but not as dressy as a formal evening gown or tuxedo. … Semi-formal attire is typically worn to weddings, holiday parties, and to fine restaurants.

Women: Shorter, knee-length cocktail dresses and classic little black dresses accessorised with heels and jewellery are good choices.

Men: suit, tie optional

Contemporary Dress Codes

Artsy style

The Artsy fashion style might be for you if you like art, or prefer to avoid conformity and standards. If you want your clothes to reflect your opinions and choices, wear highly visual artsy pieces.

A trompe l’oeil flowers skirt with a plain top can be just what you need.

Biker “Sons of Anarchy”

Shirts, hoodies, jeans, biker boots, and leather jackets are essential pieces of the biker fashion style. Your keywords are: sexy, flashy, casual, rock & roll. You don’t need to own ride to wear biker clothes.

Cowboy – Cowgirl

Cowboy inspiration is a low key but always effective choice for day to night. Vintage denim jeans, brown suede jackets and t-shirts, are essential pieces in this passpartout style. Quality pieces will last you a lifetime thus helping to the sustainability of your wardrobe.

Boho style

The Boho chic or Bohemian style is made of summer, casual, modern, and stylish outfits. It takes inspiration from various free spirits, bohemian, and hippie influences, with colorful, natural, and handcrafted clothes.

References and Bibliography

Vogue – How to wear the 5 most common dress codes.

Giuseppe Ceccarelli – New Dress Code, White Star.

Panaprium – Fashion Styles

Wikipedia – www.wikipedia.org

Nuova sartoria – Codici dell’abbigliamento

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