What Should I wear to a wedding or Special Event?


Is it Biz Casual, Semi Formal? 
Dress codes can point you and your outfit in the right direction. But understanding dress code definitions is only the first step. Please reference the Pic above as a cheet sheet. If you’ve ever ignored a wedding dress code or party invite before, you know how awkward wearing the wrong outfit can feel—basically that naked-in-public nightmare come true. Which brings us to finding the right look.

Suits and Dresses do not always have to be just Black & White anymore! However, as soon as you add in dress code requirements like "black tie optional," or "cocktail attire," your given a much more specific look to achieve.


Black Tie: A black tie wedding requires a formal dress for women, or your dressiest cocktail attire. For men, a tuxedo (or black suit with a black tie) is required.

Black Tie Optional: For women, black tie optional weddings mean you can wear either a cocktail dress and heels or a formal dress. (Trendier dressers may opt for a jumpsuit as well.) For men, you have the option of a tuxedo or a dark suit and tie, with black dress shoes.

Remember for daytime weddings, its not recommended to wear black or sequins, as those are colors and details best reserved for evening occasions.


Creative Black Tie: Men's and women's dress should remain predominantly formal, but trendy accents can supplement a Creative Black Tie outfit. This variation on the standard Black Tie Optional event allows the party to get started with a little festivity. Black Tie Creative is an opportunity to showcase your personal style in terms of color, pattern, texture and accessories. There is no requirement to wear a tuxedo or a gown.

White Tie: A white tie occasion is the dressiest of them all, and women will want to wear a long, floor-length gown and their best jewelry. White tie attire for men means a tuxedo worn with a white bow tie and vest, the jacket may have tails. Dress shoes should be black patent leather.


Cocktail Attire: Gained popularity in the 20s and 30's to enjoy pre-dinner drinks. Its a semi-Formal Look. Go for something Tailored. A Tuxedo is too much, but a suit or blazer/trousers is required. Add personal touches, when it comes to Suiting and shirting(Pocket squares, lapel pins, tie clips, etc) but don't upstage the Couple. 

Informal Daytime: For her, an informal daytime or morning wedding means a sundress, skirt and top or even pants (but no jeans), and no high heels required. For men, slacks or chinos and a shirt (tucked in) works great. Avoid sneakers and opt for oxfords or loafers.

Informal Evening: For her, an informal evening wedding suggests a dress, and allows for a lot of flexibility. You could wear a maxi dress and flat shoes, or a little black dress and heels. For men, the dress requirements are the same as informal daytime, but you may want to add a jacket; no tie needed.


Casual Attire: Can depend on things like location and time of day. At its most formal, it entails a sport coat. Button-downs, sweaters, and relaxed pants are usually fine. At its least formal, men can get away with polos and shorts. In all cases, footwear's less restricted. Ladies can wear a "less-dressy dress," says Pollak (think: a sundress). More casual shoes, like sandals or flats, are appropriate here. 

Traditional: In some cases, you may be asked to wear attire that aligns with a certain culture's customs. For example, a couple having a traditional Indian wedding might ask women to don saris. In these instances, do your research, ask for help when needed, and always dress respectfully. 

No Dress Code: No indication of what you're supposed to wear, anywhere? If you're having trouble getting answers from the couple, you have a few other options. You can look to the wedding's specifics (the weather, where it's being held, etc.) and dress according to those. Or, you can ask other guests what they're planning to wear. If you know a member of the wedding party, even better—their designated outfits might clue you into what's appropriate. 

There are few things more nerve-wracking than deciding what to wear to a wedding. Wedding guest attire can be complicated.

Russell Tafarella