Dressing for Semi-Formal Events

Cocktail Dress

Kathi,

I’ve been invited to an event and the invitation says it is semi-formal. What does this mean? Do I wear a knee length or long dress? Thanks for your help.

Deb, Cardiff

Deb,

Semi-formal invitations are the most tricky to decipher. Usually they imply that long dresses are not required, nor are tuxes. An evening wedding (after 6 PM) would still dictate a cocktail dress for her and a dark suit for him. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for her.

If the invitation states Formal attire or Black Tie, you can wear a long dress, or a dressy evening gown. In trendier areas like LA, men could also wear a tux with a black shirt with no tie.

Black Tie Optional means you have the option of wearing a tuxedo or long gown. It can also tip you into the formality of the event, meaning a dark suit and tie would be your other option.

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