Think of dress codes as rules that are unwritten: you know they exist, but it’s not always 100% clear what they are. In many cases, dress codes are rapidly changing: only 1 in 10 people wear a suit to work each day, a sharp decline from previous decades of professional attire. And yet, there’s no worse feeling than walking into an event severely under (or over) dressed compared to everyone else in the room. Learning the conventional dress codes for popular events will make you more equipped to look your best on any occasion.
Casinos & Entertainment
A night out on the town demands a different set of wardrobe rules than your average workday. When gambling, a good rule of thumb to remember is that generally speaking, casinos increase in formality as the day progresses. For instance, during daytime hours, casual outfits are acceptable at most casinos (e.g., shorts, polos) . After 7 pm, however, many venues require “smart casual” attire, which may include a summery dress or sports jacket. If you’re going to a nightclub or high-end bar, avoid wearing denim, sneakers, or flip-flops, as most clubs prohibit these items. When possible, it’s best to check the venue’s dress code on their website or invitation.
Dressing For Business Casual
In some ways, business casual workspaces are actually harder to dress for, because there are fewer firm criteria for what you’re expected to wear each day. Remember that business casual is no excuse for sloppiness and use the added flexibility to go for outfits that make you feel calm and accomplished. When in doubt, go for solid colors over loud patterns and look for items that fit you well, like a pair of crisply-ironed khakis or flattering skirt. A convenient aspect to business casual is that the lax rules allow you to mix staple pieces without re-wearing an entire outfit. It’s also a good idea to embrace layers and bring a cardigan or shawl for cooler office climates.
Formal parties and occasions usually have more precise instructions for their dress code expectations. For instance, a “white tie” dress code demands tailcoats for men and full-length evening dresses for women. By contrast, a black tie affair typically means an evening jacket and tie for men and a dress (not necessarily floor length) for women. Most cocktail parties, wedding receptions, etc. fall under the category of “black tie” affairs. If your occasion is “semi-formal,” the dress code criteria is less precise: in general, good semi-formal wear include medium-length cocktail dresses, dark pants paired with a formal blouse, or the classic LBD.
In certain respects, dress codes are actually a good thing, because they help you feel assured and prepared for your go-to-event. By knowing the general expectations of what you need to wear, you’ll arrive prepared for the occasion and ready to look your best.