Semi Formal Dress for Women and Men
by Jessica Cuccioli
Semi formal dress for women and men
Places where semi formal dress may be required
The type of event you will be attending will more than likely determine what kind of semi formal dress you should look for. Those events/places could be weddings, restaurants, business meetings, conferences, or parties, and other parties. In some cases, you could wear the same thing to more than one of these events. But it always helps to know what they mean when they say "semi formal". Those words could mean two different things to two different people.
If your host has asked you to be in semi formal dress for their company party, and you show up in your uncut jeans and a clean t-shirt, there is the possibility of a door being slammed in your face.
And yet, it could be the other way around: you could invite that person over for your party and say "semi formal dress" (maybe meaning casual) and they show up wearing a cocktail dress or suit and tie. Then they get whispered about while they try to hide in the shadows, embarrassed.
More than likely, when semi formal dress is required, there is one central idea with a few alterations here and there to fit the occasion.
I'll get back to "what to where to what" later on, but first, lets look at what some of the definitions of "semi formal dress" are.
For women, semi formal dress is...
usually dressy. But far from formal. Formal dress usually means gowns; long, flowy, fluffy, frilly, lacy full ball gowns. That's not what we want here. Semi formal dress is much more fun, and much more comfortable. And there are much more choices! Semi formal dress is becoming a lot more popular, as "casual smart" is the new mod look. But the definitions over this last century on semi formal dress have changed quite dramatically. Just watch any old black and white movie.
Semi formal dress can be anything from a dressy business suit to a cocktail dress. One golden rule of the semi formal dress: The semi formal dress goes to the knees or lower, but it does not touch the ground; that would make it a formal dress.
Yes, strange, but that's the way of it.
You can't go wrong with a dress. They are always appropriate for semi formal occasions. You'll probably want one a bit dressier than a regular daytime dress, though. Try to find one with fabrics like silk, satin, velvet, or wool crepe. Black is always a good choice, unless it's a wedding. You can wear black to a wedding, but it may be too gloomy unless you pick the right one, which can be tricky.
Skirts and dress suits are OK, too. But they need to look dressy, or business-like, or else you defeat the purpose! Please please please...don't show up to your boss's Christmas party in a leather mini skirt and tank top. His wife may have you fired, if not try to drown you in the punch bowl.
For men, semi formal dress is:
a little easier to determine than women's, I think. Basically, guys, the same rules apply to you: No jeans and t-shirts usually (again, depending on where it is), and no tuxes.
Dress slacks, a jacket, blazer, or suit is typical semi formal dress for men. A tie is always nice, too. And for the still clueless guy, no sports jerseys and sneakers.
Places for semi formal dress
Semi formal weddings call for semi formal dress. The only tricky thing is whether it's a daytime or evening wedding. For example, it may be OK to wear black for an evening wedding, but may not be OK for a daytime wedding, where light colors would be more appropriate. Certain business meetings, conferences, or parties may be semi formal, where semi formal dress may be important. Dressy business suits, cocktail dresses, or anything modest but classy are all good choices. Some restaurants require semi formal dress, and, depending on the place, even jeans may be acceptable. Always check their dress code first.
For parties where the host or hostess asks that you be in semi formal dress, even if you know them well, it is still a good idea to ask them for specifics (read example above). But, as I mentioned, casual-smart and dresses are always good choices.
Be comfy, and have fun
No matter where it is you are going, just be comfortable and have fun. Like I always say, be yourself. Even if you've never had to be in semi formal dress before, you can still add your own flavor and still look great.
If you want to know more about semi formal dress and other attire, here is some great information: