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Black Tie

What do I Wear ?

With the Christmas party season soon approaching, the all to often confusion of proper dress code etiquette is at its utmost importance.


Often when we receive an invitation with specific instructions for “black tie attire” or “smart casual”, what does this really mean?

What can I wear? And what is appropriate?

To answer those questions these handy tips will save you from many outfit mishaps.

Smart Casual 

Casual dress is more laid back to any other dress code.

You may wear anything from a cotton blouse to a T-shirt.

Appropriate shoes are part of the etiquette dress code; though many assume flip-flops are suitable wear, when in fact they are not.

A handy tip is to avoid inflammatory or otherwise offensive graphic tees!

Generally, safe attire for smart casual is office attire with some added accessories – to ‘dress up’ the office attire.

A smart jacket and closed shoes or heels are recommended.

If you do opt for jeans, your denim should look somewhat dressy, fresh and sharp with no wear or holes.

A great tip for the girls, add a blazer for an extra touch of class.

Business Attire

On the scale of formality, business attire is more formal than casual but less formal than cocktail attire.

Business attire consists of, for men, a suit (usually dark in colour), including a pair of trousers with a matching jacket.

The suit is worn with a long-sleeved shirt and a tie or a polo shirt with dress pants.

Informal attire for women in its strictest interpretation is patterned after the male standard — a suit consisting of a jacket with matching skirt or trousers, plus a blouse.

Business wear usually holds the most confusion amongst the dress codes.

This etiquette does vary from countries and even companies.


Cocktail dress code etiquette usually means semi-formal short elegant dresses, although these dresses may vary in lengths.

For men, attire consists of a jacket, with or without a tie, and long dress pants.

Cocktail attire is often more fashion-forward with varied coloured suits and shirts.

Lounge Suit

Lounge suit dress codes call for a suit and tie for men (black, navy or tan) and a glamorous dress for women (floor length or three quarter length).

Accessories are key.

Black Tie

This is usually a formal event or party suited for formal attire.

Men wear black tuxedos or dark suits with a long armed formal shirt with a tie or bowtie.

Women preferably wear floor length elegant gowns, however classy cocktail dresses that fall below the knee are acceptable as well.

White Tie

A white tie event is more formal than a black tie event.

The dress code entails that men wear full formal attire, with a white tie, vest and shirt.

Women only wear floor length elegant gowns and hair is styled and worn up.

These types of events are usually charity or society balls.

Source : http://www.doltonehouse.com.au

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