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Many invitations to business meetings and other events come with specific requirements for attire, ranging from formal or black tie to business casual. No one wants to show up underdressed or overdressed, but understanding the formal dress codes for an event can be very confusing. However, in some of these cases, the outfit you choose can play a determining role in whether or not you score a promotion or business deal – so wearing the wrong thing may end up costing you more than just a little embarrassment! Consider the following guidelines when you need to pick the perfect outfit for an event:
Black Tie Required
When your invitation calls for black tie, you need a top-of-the-line gown – think of the kind of dresses you’d find in a formal dress shop. If you’re still having trouble envisioning what to wear, think about what you’d wear if you were included in a typical wedding party. Dresses that have a long train or are decorated with sequins and jewels are perfect for this type of event. Traditionally, a black tie event means just that – the men will be wearing tuxedos or expensive suits – so you want to make sure your dress falls on the same level for this type of event. Satin and silk dresses are perfect if you’re going black tie.
Cocktail Attire Requested
If your host has specified that cocktail attire is appropriate, think minis or short dresses. This is the perfect event for that little black dress that’s been hiding in the back of your closet. These events usually include a few drinks and dancing, so you don’t want any long trains to get in your way. Cocktail dresses are generally very fancy as well, and may be decorated with sequins, ribbons, jewels or other accessories. You might even consider a strapless or off the shoulder number. In general, cocktail dresses are very similar to the gowns that you’d wear for a black tie event – just shorter, flashier and sometimes more revealing. Think luxurious fabrics, like taffeta or silk, not cotton or cotton blend dresses.
Business Casual Needed
A business casual outfit is usually specified for a formal conference or meeting. However, it may also be the specified dress code for a business dinner or awards banquet. In this situation, a formal dress would be overboard, but jeans are a definite no – instead, consider a two-piece outfit or simple dress for this type of event. A khaki skirt and a sweater would be just fine, or you could consider a business suit with a long skirt and a blazer. In general, this is also the type of dress that you’d wear as a guest at a formal wedding. When picking out the perfect business casual outfit, consider cotton, cotton blends, or lightweight satins and silks.
Casual Attire Allowed
Casual attire events are the least formal of all, and usually mean that you can get away with wearing jeans or slacks and a nice shirt. Sundresses are also perfect for this type of affair, as are denim jean skirts and strappy sandals. Generally, the only items that would not be appropriate would be sweat-type materials or spandex – especially if the event you’re attending is a business-related function – so save the sweats for lounging at home.