In todays casual and clueless world many people are confused by the various terms on an invite when it comes to dress.
So to address the various questions about dress that people often ask me I have put together the terms that most confuse people!
White Tie or Ultra Formal This is great chance for girls to go completely over the top with ballgowns, highly coiffured hair, sky-high heels and lots of sparkle. Men wear a long black tailcoat with white tie, white wing collar dress shirt and vest. Usually suited to celebrations after 6pm. INSPIRATION: Vintage ball or royal wedding Black Tie A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire. Women can wear cocktail style dresses (but nothing too flashy or revealing), long evening gowns or glamorous evening separates. Men wear tuxedos complete with cufflinks I Black Tie Optional A Black Tie Optional or Black Tie Invited gives him the option of wearing a tuxedo but it should provide clues as to the formality of the event, meaning a dark suit and tie would be your other option. She wears a cocktail style or long dress, or evening separates.
Daytime/Evening Formal Similar to Black Tie, but a little more relaxed. During the day, tuxedos are not necessary, unless specified. She might wear a cocktail dress, smart skirt suit, dressy separates or a tailored suit. For evening formal, she may want to go for a longer dress and an elegant evening bag, while he can get away with coloured shirts under suits or a tux with no tie.
Semi-Formal Semi-Formal or After Five means that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening wedding (after 6pm) would still dictate dark suits for him, and a cocktail dress for her. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or tailored suit for her. Save the sequins and satin for an evening Cocktail or Formal event.
Cocktail Attire Usually for events held after 5pm. Cocktail Attire means a shorter, elegant dress for her, usually with a bit of bling, and dark suits for him.
Lounge A popular choice for slightly less formal weddings, Lounge sits somewhere between Smart Casual and Formal. Shorter cocktail-style dresses or a tailored suit are acceptable for her. A dark coloured business suit is appropriate for him, but he could consider a dressier or more interesting shirt and tie than he might wear to work. Quality knitwear in place of the shirt is acceptable.
Dressy Casual Dressy Casual calls for dressed-up versions of casual looks. Tailored pants or dressy separates for her and trousers and a sports coat, for him. Don't be fooled by the word 'Casual' here. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts and other traditionally casual looks are not appropriate.
Smart Casual This code shouldn't see everyone regressing to jeans and tees. Women wear dressy separates such as tailored pants or a skirt with a pretty blouse or frocks in natural fabrics - but leave the ballgown at home. Jackets are still are a good idea for him, but perhaps he could try a linen suit, or a sports coat.
Informal Informal is often interpreted as the same as Casual but it actually a lot more formal than that. Dressy separates for her and blazers or sports jackets are acceptable for him. No jeans.
Casual Generally means "anything goes".