× Deciphering the Invitation: Dressing for the Occasion Black Tie Optional: Crisp White Dress Shirt. Dark Conservative Tie. Dark Dressy Leather Shoes and Dark Dress Socks. Solid Dark Suit or Tuxedo. Semi-Formal: Crisp Dress Shirt Unobtrusive Pattern. Conservative Tie. Dark Dressy Leather Shoes and Dark Socks. Dark Suit. Business Casual: Tie Optional. White, Color or Patterned Dress Shirt. Sports Jacket or Blazer (Recommended). Khakis or Nice Trousers. Lace-Up or Slip-On Leather Shoes or Boots Casual: Sweater, Polo or Casual Button Down Shirt. Leather or Canvas Shoes. Khakis or Dark Jeans

| December 15, 2011

Last updated: October 15, 2018

Style, Style & Grooming, Visual Guides

Dressing for the Occasion: Your 60 Second Visual Guide

Black Tie Optional | Semi-Formal | Business Casual | Casual

We’ve been talking a lot about hosting a holiday party lately, but what if you’re invited to one as a guest? It can be confusing trying to decipher the stated dress code. “Black tie” is easy: wear a tux. But what about those other categories? Well, last week we brought you a quick visual guide to dressing for an interview, and this week we offer some general guidelines for how to dress for an event at a glance. (We didn’t do “Cocktail” because the expected dress for that designation can vary so widely depending on time of day and level of formality of the event.)

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

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