Ever notice dress codes are becoming more complicated these days? Fashion styles are influencing how one dresses into style categories; such as shabby chic, boho, street, grunge, glam, relaxed,… Let’s go back to the tried-and-true dress codes (minus the fashion).

  • Casual
  • Smart Casual
  • Business Casual
  • Semi-Formal
  • Formal
  • Black Tie

Some dress codes are more defined and distinguishable than others. My past marketing instructor dedicated an hour lecturing on the details of dress codes. While I don’t recall every detail, I do remember his take home message.

  • Casual is office appropriate (no need for a tie)
  • Smart Casual is enough for lunch with the Boss (tie is optional)
  • Business Casual is appropriate for lunch with the CEO (wear the tie)
  • Semi-Formal does not require a full suit (wear the tie and a suit jacket)
  • Formal involves a full suit (3-piece suit)
  • Black Tie is the most dressed up option with tuxdeos and floor-length gowns (top hat not required unless stated)

Now notice the emphasis on how men should dress? What about for women? My instructor assured us this applies to women as well but with extra consideration on neckline and dress length. Showing off skin and cleavage is better on a day off than on a workday. Same goes with dress length, knee-length is pretty standard.

Most dress codes are internationally accepted, but it is best to double-check due to cultural differences. Colour of the shirt, amount of skin exposed, or shoe types may vary amongst countries and cultures.

Now I had a dress code dilemma last week. Being one to use events as a reason to sew something new, the event I am attending is a funeral. Alright, my default look would be:

  • Mainly black
  • Shoulders covered
  • Pants or Skirt (minimum above the knee)
  • Black shoes, polished
  • Weather appropriate jacket

My default sides more with ‘smart casual’. I guess this calls for a top in solid black (ideally with some texture or a subtle pattern). Will see how fabric shopping goes…