What Does that Dress Code Really Mean

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What Does that Dress Code Really MeanWhite Tie

Long dress (ballgown) with sparkle and bling – the most formal dress code


white tie


white tie by imogenl featuring Prada

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  • Thank you for posting this – it’s very useful to know. Now if only everyone would use standard dress code terms. I was invited to a wedding last year where the dress code was ‘formal beach casual’ – how is anyone supposed to know what that means? Maybe with blogs like this more people will know and use this terminology!

  • It’s easy for those women who have garments from their ethnic background. A silk full-length Chinese cheongsam or Indian silk saree or dressy salwar kameez with a dupatta (stole) covers all formal events.

    Bonus: if you hate wearing heels (like I do), a cheongsam or saree can be worn with flats.

    • Saris can look so much more dynamic than I thought. I saw a woman once wearing a sort of gauzy, pale powder blue sari with some beading, with a zebra-print sash, also gauzy, draped diagonally across the midsection – was stunning. So unexpected, the colour and pattern combo. It was really eye-catching.

        • #12 is stunning in the sari catwalk link.
          So stunning!

          I sang once at a wedding for a Sri Lankan family I knew. The bride wore a white lace sari and was Totally Beautiful. Her bridesmaids wore apricot in soft chiffon and with their hair all bejeweled it was totally beautiful. The church had a dozen fantastic chandeliers and the whole effect was breathtaking. I had short hair at the time and wore a black pantsuit. Instantly I felt masculine as i saw them floating down the aisle and I began to grow out my hair from that day on. The tradition is for the bride to bow at her fathers feet before she leaves. The lower the bow the more respect and love she has for him. This bride, my friend, bowed to the ground and kissed his feet. It was very moving. I immediately loved their customs, their dress and although they talked as loud as a steam train through every song, I loved the people too. Laugh

  • Imogen, any chance you’ll be getting rid of this slideshow-style posts soon? They make it a real pain to read on a mobile phone, and I’m not a fan of them when I’m on my desktop computer either. I know that they generate more clicks, but often I et fed up halfway through the clicking.

  • Off topic, but I’ve just realised that I wear lounge suit for work, dressy casual for generally going out/leaving the house for anything other than work and casual only ever at home when nobody sees me… I, weirdly, never really feel comfortable in truly casual clothes.

  • Thank God you posted this! My husband and I have been invited to a black tie optional gala, and I have been uncertain about what type of dress to wear.

  • We were just invited to a “Cocktail” wedding, so this is GREAT! Now… what does a man wear for each of these occasions? Thanks for everything!

  • Can I just thank you for this, please? I was invited to an evening at the theatre and a VIP after event with the dress code being ‘lounge suit’. I could find something almost everywhere on the internet regarding what this meant for men but so many conflicting messages for women! Thanks to your site, I opted for a long sleeve black satin top with black wide leg trousers, heels and black clutch. Before your site, I was going to wear a sequined choker v neck top with chiffon sleeves (navy or black) and wide leg trousers. However, I saw this may be more ‘cocktail’ attire so I will save this for another occasion. Thank you, again! Life saver!

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