Breaking News
Translate

Style Q & A

Q: I am confused. What exactly is the difference between formal, semiformal and informal dress? I need some guidelines.

A: There was a time when the difference between the three was clear-cut. But the anything-goes attitude toward dress codes that prevails today has blurred the edges. But these basic guidelines should see you appropriately attired for today’s dressier events:

Dabata Lawson
Dabata Lawson

FORMAL
A tuxedo, white shirt and bow tie for men; a long dress, cocktail dress or dressy separates for women.

SEMIFORMAL
A dark suit for men; a cocktail dress or dressy separates for women. For daytime semiformal events, a suit is appropriate for men; a short dress or dressy suit for women.

INFORMAL
A suit, or a dark blazer and dress pants, for men; a short dress, dressy suit or pantsuit for women. Note: Informal is not the same as casual, which means jeans, khakis, T-shirts, capri pants, sundresses and similar casual clothing is not appropriate.
However, there’s no denying that trendy jeans teamed with a smart jacket or sexy top and dressy shoes is the “new informal.” But we are not talking washing-the-car jeans, tank tops and flip-flops here. Save those for casual occasions.
Also, keep in mind that the above definitions are open to interpretation. For example, for a trendier formal look, men may team their tux with a black shirt or regular necktie. For a semiformal evening look, women may choose dressy pantsuits. Or, for an informal look, capri pants could work, provided they were in a dressy fabric and were worn with a chic jacket and heels.
Whatever the dress code, however, it’s always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.