A Guide to Women’s Dress Codes for All Occasions

Have you ever received an invitation only to be stumped by the dress code? We don’t blame you! Navigating the difference between dressy casual, smart casual, black tie and black tie optional can seem like an impossible nightmare. Luckily, we’re here to make occasion dressing a dream rather than a disaster. Follow this guide and you’ll be the best-dressed at every event on your social calendar.

Casual/Informal Dress Code

A casual/informal dress code is essentially an open invitation to dress in what you feel most comfortable. Whether you like to wear jeans and a t-shirt or a skirt, shirt and sneakers, you’ll be okay with this style code. There’s no need to wear heels or overdo the accessories, just wear something that is relaxed and your style. Short of wearing your gym gear or pyjamas, you really can’t go wrong

Dressy Casual Dress Code

Dressy casual, also known as casual chic, is an invitation to wear that cute weekend look that you love. Slightly more dressed-up than your most casual look, this form of attire is asking you to show off your style. Choose cute separates, such as a skirt and short-sleeve, button-up shirt, and add all kinds of accessories, from jewellery and scarves to quirky sandals and hats. Still stuck? Nice jeans paired with heels is also a winning look.

Smart Casual Dress Code

Smart casual is a dress code that can often confuse. It sits a notch above dressy casual and a notch below business casual. While jeans are no longer appropriate for women, there are still a lot of options for what to wear. A simple way to pick an outfit is to dress as if you’re heading to a lovely brunch with friends or an ultra-funky workplace. A pencil skirt, top and a cute jacket in pop colour is always a great option. Just choose between heels or dressy flats to complete your look.

Cocktail Attire Dress Code

Cocktail attire for women calls for at or above-the-knee dress and high heels. A standard dress code for parties, your cocktail dress should appear appropriate yet fun at the same time. When deciding what to wear, choose a playful yet polished party dress that isn’t too revealing. Interesting colours, embellishments and cut-outs are all great, as long as they stay sophisticated. If you’re still feeling unsure, a little black dress will work as well.

Festive Dress Code

Festive is a dress code most often seen on invitations throughout the holiday period. Events that specify this dress code call for cocktail attire with a holiday-appropriate twist. Choose a cocktail dress with added bang for a night filled with fun and dancing. Think sequins, jewels, tartan and festive colours, like red and green. Just remember to keep it chic. No reindeer jumpers, please!

Semi-Formal Dress Code

Semi-Formal can be a tricky dress code to navigate. Think of it as just a notch below black tie optional and slightly above cocktail attire. A little black dress is a quick and easy way to nail this code. Choose at or above-the-knee dress that is polished and sleek with just a little bit of spice. Remember to make sure that the hem finishes no shorter than two inches above the knee.