A lot of work-related events at my new job have different “dress codes,” and I’m beginning to realize I don’t know what they actually mean. What should I wear for each type of event?
There are more levels of dress code out there than people often realize, and trying to navigate them may feel overwhelming at first. Here’s a quick guide to reference the next time you receive an event invite. “Casual,” of course, is something we’re all familiar with: denim, sneakers, t-shirts, and hoodies. An elevated version of this is the ubiquitous “business casual,” which doesn’t require a suit, but usually means chinos or dark denim with button-downs, sweaters, and sometimes even a blazer on top. Moving up the ladder, “business formal” does require a suit, preferably in a dark color, accompanied by a tie and leather shoes. For evening events requesting “cocktail attire,” follow the guidelines for business formal, though feel free to add in pops of color or texture. For very formal events, “black tie” dress code is common and dictates that you wear a tuxedo with – you guessed it – a black bowtie. There is, of course, “white tie” dress code, which calls for a tuxedo with tails, a white waistcoat, and a white bowtie, but this option is rare and usually reserved for the most formal of weddings and galas.