Do You Abide By The Dress Code?

March 18, 2019


When I attend a function, and someone, or several of the attendees have not adhered to the dress code, the hairs on the back of my neck, bristle.


Some functions stipulate a dress code, and others have ‘unspoken’ dress codes – that should be common knowledge.


If a dress code has been stipulated, I find it especially offensive to the host when the requested dress code is ignored. It says, ‘stuff you and your special day, I will do what I want!’ This sort of attitude, is the height of rudeness, and certainly makes one stand out – for all the wrong reasons.


I’m not exactly sure why so many tend to do this: are they unsure of what the different dress codes mean? Although in the age of technology, how hard is it to google and find out? Perhaps it’s a financial issue – clothes can be expensive, but again, there are solutions to this problem: borrowing an outfit from a friend, or hiring from a shop, are always affordable options.


Even a second hand outfit from a charity shop, is surely better than disregarding your host’s request? I’d like to think it’s just an innocent lack of knowledge about fashion, and correct etiquette, as opposed, to an air of blatant arrogance. So, let’s cover some of the dress codes, and their meanings.


Formal/White Tie:

This is the most ‘formal’ dress code. It includes; good slacks, a tailcoat, waistcoat (vest), and bow tie. And if, you have a love for ‘pomp and ceremony’, then a top hat is an absolute must for you! Don’t forget your good dress shoes either (preferably leather).


Semi Formal/Black Tie:

Many confuse this dress code with the more relaxed ‘business’ attire. However, a suit and tie, does not fit the ‘black tie’ criteria. A tuxedo ensemble - usually black (although white and colours are an option), with a shirt, bow tie, and a good dress shoe is required.



I find this is the most used ‘formal’ attire for men, and it’s certainly the most relied on for an occasion. A matching suit, any colour shirt, a tie, and good dress shoes. Here, is where you can bring in a pinstripe, or soft patterned suit – even a double breasted jacket, for something different.


Business Casual/Lounge Suit:

It’s here, that men can change things up a bit. Suits don’t have to be matching…

 Good slacks, or non-denim dress jeans, with a suit jacket, blazer or sports coat is fine.

 A jacket is optional for this dress code – a dress shirt, or jumper is sufficient on its own. A tie is not required. I still recommend your good dress shoes; however, for a slightly more relaxed look, a loafer is acceptable.



Is the most flexible of all, but a bit of effort is still required. Good jeans (no rips or tears), is a great option for this dress code – preferably a darker denim is best. A polo shirt, or nice T-Shirt is a good accompaniment. And again, a dress shoe or loafer is recommended – runners are just a bit too casual for this dress code.


Now for the ‘unspoken’ dress codes:

There are certain occasions where a level of dress etiquette is required, without a written request.

Funerals: I cannot tell you how many inappropriately dressed people I’ve seen at such occasions. Jeans, T-Shirts, and rubber flip-flops are not acceptable!


A black or dark suit (unless the family requests otherwise) should always be worn. A good shirt, tie, and dress shoes should accompany the suit. It’s just called respect.


The horse races or Polo; are occasions where so many dress inappropriately – I will say, women tend to be the worst offenders here.  Again, jeans are not sufficient!  A suit, shirt, tie, and dress shoes, are a must. At the very least, good slacks, shirt, and a tie – please, please can you do that for me?


I know, most men like to be comfortable in their dress, and you can be – most of the time. But, sometimes for a special occasion, you need to think about the host. Put yourself out, and get dressed appropriately. Show them the respect they deserve, for the trouble, and cost of putting on the event.


You never know, you might actually like it – they say ‘looking good, makes you feel good’.


Stacey Sellars is a regular contributor to The Successful Male Magazine.

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