Semi-Formal Attire: What It Means and When You’ll Wear It

Semi-formal attire is typically worn to more formal occasions such as weddings, proms or banquets. It can be a little more casual than formal attire but it’s still dressy.

The semi-formal wardrobe usually includes a suit with matching jacket and trousers, dress slacks or skirt, evening gowns or pants suits for women and tuxedo for men.

The semi-formal attire is usually more casual than formal but still dressy. Generally, it consists of a suit for men and pants suits or evening gowns for women. There are some exceptions to this rule such as the prom which many teens wear their own clothes instead of renting out expensive dresses or tuxedos that they will never use again.

This formality level has become less popular in recent years with weddings opting for informal ceremonies like elopements in order to cut down on costs. However, if you want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable during an event then going with something a little bit dressier can be just what the doctor ordered. If you’re hosting an event where people might not know each other well, it’s a good idea to be on the more formal side of semi-formal attire.

When You’ll Wear It

Semi-formal attire is typically worn to evening events such as a black tie dinner, cocktail party or some type of formal event. It can also be appropriate for daytime weddings and other semi-formal occasions like afternoon garden parties or an evening wedding reception where the dress code may not require full ballroom style; but all guests would still wear at least their Sunday best.

Semi-formally dressed ladies usually opt for long gowns with embellishments that reflect any time period from Victorian haute couture to Dynasty era chic. Men usually sport tuxedos in white and dark colors – either traditional double breasted jackets with trimming on lapels, trousers, pockets and cuffs (the more ornate you want it, the more you pay) or single breasted tuxedos with self-faced lapels.

The nuances of what makes the dress code “semi” rather then just “casual” can vary from one venue to another and even by geographical region.

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