Dress code – what are these types for men or women, a description of acceptable clothing in style or color

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Dress code is a set of rules that prescribe how to look in certain situations. Appearance requirements accompany official, business or special occasions. The concept of dress code is an acceptable style of clothing, shoes, accessories, hairstyles, which you must adhere to when visiting any place or ceremony. In social circles, there is the expression Dress to impress, which means a dress to impress.

Types of dress code

Often in invitations to a celebration you can see a dress code mark indicating the form of clothing acceptable for a particular event. In modern society, there is an international classification, according to which the English abbreviation is affixed to invitations. There are more than 10 basic varieties:

  • WT (white tie) – strict clothes for important events;
  • BT (black tie) – “black tie” (official appearance);
  • BB (business best) – the most rigorous business suit;
  • BTR (business traditional) – a traditional business suit;
  • SC (smart casual) – lightweight version of the official toilet;
  • CB (casual baseline) – everyday basic look;
  • CE (casual executive) – style of leaders;
  • CM (casual mainstream) – the generally accepted everyday manner of dressing;
  • C (casual) – casual style with an emphasis on convenience and practicality;
  • A5 (after five) – An elegant image for a party “after five”;
  • A5C (after 5 casual) – casual evening dress format.

White tie

This style is also called Ultra-formal – it is the most solemn and official of the existing types. Compliance with all requirements regarding clothes, shoes, hairstyles, accessories is very strict, so today it is extremely rare. The White tie clothing code is appropriate for large receptions at royal courts, balls, national holidays, large-scale and high-end evening weddings.

Sometimes the mark dress code WT can be seen in invitations to events associated with the presentation of prizes. Although this is a rare occurrence, even the Oscar reaches only the BT (Black tie) level. Most Ultra-formal dress code rules originate from the time the style was created in the 19th century and remain almost unchanged. The code of practice on how to look according to the White tie style is:

  • Men it should be dressed in tailcoats with white bow ties, snow-white vests and trousers with stripes. Under the men’s evening suit, only patent leather shoes are worn. Ribbons with battle regalia on top of clothing are welcome.
  • Women White tie dress code rules require that you wear “large toilets”; the dress should not end above the ankle. The dress with a neckline should be supplemented with a stole or a shawl, bare shoulders at such an event are inappropriate. Jewelry at such festivities is unacceptable, only real precious jewelry. Hands to the elbows should cover white gloves, which can only be removed during dinner. The hair should be carefully collected, revealing the full face. Makeup is welcome intense, but not defiant. You are allowed to have a small handbag with you.

People in clothing matching White tie.

Black tie

In second place in severity after the style of White tie is the dress code Black tie. Dress code is required at events of a very high level, such as presenting awards and prizes, gala receptions, weddings, theater premieres, charity evenings, etc. Appearance must comply with secular standards, prescribing a flawless appearance for the dress code “Black Thai”:

  • Black tie formal dress code for men obliges them to be dressed in formal suits or tuxedos if the celebration is held after 17 hours. A black butterfly with right angles should be tied, and not attached to a shirt or put on an elastic band. It is better to combine black shoes of a classic model with a suit, but not patent.
  • Girls in the afternoon it is appropriate to wear an elegant business suit, and if the event takes place in the evening, then you should put on a full toilet with a neckline or closed neck, and make an elegant hairstyle. An ideal choice is a long dress in restrained colors, no evocative colors and aggressive prints like a leopard print. For the outfit, it is advisable to choose the appropriate closed shoes with heels. Jewelery is allowed not only precious, but also their skillfully executed counterparts or expensive jewelry. Bright evening makeup is appropriate with an emphasis on the eyes or lips. It is possible to complete the look with a small neat clutch made of silk or jacquard.

Black tie evening outfits

Smart casual

The semi-official style is distinguished by relevance, while comfort and chic. This trend in clothing originated in Italy, and after years the dress code Smart casual has gained popularity around the world. The appearance of people whose clothing is designed in a semi-official style, emphasizes immediacy, the desire for freedom. The image is suitable for business people who devote a lot of time to their working life, but do not want to wear constantly strict clothes. The office dress code “Smart Casual” obliges representatives of the business world to adhere to some canons of style:

  • Men may not wear a tie in the office, and replace the classic shirt with a polo shirt or a knitted t-shirt. Instead of trousers, even jeans are allowed to be worn, but only in dark colors.
  • Women Along with blouses, they can afford to diversify their business wardrobe with T-shirts and sweaters, but always in restrained colors. Acceptable colors: black, gray, navy, brown, beige, white. Bright accents can be created using accessories or jewelry, for example, a colorful shawl and a stylish necklace. It is desirable that the hair be removed, but not necessarily completely, neat hairstyles are welcome. Makeup is appropriate for the day without causing shades.

Smart casual dress code for men

Business casual

The direction “Business Casual” is a relaxed style for business people, tired of strict office regulations regarding appearance. Dress code Business casual represents the case when at a corporate event or official event you can look business-like, but in clothes that do not hamper excessive rigor. The main thing in this style is the perfect combination of all the details of clothing. The direction is defined as a professional business style that allows for laid-back elements:

  • Men It is allowed to wear shirts, sweaters, sports jackets of various colors. Colors are desirable monophonic, ornaments are allowed, but catchy volumetric images are strictly prohibited. Pants should be dark in color with no arrows; jeans are not allowed. Shoes are not necessarily strict, but certainly closed and close to the classic style.
  • Women it is appropriate to wear a shirt or blouse, you can with a jacket, sweater, jumper. The length of the skirt or dress should be no higher than the knees. Shoes with an average heel or platform must cover most of the foot, the maximum that is allowed is an open toe or heel. Ladies hairstyles allow any, but without extremes, the same applies to makeup.

Business casual for women

Business traditional

Many people know about what a dress code is at work, especially the nuances of formalities in appearance are well known to office employees, entrepreneurs and business people. This appearance is used for official meetings, negotiations, interviews. The traditional corporate style of Business Formal Traditional clothing or, as it is also called, Undress obliges you to look restrained without bright elements, a briefcase or a strict bag are allowed from accessories, and a watch is made from jewelry:

  • Men put on a business suit: plain or with a barely noticeable strip. Traditional men’s shoes: oxfords, derby, monks, brogues (mainly black), loafers.
  • Women they wear a classic fitted jacket with trousers or a skirt; it is appropriate to wear a sheath dress with a jacket. Shoes fit on a low heel of a traditional style. Hair should be cut in a strict hairstyle, makeup is allowed in restrained colors.

Female images in accordance with the Business traditional dress code


The cocktail style is not difficult, although it requires you to adhere to a certain direction when choosing clothes for such an informal evening event. Cocktail dress code in the invitation means that the appearance of the guests should be elegant, albeit less solemn than at social events with the code of clothing White tie and Black tie. In the format of cocktail parties, exhibitions, presentations, the opening of cultural institutions and other similar events are held. Basic rules when choosing a wardrobe for a party marked Cocktail dress code:

  • Men relies on attending such events in a suit with a tie or bow tie in bright colors. You can complement the image with stylish cufflinks, a tie pin.
  • For women There is a huge selection of cocktail dresses of various styles and colors. Shoes for the dress will need to be selected with a heel of at least 8 centimeters. You can supplement the look with a small handbag and jewelry, but it should be neat little jewelry or expensive jewelry. There are no strict requirements for hairstyle and makeup, elegantly styled hair and makeup are welcomed, harmonizing with the whole image.

Cocktail style


Refers to semi-formal clothing styles, it gives freedom of choice, but only in accordance with a specific event. Suitable for formal occasions, dinner parties, receptions in honor of any significant event. The main rule of the Semi-formal dress code is no revealing or challenging outfits. Otherwise, the choice of the appropriate toilet setting falls on the invitees. Rules for choosing clothes for an event marked Semi-formal:

  • Men should be dressed in a dark jacket and trousers, if the event is held after 18 o’clock in the evening, and when the meeting is organized before this time, you can wear a regular suit with a tie.
  • Women when choosing an outfit, they are also dependent on the time of the meeting: until six in the evening any attractive elegant dress or suit is suitable, after 18 hours a short cocktail dress will be appropriate. Shoes can be in harmony with a small handbag. Hair is elegantly styled, makeup in restrained gentle colors.

Semi-formal options

After five

Translated from English, the phrase means “after five”, which indicates the time of the event. Often, the After Five mark in the invitation is supplemented with various refinements of style, for example, Semi formal, Casual and other trends in clothing. Possible events: family or corporate celebration, cocktail, dinner party, etc. The popular dress code After Five requires you to adhere to the following rules in choosing clothes:

  • Men You can put on a stylish or business suit with or without a tie. The shirt can be worn colored, with a pattern or textured. Classic shoes are welcome, but top siders or sneakers are allowed to wear.
  • Women You can choose an elegant suit with a skirt or trousers, a short evening dress. Shoes are selected in harmony with the outfit or small handbag. The hairstyle is allowed informal, but refined. Makeup should be in harmony with the overall image of the lady.
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