Dress Codes

Q. What suit should I wear?

There is nothing worse than attending a function to find yourself “under” or “over” dressed!

Finding the right suit and accessories for the occasion is simple and easy with a few guidelines. When choosing a suit and accessories, consider the following:

  • What type of event are you attending? Is it a wedding, awards night, school formal or ball, business function, job interview or funeral?
  • Where is the event being held?
  • When is the event being held? Spring, Winter, Summer or Autumn?
  • What time is the event being held? Day or night?
  • Has the host stipulated a dress code on the invitation?

Read on for an explanation of some common dress codes.

White Tie

As the most “Ultra” formal dress code, a White Tie event is usually a grand occasion. You’ll need to wear full formal attire, including:

  • Tail Coat
  • White bow
  • Formal Dress Shirt (with a pleated front)
  • Cummerbund or Vest
  • White Gloves (optional but usual)
  • Formal Black Dress Leather Shoes (often Patent Leather)
Black Tie

A black tie event is formal. This means you should wear the following:

  • Dinner Suit (Tuxedo)
  • Black Bow Tie (or other formal neckpiece)
  • Formal Dress Shirt (usually with a pleated front)
  • Cummerbund (optional)
  • Black Dress leather shoes
  • A Vest is an optional extra that can individualise your look
Black Tie Optional/ Black Tie Invited

In this case, a Dinner Suit (Tuxedo) can be worn, but they are not essential. Guests can wear a dark suit dress/business shirt, and tie – if they prefer a less formal look.

Creative Black Tie

Considered an invention of the 80’s, the Creative Black Tie consists of a dark coloured suit, which is usually, a Dinner Jacket. Ties, vests and cummerbunds are optional. This standard of dress code leaves the options open for more creative/trendy interpretations of formalwear such as black dress shirts and bright coloured ties. This evolution of formal fashion brings a host of different styles and colours to the formal function that invites individuality.


Elegant and stylish. Think of wearing a dress/business shirt and tie with a dark suit. Individuality is acceptable.


Widely considered to be the same as Black Tie, a Formal dress code can also encompass a dark coloured suit with a dress/business shirt and tie. A dinner jacket with no tie would also suffice.


This dress code is not clear cut and usually a dinner suit is not an option. A lounge style suit is acceptable. When deciding how to dress for a semiformal function, consider the time of the event and the nature of the occasion. Evening events are more suited to dark suits with no tie, whilst daytime functions are more flexible – so coloured suits are acceptable.

Dressy Casual

A Dressy Casual code is very relaxed. Wear whatever you want – trousers and a casual shirt is appropriate but avoid jeans and shorts.


Whilst Informal is considered to be the same as Casual, it is important to retain a respectable style of dress appropriate for the function you are attending. A wedding or special event could involve wearing a Jacket. Again trousers and a casual shirt are appropriate but avoid jeans and shorts.