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Fashion From Cocktail To Casual: 5 Common Dress Codes De-Coded

From Cocktail To Casual: 5 Common Dress Codes De-Coded

From Cocktail To Casual: 5 Common Dress Codes De-Coded
By Marie Haddad
September 20, 2018
With event season just around the corner, we decipher five common dress codes—from full-on formal to casual cool—so you can look your best no matter the occasion:

1/5 Evening

Photo: Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Hong Kong Tatler

Evening wear is often requested for more prestigious events like balls and weddings.

Women: Go all-out glam in a formal gown or floor length dress. Sequins, beading and other embellishments are acceptable, so long as they're done tastefully.

For accessories, opt for simple but sophisticated jewellery like a diamond necklace and/or drop earrings. Heels are expected, preferably a stiletto or thin heel; leave the wedges and mules at home.

Men: A three- or two-piece suit is mandatory, and dark colours are preferred. A black bow tie and leather dress shoes—and of course, a watch—are the only accessories you should be wearing.

2/5 Cocktail

Photo: Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Hong Kong Tatler

Cocktail parties are typically colourful and extravagant, and what you wear should reflect this. 

Women: A knee-length or above the knee hemmed dress or skirt, a chic dress pant and blouse ensemble or a jumpsuit are all great options. The bolder the better—colours, sequins and embellishments are encouraged.  

Men: Go for a dark suit ensemble, but this time with a regular neck tie. A simple yet foolproof outfit for this dress code would be a dress shirt, a nice pair of chinos paired with a dark blazer and a matching tie.

See also: Gentlemen's Guide: How To Pick The Perfect Suit

3/5 Semi-formal 

Photo: Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Hong Kong Tatler

While similar to cocktail, a semi-formal dress code encourages slightly more comfortable attire. 

Women: Simple but chic is the way to go, so try a black or monochrome midi or mini dress. A long skirt with a nice printed blouse, or a trouser and shirt combination with stylish mules or heels, also works. 

Men: Stay away from looking too formal; subtle sophistication is key, so a dark ensemble is a good option. Think a nice fitting pair of chinos with a dark blazer or sports jacket.

4/5 Smart-casual

Photo: Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Hong Kong Tatler

This dress code mean looking effortlessly elegant. The simplest way to look at it? Take an everyday look and dress it up a little with statement accessories or pieces.

Women: Relaxed and casual ensembles are acceptable, but keep things polished with a blazer, a modest hem line and statement jewellery for that extra bit of elegance.

Men: Style a pair of chinos or designer jeans with a polo or button-up shirt. Closed-toe shoes are preferred, but try to stay away from sneakers and go for something like espadrilles instead. If you decide to wear a collared shirt, tuck it in and accessorise with a leather belt. 

5/5 Casual 

Photo: Hong Kong Tatler
Photo: Hong Kong Tatler

More or less, anything goes when the dress code is casual, but that doesn't mean looking sloppy or lazy.

Women: Try a maxi dress, or a mini skirt and blouse combination with a seasonal pair of sandals or espadrilles. 

Men: Opt for a nice pair of dark washed jeans with a crisp, clean t-shirt, paired with a classic pair of mocassins or boat shoes. 

See also: Shells And Coins: 7 Brands Nailing This Season's Hottest Trend


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