Navigating even the most common dress codes can often feel like a challenge – so when ‘black tie optional’, ‘come as you are’ and ‘festive’ dress codes are thrown into the mix, things can start to feel overwhelming.
Whether you’re planning your own event and pondering the perfect dress code or have invitations filling up your inbox, we’re here to demystify dress codes and provide some much needed clarification on the seemingly complicated world of party attire.
Black Tie/ Black Tie Optional
One of the most popular dress codes for lavish after dark events, the black tie dress code translates to elegant full length gowns and formal well-tailored suits. Opt for a sleek, sweeping silhouette and look for darker shades such as black, ruby reds and navy in heavier materials such as velvet and crepe to add a sense of luxury. Keep styling minimal with a classic sparkling tennis bracelet or pearl choker.
The ‘black tie optional’ dress code remains along the same lines as black tie while allowing more flexibility to make a statement and showcase your personal style. We recommend keeping it classic with a full length gown but explore textured or printed fabrics and bolder colour palettes to stand out from the crowd.
A sweeping floor length gown such as the Elisabeta Dress is a must for a black tie event. Experiment with bold prints and textured finishes if the dress code suggests ‘black tie optional’. Pictured right is the Odette Dress.
Possibly one of our favourite dress codes, cocktail attire gives you the freedom to step out in midi or mini lengths, contemporary silhouettes such as scooped necklines, voluminous sleeves and asymmetric hems and eye catching accessories. A two piece crop and skirt set is a fashion forward alternative to a classic mini or midi dress that still ticks all the boxes, or opt for a classic black number paired with a statement shoe and coordinating clutch bag.
Photo: Alamour The Label
A form fitting midi dress is perfect for a cocktail event. Add interest with statement accents such as the pleated bodice of the Arianne Dress.
Parties celebrating special occasions such as birthdays and holidays may call for a ‘festive’ dress code, which in simple terms means ‘dress to impress’. Opt for equal parts fun and fabulous and find an outfit that channels your personal style and makes you feel confident. Statement fabrics such as feathers, all over beading and sequins are the perfect pick for this dress code.
Have fun with show stopping textures. The sky blue feathered finish of the Paige Dress is sure to turn heads.
Come As You Are
One of the most ambiguous dress codes, ‘come as you are’ basically refers to a put together, casual look – think a feminine cotton mini dress or flowing midi. Patterned pieces such as floral prints are great for giving a finished look with minimal effort. Complete your outfit with leather sandals or white sneakers and a pair of classic hoop earrings and dainty necklace.
The floral print and coordinating skirt and crop of the Shailee Set makes for an effortlessly cool and casual look.
From a formal black tie event to a laid back ‘come as you are’ dress code, follow our ultimate guide to the most popular party dress codes and you’re sure to be the best dressed in attendance, no matter the occasion.