Dress codes are often confusing even for the most experienced of party-goers. The differences between them are so small that people tend to mix them up. For instance, many can’t tell semi-formal from formal and cocktail attire, and they end up wearing something inappropriate to an important event. Well, if you are one of them — that’s all about to change!
But before we get to the styling tips and ideas, let’s talk about semi-formal attire for women and how it compares to other dress codes.
For starters, as its name suggests, semi-formal attire is a bit less formal than black-tie attire. So, you might want to avoid gowns and maxi dresses. Instead, consider wearing a shorter dress or a jumpsuit. And compared to cocktail attire, semi-formal is definitely less casual. While you’d wear a short, open dress to a cocktail party, a semi-formal event typically requires a bit more coverage, but that’s up to you.
Semi-Formal Office Look
If you’re going to an office party with a semi-formal dress code, your best option is to pick a sophisticated garment that doesn’t show too much skin. After all, you’re trying to leave a good impression on your bosses and colleagues, so it’s better to go with something safer.
For instance, you might want to wear a three-quarter sleeve, knee-length dress and a light blazer over it, combined with a nice pair of stilettos or kitten heels. As far as handbags are concerned, choose something small and practical.
On the other hand, if you’re not that into dresses, you can wear a pantsuit to an office party. However, make sure it fits you like a glove; otherwise, you might end up looking like you borrowed the suit from your dad. Also, we recommend going with cropped trousers instead of long ones. That way you won’t cover your lovely new pair of heels, and you’ll show some leg, which is always welcome.
Semi-Formal Party Look
When it comes to weddings and other types of parties, the rules are a bit looser than those for office parties. You can have a lot more fun with the outfit and experiment with different silhouettes, as well as neckline and sleeve designs. For instance, you might want to try a dress with an asymmetric neckline and a single sleeve. However, it’s always a good idea to top it off with a nice blazer or jacket, just in case.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with colors and patterns. While you shouldn’t mix and match five different patterns, the semi-formal dress code allows for some playfulness. As an example, a short floral dress would be perfect for a wedding party. Of course, you need to pick your accessories accordingly. If your dress has a lot going on, your jewelry should be minimal so they don’t cancel each other out.
Now let’s talk shoes. Ankle boots, sneakers, and sandals are obviously out of the question, as they’re too informal. Besides, they don’t look good paired with a knee-length dress. In fact, they actually make your legs look shorter, which is the opposite of what you want! Stick with a nice pair of stilettos, kittens, or pumps. And if you prefer to be as comfortable as possible, then you might want to consider wearing flats.