What Does a "Suggested" Dress Code Mean?


What Does a "Suggested" Dress Code Mean?

Image By: Benny Moreno – Helios Photography

You receive an invitation and it requests a dress code that you are not familiar with… well here are some dress code ideas for invitations and how your host and hostess want you to dress.

Black Tie

For men, it’s a tuxedo. For women, if the party starts at 6 p.m. (with a cocktail hour), a woman can wear a more formal cocktail dress. If after 8 p.m., a long dress is preferred.

Creative Black Tie

A twist on the traditional, unique and whimsical turn for attire while adding themed items, it is a great way to keep things formal at an event while adding a touch of color with cuff links, jewelry, and accessories.

Black Tie Optional/Black Tie Preferred
Black Tie Invited/Formal Attire

While some may disagree, these all essentially mean the same thing. This is a formal, festive event. “Black-tie optional,” says you are wanting it to be formal, but it is not “required.” This gives women the option to wear a cocktail dress, but a long gown is acceptable as well.

Cocktail Chic

This also indicates that the event is a bit more on the dressier side, short dress, long dress or even a dressy pants suit for women and for men a suit or sport coat is acceptable and ties are probably the norm.

Dressy Casual

This is a hard one. Should you be dressy or casual? They have two very different meanings, sport coat for men or dress shirt no tie would be acceptable here. For women, a short dress or skirt is quite appropriate and pants and a nice blouse or top would be great too.

Country Club Casual

Many people argue that this means no jeans, others may interpret it to mean nice jeans, a top, and heels. For men, it signals no tie and maybe even a collared polo-style shirt.

Here are a few less common but creative dress codes:

California Casual

This is a laid back version that calls for sandals, shorts, t-shirts, sports coats and jeans. Commonly referred to as “anything goes”.


This could show up as a guest that chooses to be bold with their color and style choices. Flashier outfits such as sequined for the women and bold colors for men would be the trend we are looking for with this dress code.

Jerseys, Jeans, and Jewels

Your favorite jersey, some jeans and something to glam it up.

Denim and Diamonds

It is what it says: dressy on the top and denim on the bottom.

Nightclub Attire or Club Chic

This could be jeans or a trendy fun skirt or a dress for women and a trendy casual look for men.

It is best to be clear with your expectations when setting up your own event; and when attending, make sure to double-check what is communicated to you. Hope this gives you some insight into a variety of dress codes and wording.

Jodi Rankin, CEO, Twin City Mitzvahs

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