Dress Codes, Decoded: What to Wear for Every Type of Event

Find the Perfect Dress for Any Dress Code!


It’s time to take the guesswork out of the dress code game so you can focus on feeling your best at any and every event this year.

With every invite we receive in the mail, it seems like a new dress code is being made up and you’ll probably ask yourself, “what does this dress code even mean?!” That’s why we’re here to help you decode dress codes. It’s time to take the guesswork out of the dressing game so you can focus on feeling your best at any and every event this year. 

Now before we dive in and explain what every dress code means!

Let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts to find the perfect outfit to fit any dress code. 

  • DO: Research the venue. This can be a helpful guide in determining what to wear. 
  • DO: Ask other attendees what they’re wearing. 
  • DO: If you’re attending a wedding, find out what the bridesmaids colors are. You never want to look like you’re a part of the wedding party, unless you were asked to be of course.
  • DON’T: Underdress for the occasion. It’s always better to be overdressed. Plus, who doesn’t love standing out every once and a while?!
  • DON’T: Wear heels that you can’t be in for multiple hours. There’s nothing worse than having to sit out dancing because your feet can’t handle the heat!
  • DON’T: Wear white if you’re looking for wedding attire. Unless the invitation specifies that it’s an all-white outfit affair. In that case, you’ll want to shop our alternative bride section! 

Now that you know the basic do’s and don’ts, let's get a little more specific! Continue reading to see the dresses and jumpsuits we would wear for each dress code. 

formal attire


The most common dress code.

Karla is wearing the Lisa Navy Lace Faux Wrap Dress.

This is the most common dress code. At the most general level, this means a dress code that is slightly less formal than black-tie. You can wear a floor-length gown, a dressy jumpsuit or a fancy cocktail dress. The real difference between Formal and Black-Tie is that it’s more appropriate to show off your ankles when an invitation calls for Formal attire. 


Black tie events are typically set in the evening.

When you see the words “Black-Tie” on an invitation, you should automatically assume the event is in the evening and that you’re expected to wear a formal floor length gown. The rule of thumb here is that your dress should not reveal your ankles. But, after doing some research on the venue, it may be appropriate to wear a cocktail dress for a black-tie event. You can also wear an elegant jumpsuit to a black tie wedding. Whatever option you choose, make sure to accessorize with sparkly, eye-catching jewelry.

Cocktail Attire

Black tie events are typically set in the evening.

This is the second most popular dress code choice. We like to think of cocktail attire as being a balance between chic and comfortable; more formal than a day party but more casual than a formal evening event. Instead of a floor-length dress, opt for knee-length or midi dresses. But, if you want to wear a maxi dress or jumpsuit, don’t let us deter you! Just be mindful of how dressy it is. 



Think cocktails with a fancy up-do!

Tejera is wearing the Stevie Navy Sequin Sheath Dress.

Now this dress code may seem like the hosts couldn’t decide on the party attire so they just made something up. But, we’re here to assure you that cocktail formal is a real dress code and you may find yourself in need of an outfit soon. The easiest way to describe this dress code is that you’re expected to dress up your cocktail dress. Think little black dress or jumpsuit with sparkly accessories or colorful, vibrant dress with an up-do. 

Semi-Formal or


Not too formal, not too casual. Just right!

The best way to describe a semi-formal or dressy casual dress code is that it’s more formal than what you’d wear to the office, but slightly less formal than what you would wear to a cocktail party. Note the time of day for the event. If it’s in the evening, wear darker, more formal colors. If it’s a daytime event, wear light colors and fabrics. 

Festive Attire

Glitter and sparkle the night away!

While this is a relatively new dress code, it’s most popular around the holidays. But no matter the time of year, festive attire gives guests the go-ahead to have fun and play with their look. Think cocktail attire or a party dress in bold colors. Whatever dress or jumpsuit you choose, pair your outfit with playful accessories and heels.