What Does Each Dress Code Mean And What To Wear

Are you one of those out there who gets confused when they see the dress code on an event invitation? If it gives you anxiety or makes you panic, don’t worry you’re not alone in this! We feel you and instead of panicking and getting worked up about what to wear the next time, here’s a fool-proof 101 guide on what each dress code mean and the type of outfits you can wear.

Starting off with the most formal on the list,

White Tie

This is not a very popular dress code but you might never know when you would need to adhere to this! This is by far, the most formal dress code there is and you should be dressed to the nines! Bring out your most FANCY dress and look like a STUD when you’re attending a white tie event.


Sarah Jessica Parker & Andy Cohen at the 2014 Met Gala.

Foolproof outfit for men: A black tail coat that reaches the back of your knees paired with a white shirt, waistcoat and a bow tie. Keep your footwear black with a patent-leather shoe or evening pumps and black silk socks.

Foolproof outfit for women: A floor-length gown is a MUST along with over the top accessories like white gloves, glamorous jewels, dramatic accessories and keep an up-do hairstyle for that glam and sophisticated look.

Black Tie

This is usually for social functions after sunset (or 7 pm) and is usually an elegant and fancy event. It is a no-brainer for men to wear a tuxedo and as for the ladies, your best bet would be to show up in a gown!


Foolproof outfit for men: A tuxedo paired with a white shirt and a tie or a bow tie with or without a vest and a cummerbund. As for shoes, go with a black oxford dress shoe or patent leather pumps.

Foolproof outfit for women: A floor-length evening gown and accessories it with a statement necklace. As for shoes, go with a pair of evening heels.

Black Tie Optional

Don’t we all like the word ‘optional‘?! It gives you a choice but that can only cause you to have a major headache on what is acceptable. As they say, one can never be overdressed or overeducated! This dress code means that men have the option of wearing a tuxedo or forgoing it and the ladies can opt for cocktail dresses as long as it is tasteful in style. We say, follow the same guideline as black tie!


Foolproof outfit for men: A dark suit with a black tie or a bow tie. Or opt for a tuxedo. As for shoes, go with a black oxford dress shoe or patent leather pumps.

Foolproof outfit for women: A floor-length gown or a cocktail dress which isn’t too revealing. Remember to glam it up with accessories and stick to a pair of evening heels.

Creative Black Tie

Are you confused yet?! What does it mean to be creative AND stick to a black tie dress code?! This dress code allows you to have fun, play around with colours, prints, fabric and incorporate some of your personality in your dressing! Remember, men will still need to be dressed in a suit or tuxedo and the ladies will still be in floor-length gowns.


Foolproof outfit for men: Spice it up with some prints on your tie, mix up the fabrics and colours and pick a maroon or silver coloured blazer for a fun and interesting look.

Foolproof outfit for women: A formal yet trendy or fun gown and think about other bold colours apart from black. As for the fabric, you’re free to be dressed in sequins, feathers, beads, velvet, fur, sheer fabric and more!

Warm Weather Black Tie

This is for black tie events held on a hot summer day (in a four season country). Generally, men would swap their black tux or coat for a white or cream coloured and women will stick to floor-length gowns in lighter colours and fabric as well.


Foolproof outfit for men: A white dinner jacket in lighter fabrics such as linen, silk or cotton along with the usual white shirt and a tie or bow tie.

Foolproof outfit for women: A formal floor-length gown with lighter fabric such and minimal accessories.


This should be one of the most common dress codes out there and it be one that says you are party ready.


Foolproof outfit for men: Keep it classy with a suit and a black tie. In some instances, jeans might also be acceptable instead of slacks depending on how casual the event is.

Foolproof outfit for women: Pick a shorter dress (above the knee) and accessorise your outfit. The classic little black dress would be a great cocktail dress if you’re not bold enough with colours!


This would depend on which festive season your event is held in. Generally, a rule of thumb would be to have fun and incorporate colours, sequins and other fun, bright and bold elements which scream PARTY!


Foolproof outfit for men: If it’s a formal event, a holiday-themed tie would be appropriate.

Foolproof outfit for women: A sequined or sparkling party dress would be perfect.

Business Formal

This is usually for daytime corporate events such as business lunch or a conference. Look professional and always be business appropriate when it comes to dressing, avoiding revealing and low-cut tops.


Foolproof outfit for men: A suit and tie would do the trick!

Foolproof outfit for women: Opt for a tailored dress or a pants suit. Remember to elongate yourselves with a pair of pumps.

Business Casual

Some corporates have business casual Fridays and what this means is that you still look professional while remaining casual and comfortable.


Foolproof outfit for men: A button-down or a tucked in polo shirt, paired with khakis or jeans.

Foolproof outfit for women: A dress shirt or blouse paired with a skirt. Flats are allowed and heels are optional!


Wear whatever you like! Be it sneakers, polo tees, jeans or khakis!


Foolproof outfit for men: Jeans and sneakers with a polo tees or a pair of button-down.

Foolproof outfit for women: Jeans and sneakers and a pair of statement top or opt for a denim skirt.

Smart Casual


It is an ambiguous dress code and it can be tricky sometimes. Take into context the type and venue of the event to get a better idea of how dressed up or down you would need to be.

Foolproof outfit for men: Jeans, chinos, khakis, suit pants with a plain white-T and a blazer.

Foolproof outfit for women: A pencil skirt paired with a button-down top or jeans with a blouse and a blazer. Pair them with heels, flats or ankle boots depending on where the event is held.

Dressy Casual

This would be a dressier version of what you would normally casually wear. Avoid wearing denim, cotton tees or tennis shoes. Instead, pick a more dressy fabric like silk, linen or crochet.


Foolproof outfit for men: Jeans with a pair of button-downs and loafers will make a perfect outfit!

Foolproof outfit for women: Pick a casual dress and throw on a blazer of a coat if preferred. Otherwise, a pair of black pants with a blouse and ankle boots or heels would also do the trick.


This dress code is less heard of but it would commonly be used for events which are held in a hotel or club’s lounge for business meetings, engagement parties or afternoon teas.


Foolproof outfit for men: A dark suit with a crisp white shirt should do the trick! Having a tie is optional.

Foolproof outfit for women: A midi-length dress or dresses which are slightly above the knees would be perfect. Make sure it is not too low-cut of a dress or too sheer of material. A structured jacket would be great to cover the arms if you’re feeling exposed.

That’s a wrap! If you’re looking for a venue to host an event, check out our platform www.venuescape.my. We have over 100 venues in the Klang Valley for which can host weddings, gala dinners, award shows, cocktail parties, birthday parties, fashion shows and more! Apart from sourcing you the best venue in town, we’re able to provide you with a FULL range of events management services ranging from catering, decor, tables and chair, entertainment, etc. Drop us a text or hit us up at + 6 012 – 727 3984!

colors skirt

The ironic thing about weddings is that sometimes guests find it har