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Black tie, Cocktail, Casual: What every type of dress code means

Black tie, Cocktail, Casual: What every type of dress code means

Whether it’s your best friend’s birthday, an end-of-year office party or a wedding, there’s universal and unwritten expectations of what is appropriate to wear. The only issue is, we’re just never quite sure what these expectations are!

With event season just around the corner, your social calendar will no doubt be filling up with places to go and people to see. But no matter how many times we read it on the invite, it seems like we’re still a bit confused over what the terms “semi-formal” and “cocktail attire” really mean (and what the heck is a lounge suit, anyway?) 

The most common dress codes de-coded

We’re all for expressing yourself through your clothing (after all, fashion is an art form) but do you really want to be that girl rocking ripped jeans and a crop top while all the other guests are wearing floor-length gowns? If you suffer from dress code anxiety, you’re not alone. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most common types of dress codes so you can leave the house dripping from head to toe with confidence.

What to wear when the dress code says…

Black tie: This is the most formal of all dress codes, and you’re expected to wear floor-length gowns in rich colours like black, navy and brown. However, if the invite reads “black tie optional” then you can technically wear anything from dressy separates to a pantsuit to a midi evening dress.

Lounge suit: Whilst a rare dress code, if you do get invited to an event that is marked ‘lounge suit,’ you’ll know what to wear. This is a bit more lenient than black tie, but we’d still choose a below-the-knee dress just to be on the safe side.

Cocktail: Get ready to party – this is undoubtedly one of the more common dress codes. A cocktail dress can be a cut above or just below the knee, but remember to keep necklines appropriate. Heels are a must.

Smart casual: While a way of life for many of us more than it is a dress code, smart casual is a combination of our favourite jeans, a pretty top and a blazer to boot. Heels or flats are appropriate: think what you’d wear to a lazy Sunday brunch with your besties. 

Casual: Comfort before style – that’s the aim of this dress code. From jeans and a tee to shorts and a tank – your outfit is only limited by the weather. You can even wear sneakers (but we’d politely ask you to leave the uggs at home.)

TIP: If you’re looking in the mirror before you head out the door, and you find yourself asking, “Will I look out of place by wearing this?” then chances are, it’s not appropriate. If in doubt, take it off.

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

They say the best accessory you can wear is your smile, but we think statement earrings or a necklace won’t hurt, either. We’ve seen trends come and go, but none are as timeless as the pieces you wear on your wrist, neck or ears.

If you’re attending a formal event, pull out the precious stones like pearls and diamonds. It’s a good idea to stick to one statement piece and tone down the rest of your jewellery. For more casual occasions, anything goes – if you enjoy wearing bling and mismatched metals, now’s the time to do it. Don’t forget to team your ensemble with a cute clutch. From beaded to nude croc print, structured or woven, a bag can make or break an outfit.

Your online dress destination for the hottest outfits in Australia

Whatever the occasion, Billy J Boutique has a collection of on-trend and foolproof outfits to wear to suit just about any dress code. Whether you’re looking for a jaw-dropping LBD or relaxed mom jeans, you can enjoy fast shipping to anywhere in Australia from our head office on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.

Shop online for accessories, dresses, jackets and more now!