People like to dress appropriately for an event, be it a dinner out
with friends or an important wedding. But host and hostesses should
be clear when issuing invitations what the desired dress is. I've
received many ambiguous related invitations over the years and
wanted to help others dicipher the vague dress-requests they might
-If you're not sure how to dress, over dress for an event. Many
people interrupt dressing for an event. You'll feel less obvious if
you over -dress.
-Formal. Black tie (tuxedo) for men, floor length gowns for
-Black tie preferred, optional or invited. Tuxedo is the
preferred choice for men, if the man does wear a tux then the women
should be in a formal floor length gown. However if the man does
not wear a tux, he will wear a dark suit, white shirt and
conservative tie. A women in this case will wear a short dinner
gown or an evening suit, a skirt with matching jacket.
-Dressy casual. Dress pants with matching jackets but no tie for
men and dresses or dark pantsuits for women.
-Business casual. Pressed dress pants or khaki twills with a
collared shirt, but no tie. Never wear jeans to a business casual
event. Socks and belts required for men. Women can wear pants or
skirts with hose and a collared shirt. No flip-flops.
-Casual. Typically anything goes, but if you have never been
with the host or hostess and it says casual, it's better to
over-dress until you have a better understanding of how they define
Mark Nash is the author of "Fundamentals of Marketing for the
Real Estate Professional", "Starting & Succeeding in Real
Estate", "Reaching Out: The Financial Power of Niche Marketing",
and "1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home". Mark is a
contributing writer for: Realtor (R) Magazine Online, Broker Agent
News, Real Estate Executive Magazine, Principal Broker, and Realty
Times. He contributes residential real estate analysis to Business
Week, CBS The Early Show, CNN, HGTVpro, The New York Times, and USA