Dress codes deciphered

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston


REVOIR BLOG - Dress codes deciphered


Have you ever received an invitation with a dress code that is supposed to be helpful, but that left you totally baffled? With party and wedding season upon us, the number of invitations flying around is on the up, and so are the dressing instructions – so if you don’t know your lounge suit from your semi-formal attire, read on!


Formal / black tie

This is quite possibly the easiest of the dress codes for the fellas – you should be showing up in a tux. For women there’s a bit more flexibility (aka confusion) as you can technically wear anything from a gown to glamorous separates to a formal cocktail dress. Your safest bet is to go for a long dress – and we’re not talking a daytime maxi. Bring out the glam factor.


Robert Rodriguez Pintuck panel dressRobert Rodriguez Pintuck panel dress


Semi formal is a great half way point between smart casual and formal – it’s more fun, and more comfortable for a lot of people, as it gives you a lot more choices. Dresses should be more fancy than one you’d wear during the day, and ideally it should be at least knee length. One thing to note – dresses shouldn’t be floor length as that takes you into formal territory. For your man friends, recommend they throw on a pair of dress slacks, a jacket, blazer, or even a suit – with or without a tie, but we do love a tie.


Willow Spot top black dressWillow Spot top black dress

Lounge suit

Just to confuse you, this term often used interchangeably with cocktail and also semi-formal, so the meaning is also quite similar. Basically men should be showing up in a suit and tie, and women should be puling on a gown or formal dress. That said, if the lounge suit request is paired with a less formal outdoor event, you can make your ensemble a bit more casual and men can lose the tie and go for a lighter coloured suit, and women can don race-wear styling.


Ellery Cosmic visor dress Ellery Cosmic visor dress


We love cocktail functions at Revoir – picture what you should be wearing when you’re holding a fabulous cocktail in your hand, and that should be a good guide. For guys, a dark suit with a tie is the perfect fit, and for women, party-ready clothing is appropriate – so you can go shorter than other dress codes if you want to, or bust out a glam jumpsuit or pantsuit. If in doubt, wear a LBD and glam it up with statement jewellery.


Alex Perry Black organza celebration dress Alex Perry Black organza celebration dress

Business casual

This term is getting bandied about a lot more regularly lately, and it’s making a nervous wreck of even seasoned party-goers. Basically you still need to look fit for work, but in a less formal fashion than usual. For the ladies, pants and an on-trend blazer, or a pencil skirt paired with a fashionable top is the way to go. Guys should be showing up in trousers or chinos and a collared shirt. Leave the denim and sneakers at home.  

SASS & BIDE The snowbird navy caplet SASS & BIDE  The snowbird navy caplet

Smart casual

This is probably everyone’s favourite as there are no real rules, and that means you can wear denim (finally). You just need to look nice, really, so some degree of polish is advised whether that be via a great top, a smart blazer, great jewellery, or just making sure that your clothes aren’t beach attire.


Josh Goot Snake-print silk corset Josh Goot Snake-print silk corset