CallBack Corporate Entertainment Helps to Decode the Dress Code

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When the invite reads Semi-Formal Business Attire Preferred, what does that really mean?

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When in doubt, ask the host then enjoy the party!

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The party season is upon us and with every invitation comes the question of “what to wear?” To ease holiday stress, here’s a list of dress codes to refer to before your next event:

Ultra-Formal is the fanciest of event dressing, requiring women to don long gowns and men in tailcoats, vests and bowties.

Black tie is also Formal Attire. For men, that means tuxedos, and long dresses or dressy evening separates for women.

Black Tie Optional gives men the option of tuxedo or a dark suit and tie. Women can wear long dresses or dressy evening separates.

Creative Black Tie allows for interpretations of formal wear such a tuxedo with a black shirt and no tie. Women can wear long or short dresses.

Semi-Formal requires a dark suit and tie for men, and a cocktail dress for her.

Business Formal mean business appropriate and dictates a dark suit and tie for men, and women can opt for more tailored dressy suits and dresses.

Cocktail Attire means short, elegant dresses for her and dark suits for him. The little black dress is the perfect piece for most special occasions.

Informal is often interpreted as the same as Casual but it actually calls for the same dress as Semi-Formal -- dark suits for him, short dresses for her -- especially when associated with a special event.

Festive Attire is usually seen around the holidays and the attire looks like Informal or Semi-Formal.

Dressy Casual calls for dressed-up versions of casual looks such as trousers and a sport coat for him and a dressy pants look for her.

Casual generally means anything goes and this is when jeans are appropriate.

Whatever the host has dictated on the invite is what they expect party guests to wear. If the dress is ‘optional’ or ‘preferred’, you can dress slightly less formal, but not casually. When in doubt, ask the host then enjoy the party!


CallBack Corporate Entertainment Inc. is Canada’s premier booking agency dedicated to quality entertainment for a variety of occasions. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Judy Sims, President, 403-532-7601

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Judy Sims
CallBack Corporate Entertainment
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