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Dress to the Nines: Defining Semi-Formal Attire For Men

Dress to the Nines: Defining Semi-Formal Attire For Men

Ever caught yourself asking what semi-formal wear is? We're breaking it down and spilling on the deets on this obscure dress code so you can dress to impress with perfect measure every time!

It's the holidays and though most people will send a text, tweet or DM to invite guests to their festive soirée, one thing will never go unmentioned despite its delivery method: the dress code. Often times you will see either formal or casual wear being required depending on the type of event. But what about the ever ambiguous semi-formal dress code? What is the definition and what does it mean? Here's your deep-dive cheat sheet to dress to the nines in semi-formal attire for any event!

What is Semi-Formal?

Semi-formal attire is described as fits that are dressier than what you'd wear to an office but not as dressy as a wedding or other formal events. Some say jeans should never be worn as semi-formal attire, but as we quickly approach the new year, we say, "Why not?" But how can you decide when jeans are most appropriate for semi-formal wear?

Keep in Mind the Time

Daytime events are relatively more laid back. This is definitely when you can rock the denim look paired with a nice button up and blazer, a tie if you want that extra bit of hype and your favorite pair of shades. Pro tip: stay far away from distressed and graphic style denim! Evening events are when you really have to rethink your fit game. Depending if it's an intimate family holiday party, jeans are definitely an option to consider with a smart, knit sweater and neutral tone Chelsea boots. On the other hand, if you're going to your company's holiday dinner party at an upscale restaurant, trousers and pants will more-likely be the most appropriate option.

The Season is the Reason

It's a huge help to decide on your semi-formal look depending upon the season as well as the time of the event. If the event you're attending is an evening event in Winter, you'll probably want to opt for a layered look to stay warm. But if your event is midday in the Spring, simplicity would probably be key with light layers to stay cool! The timing your event is taking place is practically a cheat sheet for you that will help to narrow down your choices. Is it practical to just wear a button-up and tie or should you also be looking at a sweater vest and wool coat? Would jeans or slacks be more appropriate for a daytime or evening event? The more you take into consideration the timing and season, the easier it will undoubtedly become to define semi-formal swag.

Tailored and Layered

Semi-formal wear is all about polished and fitted attire. You're dressing to impress and let's be real; no one is impressed with your baggy pants and oversized tee at a cocktail party. So if necessary, don't knock the option of getting your fits tailored specifically for you! Getting your fits tailored might seem like a hassle, but trust putting in that extra bit of effort will pay off for you! What's that saying? "Look good, feel better!" Layering tailored fits will also be the icing on the fit check cake — blazers, wool coats and dope timepieces will complete the overall aesthetic when your fit is all tailored up and ready to compliment your aesthetic! 

Theme Scheme

Another question to add to the cheat sheet is, "Is there a theme?" Your definition of semi-formal will evolve yet again with this important question to consider! Not all weddings look alike. For the married couple-to-be, this is the most important day of their lives! Which means they absolutely call all the shots! If their theme is "Beach Day" or "Casino Night" your fit might not be as formal as a wedding with a "Happily Ever After" or "Meet Me At the Ball" kind of theme. The couple may ask for semi-formal, but considering the theme will also be another sure way to narrow down the ambiguity!

Semi-formal attire may be intimating at first but it is one of the easiest dress codes to follow! Fashion is fun and full of expression, so as long as you keep in mind the time, season, theme and tailor and layer your fits, semi-formal is in the bag for you!