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Semi Formal Attire

What Is Semi Formal Attire?

Semi formal attire can often be difficult to understand. Our guide gives you details on the semi formal dress code so you can select your next semi formal outfit

Semi-formal attire falls between more dressy, casual styles, such as business casual, and formal attire that requires long evening gowns. Semi formal attire may be required at weddings, parties, or other events, and it’s important to dress appropriately for your semi-formal event so you can match the overall dress code and vibe of the event.

If you aren’t too sure what semi-formal attire is, you’re in the right place. Our guide gives you further details on semi-formal dress codes in addition to some ideas for semi-formal outfits that help you figure out what to wear.

Your Guide to the Semi Formal Dress Code

The semi-formal dress code is a step up from business or professional casual while not being quite as dressy as a formal dress code.

Where formal dress codes require evening gowns or long dresses a majority of the time, semi-formal dress codes allow for knee-length or dressy cocktail dresses. You may also wear a classy pantsuit or a jumpsuit to a semi-formal event without it being considered out of place.

For men, the semi-formal dress code calls for a suit, dress pants and a blazer, or a collared shirt and vest. You can pair this outfit with dress shoes and simple accessories, but stay away from jeans, slacks, and tuxedos – neither of these options properly fit the semi-formal dress code style.

Semi-Formal Outfit Ideas

The following outfit ideas for your next semi-formal event will give you more insight into this dress code and what you could potentially wear. We list both ideas for men and women to get your thoughts on your outfit started.

Semi-formal outfit ideas for women:

  • A cocktail or midi dress
  • A maxi dress that is more casual than a formal evening gown
  • A pantsuit or jumpsuit
  • A knee-length dress that might be on the more formal side

Semi formal outfit ideas for men:

  • Dark suit
  • Dress pants and a collared shirt
  • Blazer or suit jacket over a dress shirt and pants
  • A light-colored suit, depending on the occasion and time of year

Make sure that you take into account factors like the type of semi-formal event (for example, weddings require different considerations like the colour of your outfit), the season during your event, and the venue. All of these factors may affect the specific semi-formal outfit you choose to wear.

How Do I Accessorize My Semi Formal Outfit?

Accessories for semi-formal outfits don’t need to be as demure and understated as those generally recommended for formal outfits. However, you also shouldn’t overdo it with the accessories like you might with your casual outfits.

You can wear larger pieces of jewelry, necklaces, earrings, and a shrug or a shawl with your semi-formal outfit. Men may wear lapel pins, cuff links, and ties or bow ties with their semi-formal outfits.

For shoes, women can wear high heels, strappy sandals, or classy flats depending on the season. Men can wear dress shoes or a pair of lace-up shoes that match their outfits.

Where Do I Purchase Semi Formal Attire?

Purchasing semi-formal attire doesn’t need to be the stressful event you might consider it to be. You can search for semi-formal attire in a local boutique store, at your local mall, or online.

For online shopping, we recommended the Sherri Hill Collection – you can browse short formal dresses in this collection, most of which are perfect for a semi-formal event.

If you are on a budget, we recommend browsing thrift stores for your next semi-formal outfit. You can usually find unique dresses or semi-formal outfits that only need slight tailoring to make them well-fitted and ready for wear.

Turning Heads at Your Next Semi Formal Event

Dressing for a semi-formal event can be confusing due to the semi formal dress code – many individuals have a hard time navigating this dress code as it is on the line between business casual and formal.

Review our guidance on the semi-formal dress code and our semi-formal outfit ideas for men and women to get a good sense of this style before you select the best outfit to turn heads at your next semi-formal event.