Every Wedding Guest Dress Code Explained and Accessorized!

White Tie, Black Tie, Formal, Festive...figuring out what clothes to wear is just the first step. How to accessorize can make the difference between off-kilter and appropriate flair.

When the invitation reads:

White Tie: Think White House State dinners…the most prescribed of them all! Men are expected to wear a tuxedo with tails, a formal white shirt, white vest and bow tie, patent leather shoes, and sometimes even gloves. For women, formal, floor length gowns are expectedin solid colors. The best accessories are elegant yet conservative; classic stud earrings, a slender tennis bracelet (real-deal or convincing look-a-likes), or a solitaire pendant for her, and for him black or gold cuff links and tux-studs. A word to the wise, watches are considered poor form, though a pocket watch that can be discreetly tucked away might be kind of spiffy.

Black Tie: Indicates an evening event. Women may wear full or mid-length dresses in solid colors or subtle prints, and men should wear a tux with a black bow tie. Go elegant but understated with accessories. Complement dress necklines with sophisticated gold necklaces and dressy hairstyles with chandelier earrings. The debate over watches with a tux can be quite contentious, but general consensus is that it’s OK if you stick to a conservative black strap with a slender face and metal details that match your cufflinks.  

Formal or Black Tie Optional: Offers an excuse to get dressed up but leaves room for personal taste and expression. For her—an LBD with a sleek geometric necklace and matching earrings, for him a dark suit (not necessarily black) and cuff links with his monogram or striking mother-of-pearl details.

Semi-Formal or Dressy Casual: Whatever you might wear to a really nice restaurant, but it if you are not sure what that means it’s probably best to err on the side of “over-dressed” by accessorizing with something that will get noticed! Light-catching hammered silver is a good neutral for an LBD or a flouncy dress, while striking black cable can add texture to a dark suit.

Festive Attire: Often used on invitations for events during the holiday season, ‘festive’ is a euphemism for sparkle. Her outfit might have sequins or metallic fabrics that can be complimented with a stack of glittering bracelets or blingy in-and-out hoops. He can go for bright colors or a jazzy tie, accented with ‘something blue’ cuff links or one of our new gold link bracelets.

Rustic, Barn, Beach or Outdoor-Setting: Usually means a laid-back event (forego the tie and maybe stick to these kinds of heels...). Depending on the attending crowd, outfits may lean towards ‘preppy,’ ‘southwest flair,’ or ‘tropical whites.’ Über cool organic-material accessories will fit in well—how about a necklace with big baroque pearls or handful of fancy pearl rings for her, and braided leather or wood-inlay for him.


Pictured Styles: QE7570Y, SRC319

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