Even though the dress codes are getting more and more relaxed, especially since Home Office is becoming the new normal, some invitations might still have dress codes.
If you are uncertain what you should wear, here are some suggestions, on how you should dress to be on the safe side. However, if you are more extravagant, and you have a lot of self confidence, you should definitely stay true to your style and slay.
"Come as you are"
For internal events at work, this used to be on the invitation, and it can be tricky. You should dress up more casual than you would normally to work, but also not too casual, in your sweatpants for example. You can go for a pair of jean paired with a blouse/shirt, if your style is more basic, or you can wear a pair of chinos or a skirt, with a jumper of a more chic version of a t-shirt. You can wear high heels, loafers or sneakers, that is up to you, whatever you have in the wardrobe.
"Jeans, Blazer, Sneaker"
For men this cannot really be misunderstood, as a women, if you don't want to wear jeans, a blazer or sneaker, you can also go with a skirt, a more casual dress, a pair of chinos, a nice top and if its chilli outside, a jacket, cardigan, or a vest. (The latter not being the undergarment, but the jacket without sleeves)
"Smart Casual" or "Business Casual"
Here, please don't wear anything that is too casual. A pair of dark jeans, and a top, a pair of chinos with a top or a jumper. You can wear sneaker, high heels, or loafers, it doesn't really matter, as long as your look is more sporty, rather than evening gown. You should rather opt out of the glitter and the sparkles, and the super fancy jewellery.
Please suit up, pants or a skirt, or wear a classic shift dress. No minis please. No patterns either, unless the pattern is very subtle. The colour pallet is a dark blue suit, with a white shirt. Alternatively you can switch the shirt for a dark red, dark green, beige, light pink or light blue jumper, or top.
Leather/Vegan leather shoes, flats or heels. Please no sneakers.
This really depends on what country you are in. If you get an invitation with the request to wear something traditional, inform yourself what is traditional for that culture. In Germany, you would wear a Dirndl, or Lederhosen, in India probably a Sari. This is a unique opportunity for you to dive into the culture, and experience it through fashion. Get excited, and immerse yourself, because the opportunities might not arise again soon.
A cocktail dress is an evening dress, it usually is long enough to slightly cover the knees, and it is an A-line dress. It is very elegant, and can have extravaganza, such as a low back, or an unusual neckline. Depending on what your personality is, and how elegant you want to be, you can never go wrong with black, or any darker colour, without a pattern.
If you are not a dress person, you can always opt for a Smoking. Men however, wear a suit on this particular occasion.
This dress code requires a long dress for women, but please no hippie or cocktail dresses. The dress should be touching the ground. Men are required to wear a smoking, with a black tie, a bow tie, or alternatively if the invitation says "White tie" a white bow tie and tails.
If you get an invitation to the party with a theme, the host has probably made an effort to organize decoration, food and drink choices, and music choices around the theme, so be a good sport and also make an effort.
Traditionally, in Church, you would wear a dress and a jacket, with skin coloured tights, and closed heels no higher than 7 cm. And you should wear a hat or a fascinator. BUT not all of us are attending a royal wedding, so most probably, the hat or the fascinator is little too much.
Depending on what season and what country the wedding is at, you are probably good to go with any colour except white, or black. Keep it classy, and try not to look better than the bride.
For men, a darker suit is in order, and please not jeans. Unless stated in the invitation.
If you don't know what to wear to a work event, maybe we can help you. This depends on what company you work for. The dress code for tech startup events will look different than for a consulting company. It is a professional environment, recommended is always to be and stay classy. You will be best of with the "Come as you are"or "Smart Casual".
Even if you have found friends at work. The reason is, there will be people who don"t know you, and who will spread rumours about you, because of what you are wearing. Keep it classy, if you wear a shorter skirt, unless it's really hot, pair is with a pair of dark tights.