How to Differentiate Casual From Formal Wear

The first step in separating formal from informal dress is to know when it’s appropriate to wear each style. In general, business casual attire is appropriate for business meetings, conferences, and presentations to co-workers. In contrast, semi-formal clothing is appropriate for social events and parties held after hours. This way, you’ll be able to dress appropriately and avoid any embarrassing faux pas. Listed below are some guidelines to follow when wearing these types of attire.

Smart casual: This style is appropriate for a variety of situations, and incorporates elements of business and formal dress codes. Denim jeans, for example, can be worn with a dressy shirt or blazer. Dress pants, meanwhile, can be worn with dressy shirts or blazers. Women can enhance their smart-casual look with matching purses. For an evening out, a black tie dinner jacket with jeans can be appropriate.

For daytime events, a semi-casual dress for women may include a knee-length dress and khaki pants. A shirt with a collar should be buttoned up and tucked into the pants. A polo shirt, on the other hand, can be semi-casual. The same rules apply to men wearing a polo shirt, with the exception that the top three buttons should be unbuttoned. Accessorizing with cufflinks or neckties is appropriate. If the occasion calls for it, a low pump shoe and a scarf with a pattern are appropriate.

Shirts: Shirts are always considered casual, but the level of formality depends on the fit and design. While untucked shirts can be a casual option, those with collars and sleeves are more formal. Button-ups can also be semi-casual, so choose one that suits the occasion. If you’re looking for a semi-casual style, a shirt with a collar and buttons is appropriate.

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