Cocktail/Semi Formal


Dress: You’ll want to wear a dress that is made of a refined fabric (like silk, lace or taffeta) and cuts around the knee. It should be much more formal than a sundress, but less formal than a ballgown. Most department stores and online retailers have sections devoted to party dresses, and any of those should do.

Suit: Most people wear dark suits to occasions with this dress code, but if the event is a daytime party, a light suit (beige, gray) is totally fine.

Dressy separates: If you wear a very snazzy top (think sequins or silk), you can probably get away with dress pants (say, velvet) or a skirt on the bottom. 

Jumpsuit: Everyone wears dresses. Why not do wear something that makes a statement?

Dress shoes, pumps

When in doubt, wear black.


Anything too short or tight (unless you love being physically uncomfortable for hours at an event).

Jeans: This is definitely not the time or place for America’s favorite pant.

Plain cotton anything.

When Cocktail/Semi Formal is Appropriate

  • Some weddings
  • Evening fundraisers
  • Proms and other formal school events