What the Heck is Semi-Formal Attire?

What the Heck is Semi-Formal Attire?

So, you get an invitation to a party and right there, on the invitation, it requests semi-formal attire. You panic. What the heck is semi-formal attire?

Semi-formal attire is not as casual as the attire you wear when you’re at home kicking it, but it’s not as formal as what you would wear to say, a black tie occasion.

Still not helping? Here are some ideas for semi-formal attire that will ensure you are wearing the appropriate items for any occasion.



Dresses are great for semi-formal occasions. They have a dressy feel that immediately elevates a look from casual status. The only issue here is staying away from dresses that are too formal.

To keep your look on the casual side, it’s best to stick to dresses that come right around knee length or a few inches above the knee. (Some longer bohemian looks can work well too.)

Avoid strapless styles or anything with a lot of noticeable details, rhinestones or glitter. It is best to go with simpler cuts that feature vibrant colors and prints.

Another rule of thumb is to avoid wearing anything too revealing. Dresses that are very high cut on the bottom or low cut on the top should be saved for the night club.



Skirts are another item that can be worn for semi-formal occasions. They are generally less dressy than dresses to begin with, so they make great in between items.

Many of the rules that apply to dresses also apply to skirts. They should not be too revealing or have a lot of formal detailing.

A skirt with a vibrant print can be paired with a solid t-shirt or tank top to make a great semi-formal look. A pencil skirt and a blouse is another semi-formal look that works well.



While a nice pair of jeans works well at some semi-formal occasions, you will always be safe with a pair of slacks.

Slacks can be paired with a blouse or even a good tee shirt or tank top to produce a nice clean look.

Note, if you do choose to go with jeans, opt for a pair that has a darker wash and a flattering cut. Be sure to pair the jeans with a dressy blouse or top.



When it comes to tops, it really depends on what you’re wearing on the bottom. If you are wearing something dressy on the bottom, you can pair it with a simpler top to dress down the look. On the other hand, if you are wearing a plainer bottom, you want to wear something more detailed to dress it up a little.



Just like dresses produce a dressier look, jumpsuits tend to have the same effect. However, a few general rules apply here as well.

You don’t want to wear jumpsuits that are all over denim or make you look like you work in a gas station. While these looks are cute, they are too casual for semi-formal territory.

Instead opt for jumpsuits made of elegant materials that feature vibrant prints and colors.

For Men


While women may stress to find the perfect semi-formal outfit to wear, men have their work cut out for them. Typically, wearing a dress shirt with a pair of slacks should do the trick. No tie or jacket is necessary.

Men may also be okay wearing a nice pair of jeans with a dress shirt and blazer. It really depends on the occasion.

So, the next time you see that invitation coming in the mail with the words ‘semi-formal attire’ on it, don’t stress. Any of these outfit suggestions will work so you’ll have tons of options when it comes to creating a look that is just right. What do you like to wear to these types of occasions?


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