Today I will walk you through the 4 main styles of dress, and how they relate to your day to day activities. The types are; Formal, Semi-Formal, Informal and Casual.
Formal and White tie: this level of dress is typically reserved of events like weddings, special event ceremonies, or formal garden parties. This type of dress is rare, but it is very easily mistaken with a semi-formal. At this level, men will be wearing a black tie suit or tuxedo, and women will be wearing a dress that will cut off no shorter than mid calf. Remember that the higher the dress level, the more conservative you should be when choosing an outfit, and colours for the women's dress should remain black or white. Refrain from trying to make a statement, as the event is seldom about you, and the focus should remain on the hosts. This would also be the place where flowers could be incorporated into an outfit, such as corsage for women and boutonnieres for men. These colours should match your partners and should only be an accent piece. Note that white tie is a level that is almost never used in Canada, and would most likely be reserved for an event hosted by the Queen of England, so don’t worry too much about it. White tie simply means ceremonial dress, usually accompanied by the man wear a white tie with his suit. At business events, formal attire would usually be reserved for large events such as recognition dinners, major company announcements or annual gatherings such as a christmas party. On a day to day level , you would almost never see this level.
Semi-Formal: Semi-formal is the tricky one, as it varies depending on the time of day that the event you are attending takes place. In the daytime, before 6pm, this level of dress would require men to wear a tail-less coat with formal pants, either striped or checkered. This combination would show a more relaxed look from full formal, but still remain classy. In the evening, you would remain at the black tie level, which is very similar to formal attire. The major direness would be that tails or tuxedos are not to be worn at this level. The idea behind semi-formal is that colour can be introduced to the pallet, and you can mix it up a little. The types of events that you would see this level of dress at would be at would be dictated by the host, so pay attention to invitation!
Informal: This level is for everyday business attire that you would see in the workplace. Men would be wearing a regular suit, and a jacket is not required at this level. For women, you have a vast, vast, VAST array of choices when it comes to what you can wear at the office. Examples for women would be business suit with skirt or pants, blouses (with or without sleeves), along with many other options. Colour can be used at this level, though try to avoid bright or “offensive colours”, such as neon colours, which are not typical in the office. Save these for tight and bright parties!
Casual: Finally the fun level! This would be everything that you would wear outside of a professional setting, including but not limited to; jeans, slacks, hoodies, t-shirts, baseball shirts, anything ripped, skinny or with larger logos or offensive designs. Be careful with your casual wear when attending company events, as this is the impression of your off time to your colleagues. Avoid the offensive slogans, and guys; try to own shirts that are not from beer cases, It will help you in the long run.
After all that the main thing to note with clothing is that you need to feel comfortable. Don’t buy a suit because you have to, buy one that you enjoy wearing. And while you are at it, wear that suit to the Concordia Business Associations Annual Business Conference on March 7th, 2015! Food, networking and a guest speaker where you can show off your new skills with clothing. See you then!