Dress Codes For Women: The Definitive Guide For All Occassions

How do you forage your way through your wardrobe to find the perfect dress for a formal occasion? It's a tough one, avoiding the odd panic attack in an attempt to try and figure out what's appropriate for your next social event, especially if the dress code is as ambiguous as 'black tie' or 'cocktail;' it could really mean anything right? Wrong! Remember, there are basic rules to each dress code, but rules are made to be broken, so feel free to fray beyond the basic requirements (while still remaining respectful to the dress code mentioned). Picking your outfit should always be fun, and it's important to tailor to your personality, and with the ever-evolving fashion world, you'll find the perfect dress in no time. There are four common dress codes for women, and we've rounded them up in a concise and short manner for you. Your panic ends here, as do all your questions about what exactly an evening dress is, or what constitutes as a cocktail dress.

 

Black Tie Dress Code

For men, the black tie dress code literally means 'a black bow tie worn with a dinner jacket.' For women, black tie equals long evening dresses in chiffon, lace, silk or velvet. Remember, the more extravagant, exaggerated the floor-sweeping it is, the better. If you go for a black evening dress, make sure you drench it in glitzy jewellery to allow extreme sparkle-status. Neutral tones work best, even black variants with a dash of sequins.

Black Tie Dress Code

From left to right:

GODDIVA LONG SLEEVE SEQUIN EVENING MAXI DRESS, BLACK, £89

GODDIVA BANDEAU SEQUIN & MESH MAXI DRESS, GREY, £85

DANAYA HAND EMBELLISHED SLEEVELESS OCCASION MAXI DRESS, NUDE, £99

GODDIVA SEQUIN EMBROIDERED HALTERNECK EVENING MAXI DRESS, WINE, £89

 

Cocktail Party Dress Code

We hear it all the time, but what is it? It's not that complicated really. A cocktail dress a shorter, above-the-knee midi dress (but you can also get away with a sleek jumpsuit). From silky satin to lace, a stylish cocktail dress is easy to find. 

Cocktail Party Dress Code 

From left to right:

GODDIVA SEQUINED MESH WITH OPEN BACK MIDI DRESS, NAVY, £69

GODDIVA - SCALLOPED HEM SEQUIN EMBROIDERED MIDI DRESS, CORAL, £42

GODDIVA 3D FLOWER LACE OFF THE SHOULDER MIDI DRESS, BLUSH, £70

VICKY PATTISON - ONE SHOULDER MIDI DRESS , ORANGE, £45

 

 

Smart Casual Dress Code

This is possibly the most confusing dress code to decode, but that's what we're here for! It entirely depends on the occasion at hand; while any length works, have fun with a semi-formal dress that isn't red-carpet level but also not one you'd wear with sneakers. They're meant to be fun, so don't confuse them with dresses you'd wear to work - it's important to note that if it ticks one of the following boxes then you've nailed it: 1) wrap dress, 2) midi dress, 3) tea dress.

 Smart Casual Dress Code

From left to right:

GODDIVA CHIFFON BARDOT HIGH LOW DRESS, PEACH, £60 

VICKY PATTISON – HALTER NECK A-LINE MIDI DRESS , AZURE, £28

VICKY PATTISON – FLORAL STRAP TEA DRESS WITH SLITS, HOT PINK, £19

ZIBI LONDON JOJO MIDI DRESS, £38

 

Party Dress Code 

Birthday parties, club nights, house raves - whatever the party occasion, all parties have one thing in common: dance. It's important to opt for party dresses that are made to move in, with fabric that's both stretchy and non-restricting. If you're looking for a maxi dress, make sure it has a thigh split for a gorgeous flow and twirl.

Party Dress Code 

From left to right:

ZIBI LONDON TAM ONE SLEEVE DRESS, £38

GODDIVA OMBRE SEQUIN & FRINGE MIDI DRESS, NAVY, £85

GODDIVA PLEATED WAIST CROSS BACK MAXI DRESS, MULTI, £70

GODDIVA STRIPE SEQUIN MAXI DRESS WITH SPLIT, BLUSH, £79

 

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