Dress code (Western)
Overview
 
A dress code is a set of rules governing what garments may be worn together and in what setting. Examples of dress codes are combinations such as "smart casual
Smart casual
Smart casual is a loosely defined dress code, casual, yet "smart" enough to conform to the particular standards of certain Western social groups....

", or "morning dress
Morning dress
Morning dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat, waistcoat, and striped trousers, and an appropriate dress for women...

". A classification of these codes is normally made for varying levels of formality and times of day. In traditional Western dressing, for men the more formal dress codes, such as "black tie", are highly codified with essentially fixed definitions, mostly unchanged for more than fifty years, while the more casual classifications change very quickly, and a worldwide or widely relevant discussion is impossible.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
A dress code is a set of rules governing what garments may be worn together and in what setting. Examples of dress codes are combinations such as "smart casual
Smart casual
Smart casual is a loosely defined dress code, casual, yet "smart" enough to conform to the particular standards of certain Western social groups....

", or "morning dress
Morning dress
Morning dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat, waistcoat, and striped trousers, and an appropriate dress for women...

". A classification of these codes is normally made for varying levels of formality and times of day. In traditional Western dressing, for men the more formal dress codes, such as "black tie", are highly codified with essentially fixed definitions, mostly unchanged for more than fifty years, while the more casual classifications change very quickly, and a worldwide or widely relevant discussion is impossible. For women, changes in fashion are more rapid.

In practical use, dress codes are either followed intuitively, enforced by peer pressure
Peer pressure
Peer pressure refers to the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behavior in order to conform to group norms. Social groups affected include membership groups, when the individual is "formally" a member , or a social clique...

, so that people wear similar clothing in the same situations. Alternatively, at more formal events where a dress code is specified, invitees wear clothes at the specified level; if some variation is permitted (for example, "black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

 preferred"), the host will wear the most formal option to save guests the embarrassment of out-dressing him. Appropriate national dress is generally permitted, and national variations are also widely worn as an exception to the trend of uniformity with peers, often in the form of headgear
Headgear
Headgear, headwear or headdress is the name given to any element of clothing which is worn on one's head.Headgear serve a variety of purposes:...

 (see kippa, turban
Turban
In English, Turban refers to several types of headwear popularly worn in the Middle East, North Africa, Punjab, Jamaica and Southwest Asia. A commonly used synonym is Pagri, the Indian word for turban.-Styles:...

, hijab
Hijab
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

).

Formal, semi-formal, and informal codes

The table below summarises the main codified dress codes:
Formality (descending) Daywear Eveningwear
Ceremonial dress
Ceremonial dress
Ceremonial dress is the clothing worn for very special occasions, such as coronations, graduations, parades, religious rites, and trials. In the hierarchy of dress codes , ceremonial dress is the most formal and offers almost no room for personal expression...

 and Court dress
Court uniform and dress
- Court dress :On formal royal occasions in monarchies the dress worn by those present is prescribed by official regulations.Court dress is worn by all men not entitled to court uniform or military uniform on all occasions of state where such are customarily worn...

 
country dependent
Formal (or full formal, full dress, formal attire) Morning dress
Morning dress
Morning dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat, waistcoat, and striped trousers, and an appropriate dress for women...

 
White tie
White tie
White tie is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion. It is worn to ceremonial occasions such as state dinners in some countries, as well as to very formal balls and evening weddings...

 (incl. ball gown
Ball gown
A ball gown is worn for ballroom dancing and only the most formal social occasions according to rules of etiquette. It is traditionally a full-skirted gown reaching at least to the ankles, made of luxurious fabric, delicately and exotically trimmed. Most versions are cut off the shoulder with...

 for women)
Semi-formal
Semi-formal
In Western clothing semi-formal is a grouping of dress codes, indicating the sort of clothes worn to events with a level of protocol between informal and formal...

, (le smoking in French, distinct from a smoking jacket
Smoking jacket
A smoking jacket is an overgarment designed to be worn while smoking tobacco, usually in the form of pipes and cigars, or for domestic leisure.-Design:The classic smoking jacket is a mid thigh-length jacket made from velvet or silk, or both...

)
Stroller
Stroller (style)
The stroller, also known as a Stresemann, a director, or simply black lounge is a form of men's semi-formal daytime dress comprising a single- or double-breasted coat , grey striped or checked formal trousers, a necktie , and a waistcoat...

 
Black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

 (i.e. prob. evening dress
Evening gown
An evening gown is a long flowing women's dress usually worn to a formal affair. It ranges from tea and ballerina to full-length. Evening gowns are often made of a luxury fabric such as chiffon, velvet, satin, or silk...

 for women)
Informal
Informal attire
Informal attire, also called international business attire or Western business attire is a dress code, typified by a suit and necktie, for men. On the scale of formality, informal attire is more formal than casual but less formal than semi-formal. It is more presentational than semi-casual, but...

 (or [old fashioned] cocktail, business attire)
incl. lounge suit for men


Note that the definitions listed above are the strict, traditional definitions, which may not be followed in common use. For example, formal is often used to mean any of the first three, and informal to indicate what is classified here as casual.

Formal

Note that the use of white tie
White tie
White tie is the most formal evening dress code in Western fashion. It is worn to ceremonial occasions such as state dinners in some countries, as well as to very formal balls and evening weddings...

 and morning dress
Morning dress
Morning dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat, waistcoat, and striped trousers, and an appropriate dress for women...

 has become fairly rare in some countries (such as the U.S. and Australia), where black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

 or a lounge suit (as appropriate) is often worn to the above events.

Semi-formal

Typical events: Weddings, theatre opening nights, débutante
Debutante
A débutante is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "début" presentation. It should not be confused with a Debs...

 balls ETC

There is some variation in style depending on whether it is summer or winter. See black tie
Black tie
Black tie is a dress code for evening events and social functions. For a man, the main component is a usually black jacket, known as a dinner jacket or tuxedo...

 for more details.

Informal

Typical events: Diplomatic meetings, business purpose, many social occasions, everyday wear

Business wear is included in the informal category, generally consisting of a business suit and tie. Informal dress code encompasses all suits, but not all suits are considered business appropriate in fabric, cut, or color.

Casual codes

The less formal dress codes are more fluid. Their definition varies geographically and may include:
  • Smart casual
    Smart casual
    Smart casual is a loosely defined dress code, casual, yet "smart" enough to conform to the particular standards of certain Western social groups....

     (or traditional casual, [old fashioned] business casual, [new] cocktail, executive casual, corporate casual)
  • Business casual
    Business casual
    Business casual is a popular dress code in professional and white-collar workplaces in Western countries. In the United States, 43% of non-self-employed workers commonly wear casual business attire. Casual street wear is the next most common work attire , closely followed by uniforms...

     (or 'dressy', resort casual, country club, casual chic, semi-casual, neat casual)
  • Leisure attire
    Casual
    In the European tradition, casual is the dress code that emphasizes comfort and personal expression over presentation and uniformity. It includes a very wide variety of costume, so it is perhaps better defined by what it isn't than what it is...

     (or Saturday casual)
  • Active attire


The term casual
Casual
In the European tradition, casual is the dress code that emphasizes comfort and personal expression over presentation and uniformity. It includes a very wide variety of costume, so it is perhaps better defined by what it isn't than what it is...

describes a wide variety of clothing, ranging from smart casual
Smart casual
Smart casual is a loosely defined dress code, casual, yet "smart" enough to conform to the particular standards of certain Western social groups....

 to active attire.

Smart casual

Typical events: Business purposes, church events, "night on the town", everyday wear

Smart casual usually consists of a blazer
Blazer
A blazer is a type of jacket. The term blazer occasionally is synonymous with boating jacket and sports jacket, two different garments. A blazer resembles a suit coat cut more casually — sometimes with flap-less patch pockets and metal buttons. A blazer's cloth is usually durable , because it is an...

 or a sports jacket, a collared shirt, and dress trousers. A necktie is increasingly optional. Although suits technically fall into the formal category, some are casual enough to be considered smart casual instead. Smart casual footwear includes shoes and loafers, but not sneakers (trainers), or men's sandals. Since the 1990s, this dress style has become increasingly acceptable in some business situations, though not all.

Holiday Smart is a subset of this, referring to smart casual attire with a Holiday theme, i.e. colors, patterns or prints.

Business casual

Typical events: Business purposes, church events,

Business Casual is among the most fluid and varied of dress codes, with exact standards differing substantially from city to city, industry to industry, and even firm to firm. Generally speaking, ties are not worn with business casual. Most codes require that a collared shirt be worn, but often a polo shirt qualifies. Dress pants or cotton twills such as chinos (khakis) are acceptable, but jeans
Jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim. Some of the earliest American blue jeans were made by Jacob Davis, Calvin Rogers, and Levi Strauss in 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys, became popular among teenagers. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler...

 are not acceptable. Sports jackets are optional. Again, while loafers and other casual shoes are acceptable, sneakers and men's sandals are not. Business casual is now acceptable in some business situations and industries, but not all.

Contemporary business casual

Typical events: Business purposes, modern-style church events.

Ties are not worn with contemporary business casual
Business casual
Business casual is a popular dress code in professional and white-collar workplaces in Western countries. In the United States, 43% of non-self-employed workers commonly wear casual business attire. Casual street wear is the next most common work attire , closely followed by uniforms...

. When permitted, jeans
Jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim. Some of the earliest American blue jeans were made by Jacob Davis, Calvin Rogers, and Levi Strauss in 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys, became popular among teenagers. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler...

 are worn with a dressy top or collared shirt. For ladies, heels
Heel (shoe)
A heel is the projection at the back of a shoe which rests below the heel bone. The shoe heel is used to improve the balance of the shoe or for decorative purposes. Sometimes raised, the high heel is common to a form of shoe often worn by women but sometimes by men too. See also stiletto heel.-...

 are acceptable. This is acceptable in some business situations, but not all.

Full dress, half dress, and undress

Before the modern system of formal, semi-formal, and informal was as strictly applied as it is now, the terms were looser. For example, black tie (originally dinner clothes) was initially described as informal, while the "lounge suit," now standard business attire was originally considered (as its name suggests) casual wear. Before this, the principal classifications of clothing were full dress and undress, and, less commonly, half dress. Full dress
Full dress
Full dress is a category dress codes that refers to most formal clothing available in Western society.-Civilian:For a civilian, during the Victorian and Edwardian period, this corresponded to a frock coat in the day, and white tie at night...

 covered the most formal option: a frock coat
Frock coat
A frock coat is a man's coat characterised by knee-length skirts all around the base, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The double-breasted style is sometimes called a Prince Albert . The frock coat is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a centre vent at the back, and some features...

 for daywear, and dress coat for eveningwear. Since the frock coat has dropped out of use, the term is now only applied to white tie. Half dress, when used, was variously applied at different times, but was used to cover modern morning dress
Morning dress
Morning dress is the daytime formal dress code, consisting chiefly for men of a morning coat, waistcoat, and striped trousers, and an appropriate dress for women...

 (note that the term morning dress is fairly undescriptive and has not always meant modern morning dress). Undress (not to be confused with naked) in turn was similarly loose in meaning, corresponding to anything from a dressing gown to a lounge suit or its evening equivalent of dinner clothes (now one of the most formal dress codes possible).
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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