How To Perfectly Style The Semi Formal Dress For Men

Dress codes for events can be confusing, especially when it says ‘semi-formal. So, if you’ve run into this phrase on your invites, keep your chin up because we’ve looked into how you can dress the part with the right outfit choices.

This article focuses on semi formal dress for men and how you can style them to fit different occasions. So sit tight because we’re going on a quick fashion crash course!

What Is Semi Formal Dress Code For Men?

When a dress code says ‘semi-formal,’ many may assume it is slightly casual, but it is not. In fact, it aligns more towards the ‘formal’ code; about 80% of semi-formal dress for men consists of items from formal attire.

A semi-formal dress code means styling your formal attire in a slightly casual way but not too casual. So let’s look at how you can put out a fitting look for different occasions.

semi formal dress for men, young man looking stylish

What Is Semi Formal Dress For A Wedding For Men?    

Weddings are memorable events, but often, they come with a dress code. And when a wedding has a semi-formal dress code, you can freely explore your style. It means doing away with stroller suits and tuxedos and choosing a mix of elements from formal and casual attire.

However, this slightly relaxed dress code doesn’t mean anything with overly extravagant prints or too vibrant colors that overshadow the newlyweds.

So a good semi formal dress for men to wear at a wedding would be anything that has in-between elements. The outfit to choose may differ based on the theme that your wedding host provides. But avoid accessories like pocket squares and cufflinks, as they belong strictly in the ‘formal’ section. 

Closet Essentials

  • Dress shirt: This is the basic foundation of typical semi-formal wedding attire. Wearing one indicates that you respect the dress code your host has provided. So, get a dress shirt in a neutral color like white, pastel blue, or tan; you can save them for several wedding invitations. 
  • Dress suit: Since a semi-formal dress is more formal than a casual one, you cannot do without a fitting suit. Buy something with a bit of fun texture and color to fit into the semi-formal code. And you can wear it unbuttoned, unlike the formal dress code.
  • Dress pants and jackets: When you cannot find a suit, you must invest in matching separates. Good dress pants and suit jackets made of cotton and twill or a wool blend look flattering on everyone. A rule of thumb is to choose matching colors and fabrics.
  • Shoes: Brogues, monk shoes, and loafers are great footwear options for a semi-formal wedding dress. The best way to style them is to match them with the color of your pants.
semi formal dress for men,

How To Dress For A Semi Formal Dinner For Men?  

Dinners can be events where deep discussions take place or just a fun get-together with colleagues and acquaintances. Sometimes you have to dress up for the occasion, but you’re free to explore your style when it calls for a semi-formal dress code.

Since dinners are mostly held in the evenings, you want to ensure that you incorporate the right mood and feeling by choosing colors and wardrobe pieces that match the mood.

One no-fail way to do this is by choosing darker pieces accentuating your style. 

Closet Essentials

  • Tailored suit: Semi-formal dinners are when you can get creative with wardrobe options. Keep the black suit out and wear something that will make it easy for your dinner acquaintances to feel comfortable. A navy or brown suit works well for dinner; you can even choose one with a bit of texture and pattern.
  • Dress shirt: For a semi-formal dinner, you can choose plain or patterned button-down shirts. If you do choose something patterned, keep them minimal.
  • Blazers and dress pants: If a suit seems too restricting, you can opt for a blazer and dress pants combo. While you have the freedom to explore more diverse options regarding patterns and colors, ensure that they always complement each other. 
  • Shoes: Semi-formal footwear for dinners can be anything from oxfords and derby for a classic look or monk straps and brogues for a relaxed look.

How To Dress For A Semi Formal Event For Men?

Events aren’t just weddings and dinners. So, what do you wear when the dress code says semi-formal? Well, it depends on the type of event you are invited to.

You can go for lighter colors if the event is during the daytime; darker colors should be all you wear if it’s anything past the evening.

Sometimes, the host may add other details to the theme, so ensure that you incorporate such details into your attire in the best possible way. For instance, if the invite asks for a tropical touch to your semi-formal dress, you could try adding a tie with a tropical print that complements your entire outfit.

If you wish to wear a pocket square, skip the traditional white square and choose something that accentuates your style but is not too flashy. 

Your footwear can easily give away your outlook on the event. If you show up wearing running shoes or canvas sneakers, people will see you as disrespectful. So, always choose leather, suede, or velvet shoes to appear fit for the occasion.

semi formal dressed young African American man

What To Avoid

  • Jeans and khaki pants: Jeans are the definition of ‘casual’ and are a total no-no when considering semi formal dress for men. Meanwhile, khaki pants tend to wrinkle easily, making you look underdressed.
  • Polos: Despite the versatility of polo shirts, they do not belong anywhere near a semi-formal event, let alone formal events. Because they are essential garments for many activities, showing up to an event in these will make you look unenthusiastic and underdressed.
  • Sandals: Any footwear that exposes your feet is unsuitable for a semi-formal event. This includes sandals, gladiators, or any shoe with cutouts that exposes your skin.

Summing Up

Semi-formal events are a toned-down version of formal events. So when you get an invite with the said dress code, it means the maximum part of your dress should comprise formal attire. You can leave the ‘semi-formal’ part of the dress code to how you style it.

And if you’re unsure what to wear, go for the more sophisticated option because it’s better to be overdressed than undressed regarding semi-formal events. A good way to start building your semi-formal attire is to choose classic pieces.

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