What to Wear to a Semi-Formal Dinner


Oftentimes, companies and other organizations host semi-formal dinners in which their employees or members take part. Sometimes, choosing what to wear when invited to a semi-formal dinner can become problematic. When choosing semi-formal attire, think of weddings where guests do not necessarily have to wear tuxedos and ball gowns, which is formal attire, but also should not wear denim and sundresses, which is casual attire. Semi-formal attire is a step down from formal attire, but is more formal than casual attire.

Semi-Formal Clothes for Women

Semi-Formal Dress

When choosing semi-formal dresses, women should choose those that have lengths that are a little above the knee, at the knee, below the knee or at the ankle. Women should avoid wearing mini-skirts. They should choose satin, velour, gossamer, chiffon and taffeta for fabrics. There are also some stylish pantsuits that are appropriate for a semi-formal dinner that, when worn, look as if one is wearing a skirt. Wear those that are ankle length. The fabric choices should be similar to those mentioned above for dresses. Women should also choose stylish tops on top of pantsuits made with matching or complimentary fabrics. Pants to avoid are tights, denims and khakis.

A black cocktail dress is not only a safe choice for a semi-formal dinner, but it also makes a woman looks stunning. Depending on the fabric, a woman can also wear a dress suit. A dress suit made of silk or brocade is a perfect choice; however, avoid cashmere and wool, for they are not semi-formal enough.

Semi-Formal Clothes for Men

Dark Suit

Oftentimes, men think that wearing linen or seersucker suits, jackets with khaki pants, vests and ties are appropriate for a semi-formal dinner. They are acceptable only if the semi-formal event is during the day; however, they are not appropriate for a semi-formal dinner. Men should choose a dark suit, such as black or very dark blue, to a semi-formal dinner. A dress shirt underneath with or without a tie would be an appropriate match.


Dress Shoes

Women should wear dress heels to go with their semi-formal dresses. They can be closed- or open-toe, as long as they are color-coordinated with the outfit of choice. Women may also opt to wear flats as long as they are dressy enough for the occasion. Women should avoid wearing flip flops, flat sandals and loafers to a semi-formal dinner. Women can wear shoes with or without stockings. When wearing stockings, women should choose nude or black stockings that go with their outfits.

Men should wear dress shoes like oxfords. Black is the choice of color for dress suits; however, for a man wearing a dark brown suit, he can also choose dark brown shoes aside from black. He should avoid wearing shoes in whites or light tans. Men should always choose color-coordinated socks, but always on the dark side. For example, a white pair of socks would look awkward with dress shoes when worn with dark suits. Men should never wear shoes without socks.



Women should wear earrings that go well with the dress. To play it safe, they should choose a pair of studs instead of dangling earrings. They should also choose necklaces that do not overpower the outfit, such as those long, layered chains with many stones. Some may forgo wearing the necklace, especially if the dress has beads. Wearing a ring and a bracelet to complete the look is acceptable. Women should make sure to choose matching metal colors when choosing jewelry.

Men can wear dress watches with dark leather straps or, preferably, with metals. Men can also wear cuff links if desired, so long as they are not those made of plastic or different, bright colors. Some men may also wear matching metal bracelets and a ring.


Black Leather Belt

An evening purse in black or any color that matches the outfit is appropriate for women to carry to a semi-formal dinner. Women may also wear belts that go well with the outfit of choice. Wearing silk scarves and shawls during colder months is acceptable, so long as they go well with the overall look.

Men should wear black leather belts to go with their black pants. A dark brown leather belt would go well with a dark brown suit.



Leave a Reply