For the record: brief resume of the 7 more common types of dress code

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The very old phrase of Latin-origin says that "repetition is the mother of learning". We completely agree with this, so we're proposing to brush up on the basic types and rules of the dress code. Judging by the number of searches on Google, this topic still raises many questions and doubts.  That is why we decided to start the new school year by learning the basics of this (not) easy business to be in all arms and not be disdained at the sight of an invitation to an event that is important for you. The outfits from famous Hollywood movies will help us to deal with it!



Today more and more companies are beginning to massively abandon the dress code policy, but in some areas business attire is still obligatory. To know how to dress professionally, you should learn to distinguish 4 types of office dress code.

1. Business professional

This is the highest level of professional dress code, that is necessary for those who work in low, banking, finance, take up leadership positions, or regularly meet with dignitaries. In this case, the way how you look is directly related to your image.

For women: A knee-length skirt or a pair of trousers with a matching jacket, a collared blouse, mid heel shoes. The acceptable colors are black, navy, and brown. The outfit can be complemented with some conservative accessories.

For men: matching pants and jacket in black, navy, or gray colors; button-up collared shirt in white, beige, or light blue colors; tie; closed-toe oxfords in brown or black.


Morning Glory, 2010 

The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013  (Photos:


2. Business casual

We are going down one step. Business casual dressing is still conservative, but more tolerant of colors, patterns, and accessories.

For women: Skirt suit or pantsuit in such neutral colors as black, brown or navy; collared button-up shirts, formal blouses/tops, or sweaters in any solid color; closed-toe pumps, flats, loafers, boots or heels in conservative colors as black or brown. The acceptable accessories are more spectacular, but not destructing jewelry like elegant watches or necklaces.

For men: trousers, slacks, khakis, button-downs, polos, sport coats or sport jackets; tie is optional; shoes can include loafers, oxfords, or boots.


The proposal, 2009 (Photos:


3. Smart casual

This type of business attire is less strict than the previous one and appropriate for more flexible offices including informal settings. There are no rules, the main thing is to look presentable and stylish at the same time.

For women: trousers and skirts can be replaced with a pair of dark jeans; a collared or dressy top, shirt or blouse; blazers: dresses; sweaters; heels, flats; jewelry and scarves.

For men: sports jackets, khakis, button-down shirts, polos; denim, chinos, suit pants; dress shoes, boots, or clean sneakers; tie is optional.


The Intern, 2015 (Photo:


4. Casual

Casual business attire is a real space of freedom. This involves t-shirts, jeans, and even open-toed shoes. But be careful: such outfits are inappropriate if you have an interview or meeting with clients.

For women: casual pants or skirts; jeans; blouses, tops, sweaters, vests, sweaters or sweatshirts; casual shoes.

For men: casual pants, jeans; any type of shirts; sweaters, sweatshirts, vests; casual shoes.


The Intern, 2015 (Photos:



You're usually asked to wear a cocktail outfit to parties and other semi-formal events. There are no strict rules, in this case, so you have the opportunity to get creative!

For women: any dresses of a "decent" length (an above-the-knee hem is appropriate); an evening pantsuit; heels or pair of flats.

For men: suit; tie is optional.


Sex and The City, 2008 (Photo:


Formal/Black tie

These two dress codes are the fanciest of all. They are reserved for formal or solemn events. Fortunately, in this case, there is not too much choice, so you will not get confused. 

For women:  floor-length evening gown.


The Devil Wears Prada, 2006 (Photo:


For men: suit with a black bow tie.


The Great Gatsby, 2013  (Photo:


White tie

We've finally reached the highest level of formality. This type of dressing is appropriate for very important events as state or royal ceremonies. It is unlikely that any of us will get there, but as we know, forewarned is forearmed.

For ladies: full-length evening gown; gloves are optional; heels; finest jewels and gems, including tiaras.

For gentlemen:  suit with a vest and white bow tie; white gloves are optional.  


Titanic, 1997 (Photos:


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