Semi-formal men’s attire is one of the most common dress code requirements, but what exactly does this mean? With so many dress code phrases being thrown around it can easily be confused with formal or smart-casual attire. However, semi-formal attire for men has its own set of principles that all men should adhere to. Understanding the unique set of rules of dress codes can help prevent you from being overdressed or underdressed. 

Semi-formal means to dress in a sophisticated manner while showing personal touches in the ensemble. This dress code is very common for weddings or evening events that are not black tie. It can easily be confused with formal attire but formal attire is more traditional as it requires either a black suit or tuxedo. Semi-formal attire is slightly more relaxed while still requiring a blazer with matching dress pants or a 2-piece suit, along with a dress shirt and in most cases, a tie. Semi-formal may give the impression that it’s relaxed, but all men should dress more formal side while taking into consideration what the event is for.

Similar to all dress codes guidelines, the time, date, and place the event is occurring will be a good indicator of what type of outfit you should be wearing. If it’s an evening event, a dark navy suit, dress shirt with matching pocket square, and a tie would be perfectly acceptable as semi-formal men’s attire. For a day time event, a lighter suit such as heathered navy or heathered light blue, with a dress shirt, and consider the tie optional (but always acceptable). Always remember that the dress shirt and pocket square is where you can add personal touches and do a less traditional color such as white, just be sure it still matches the suit. Be careful of going too flashy if the event is at night, and always accessorize with a belt, pocket square, and nice socks.

One of the best aspects of semi-formal attire for men is that you can wear an outfit you actually enjoy rather than something rigid that feels as though it was a requirement. Always go slightly overdressed when unsure of what the event ‘vibe’ is going to be like, but stay away from 3-piece black suits or tuxedos. However, if you only have a black suit for the event, go without the tie and vest. When picking out footwear, always stick with leather shoes that are polished with appropriate socks. 

 Now that we’ve gone over what to wear and not wear when being asked to dress in semi-formal men’s attire, remember these three main rules - go more overdressed than casual, add personal touches with accessories (but not too many), and always consider the event time and place. For more options on semi-formal attire for men, check out our athletic fit gear to find various options perfect for your next semi-formal event!