Most guys know what formal attire is, but it’s a whole different ball game when you throw in the word “semi.” Add in the fact that the prefix can mean a tractor-trailer or the game before the final game, and there’s a whole new level of confusion. Rest assured that neither of these definitions has to do with semi-formal attire for men, but let’s clarify its meaning.
In short, the word “semi” means half, so semi-formal lies somewhere in between casual and formal. A better way to define the prefix, in this case, is “sort of” or “somewhat” formal. So, save the tuxedo for a black-tie or formal event. It’s not appropriate for a semi-formal event where suiting is more fitting.
Suits, blazers, and pants are all en vogue. However, pay special attention to how you accessorize, as it doesn’t merely come down to a jacket and trousers. Shoes should be in pristine condition, and the shirt—long-sleeved, preferably—should be neatly pressed. A belt and socks are also necessities.
If you’re unsure of the formality when going to a wedding that suggests semi-formal attire for men, adding a pocket square and neckwear will fit the bill. You can toss these aside once you arrive at the event, if they make your look too formal. It’s better to be a bit overdressed. You can always dress your look down, rather than forgo the tie and wish you had worn it instead.
Weddings, of course, are our top answer, but there are other occasions where semi-formal wear is appropriate. You will have the perfect opportunity if you are heading to the theatre or an upscale restaurant. Guys may wear a blazer and trousers to a holiday party or office event, which is a normal semi-formal event. In short, you’ll most likely wear your semi-formal attire again, so making it an investment is a wise choice.
Another thing to consider is when the event is happening. Darker colors are appropriate for evening weddings, and lighter tones are more fitting for the day. However, don’t feel limited by that rule. Pale tones can complement an outdoor summer wedding as daylight lingers into the evening hours.
Several cues can be on the invitation itself, and here are a few suggestions on how to interpret those subtleties. Although these aren’t hard and fast rules, they can help guide your choices on how to dress as a guest.
However, if you still have questions about the dress code, reach out to the couple to clarify. They would much rather have you ask than risk having you wear a tuxedo or denim to their semi-formal wedding.
Hopefully, if you’re getting married or are serving as a wedding attendant, you already grasp what semi-formal attire is. It’s appropriate for the groom and the wedding party to wear less-than-formal clothing. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For some guys, date night consists of a jacket and tie. Others grab their favorite t-shirt and best-loved jeans to head out on the town. Depending on the circumstances, either outfit can be appropriate, yet only one qualifies as semi-formal attire. Suiting isn’t the norm for some, but a wedding is the absolute best reason to kick it up a notch.