Whether you’re heading to a wedding, party, or even a dinner date, it’s likely that the words semi-formal are something that you’ve heard a lot. Semi-formal is a popular dress code, particularly for parties. And with Christmas fast approaching, it’s likely that you’ll be invited to at least one party with a semi-formal dress code. The problem is that it is also a vague one: semi-formal attire can cover an incredible array of different outfits and styles. So what exactly is a semi-formal dress code? And how should you wear it? Don’t worry, we’re here to help:
In terms of its formality level, semi-formal sits in the gap that is less formal than a black tie dress code but more formal than a cocktail dress code. In real terms, wearing semi-formal attire translates to wearing something polished and fashion forward, such as an A-line dress that falls just below the knee or an embellished kaftan. If you prefer not to wear skirts and dresses, you could even opt for a well-fitting two piece suit, paired with decadent evening accessories such as velvet heels, gem-embellished clutch bags, and dramatic jewellery.
Semi-formal dressing is much more relaxed than formal dressing (the clue is in the name!) which means that there are some pieces it wouldn’t be appropriate to wear: leave the full length gowns, the elbow length gloves and the tiaras at home! Instead a dress that showcases your lower legs and the shoes would be much more appropriate for the occasion.
The most popular piece to wear for a semi-formal event is a dress, but there are so many possibilities and styles of dresses, that finding the right one can still feel difficult. From long to short, patterned to plain, and of course coloured or classic black, here are our options for the best semi-formal dresses to choose:
If you’re thinking of wearing a short dress for a semi-formal event then be sure not to select one that showcases too much skin: a dress that falls several inches above the knee and is strapless would be more appropriate for a cocktail party or a night out with girlfriends. If you do want to wear a short dress, look for one with sleeves or an unusual neckline, such as a scoop neck or a boat neck. Alternatively consider pairing your dress with a pair of opaque tights to cover the skin and increase the formality level of your outfit.
Don’t think that a semi-formal dress code means that you have to wear something fitted if that doesn’t suit your style: semi-formal wear can be loose and skim over your curves instead. Why not look for a kaftan dress in dark colours and with an embellished neckline or extra sparkle to increase the formality of the piece.
If you want to wear a dress but don’t like to showcase your legs, it is possible to wear a floor-length gown for a semi-formal event, but ensure that the dress itself isn’t too formal or structured. Again, a floor-length kaftan might work best here. Alternatively, choose a dress that has minimal embellishment and avoid over-accessorizing to decrease the formality level.
Semi-formal events are the perfect time to break out those fancy accessories you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to wear: think your finest jewellery, satin or velvet heels, and impossibly small clutch bags.
High heels tend to be the best footwear option for semi-formal occasions, but if you prefer not to wear heels then a dressy flat with a metallic buckle or high shine embellishment would also be appropriate. Coordinating your bag with your shoes will look formal, classic, and won’t ever go out of fashion. Small bags are best for semi-formal events with enough room for your phone, cash and a lipstick: hold an ornate clutch in your hand will attract attention to a fun cocktail ring or a fresh manicure. Paying attention to these kinds of small details is the best way to ensure that your semi-formal attire is chic, polished, and perfect for the occasion.
One Size: The one size kaftan has an inner side seam with a circumference of 140 cm and comfortably fits Australian sizes 8 through to 18.
|Plus Size: The plus size kaftan has a circumference of 210 cm and will comfortably fit up to an Australian size 24.|
Short Kaftans: Both the one size and the plus size short kaftans are 82 cm in length from the shoulder to the base of the hem.
|Mid Length Kaftans: Both the one size and the plus size mid length kaftans are 105 cm in length from the shoulder to the base of the hem.|
|Long Kaftans: Both the one size and the plus size long kaftans are 125 cm in length from the shoulder to the base of the hem.|