Dress Codes Deconstructed - How to Dress to Any Dress Code

01 May 2023

Smart casual, formal, semi-formal, business casual… the dress code options are never-ending (and let’s face it – sometimes they’re just plain confusing)! With a world full of different social media platforms, there is more pressure than ever to present well and live up to the (sometimes unrealistic) standards that have been set for us by celebrities and influencers online. Whether you’re trying to survive your first day at a new job, rock up and socialise at an engagement party, or simply hit the town for a night out, the last thing you want to be worrying about is a potential outfit fail or wardrobe malfunction!

We’re here to deconstruct every different type of dress code, so no matter what the occasion, you’ll always nail the outfit with our handy guide below.


If you’ve scored yourself an invite for an event where the dress code is either casual or informal, basically anything goes. A casual invite means that you can wear almost anything that you find comfortable – so long as it’s not activewear or your pyjamas! Clothing that you can relax in including t-shirts, jeans, cardigans and runners are all suitable options, as well as anything that you can move or walk around comfortably in – think about something you would wear if you were walking around a shopping centre or a park all day. Yes, ladies – this is where you can wear that cliché “jeans and a nice top!”

Clothing options can include:

· Jeans

· T-shirts

· Cardigans and knits

· Runners

· Casual skirts

· Flats or pumps

Smart Casual/Dressy Casual

The casual/informal dress code is probably one of the easiest out of all of them, so let’s delve into something a little more difficult – smart casual. Often, we find people getting confused between smart casual, as it sits just above casual but just below business casual according to the The Trend Spotter. While the smart casual option means that jeans for women are no longer an appropriate option, there are so many options for you to choose from (including many options from our range!) Smart casual is a somewhat ambiguous dress code that calls for polished yet relaxed attire. So, while jeans are what you might consider relaxed, unfortunately, there needs to be an element of polish to this dress code. To really capture this look, try to choose pieces that will provide both elements of comfort and class – such as a cute pair of culottes.

Clothing options can include:

· Culottes

· A nice jacket

· Stylish or patterned pants

· Pencil or midi skirts

· Ankle boots

· Button-up shirts

· Long sleeve knits

The list is endless and surprisingly, although it might be one of the most confusing codes to get your head around, it’s actually one of the easiest in terms of options!

For more assistance with a smart casual dress code, head into your local Biz Corporates stockist, who will be more than happy to help you choose your perfect pieces.

Business Casual

While business casual may seem to be similar to smart casual, there is a slight difference in that business casual tends to be more conservative than smart casual. Business casual is often prevalent in office and workplace environments. Depending on your workplace, there may be some differences in what is and isn’t acceptable, however, the general gist is often the same. This dress code features items you would wear in an office environment - usually feature pieces that are done-up, but not overly formal at the same time. Feel free to dress up your outfit with some cute accessories, a scarf, or even a bold lip.

Clothing options can include:

· Dress pants

· Collared shirt

· A flowy blouse

· Mid-length skirts or dresses

· Kitten heels

· Ankle boots

· Blazers


Similar to smart casual, the cocktail dress code is often a tricky one to navigate and is common for events like weddings, milestone birthdays or business events.

According to Finder, for the ladies, a cocktail outfit generally means a semi-formal style dress with a hemline at the knee or mid-calf. Depending on what the event is for, it also may be wise to steer clear from low-cut necklines and above the knee hems. If dresses aren’t for you, or you simply want to mix things up, a nice jumpsuit or pantsuit is another classy option that you can opt for. To pull the whole outfit together, add jewellery pieces, a pair of heels and a statement clutch.

For the men, avoid denim!! A casual suit or dress shirt and pants will suffice, along with a pair of lace-up dress shoes. Ties and bowties are optional, but this dress code is perfect to play around with accessories such as belts, pocket squares and other coloured accessories to really make your outfit stand out.

Clothing options can include:

· Mid-length or calf-length dresses

· Casual suits

· Dress shirts and slacks

· Optional tie or bowtie

· Stylish accessories such as jewellery, clutches, belts and pocket squares

Formal/Black tie optional

Formal or black tie optional events are slightly more relaxed than black tie, but dressier than cocktail events according to Australian Style Institute. It can be a little tricky to navigate as there is no requirement to wear a floor-length dress, but also a viable option – same goes for tuxes. There is an option here for the ladies to choose either a floor-length gown, a cocktail dress, or even a smart pantsuit while including the same accessory options as the cocktail dress code. Gents – 3-piece suits aren’t essential, but a suit of some sort is a must. Opt for classic suit colours like navy, grey or black and save the coloured, or bright options for more casual events. Pair with a simple tie, dress shoes and if you want to add some flair, add a funky pocket square or pair of cufflinks.

Clothing options include:

· Cocktail dresses

· Floor-length dresses

· 3-piece suits

· Ties and dress shoes

· Stylish accessories such as jewellery, clutches, belts and pocket squares

Black & White Tie

The most formal dress code options include both the black and white tie options. Black tie includes a floor-length, sophisticated evening gown for women, paired with elegant accessories. For the men, a tuxedo or dinner jacket is on the cards with classy colours required, such as black or midnight blue.

White tie is the most formal dress code that there is and differs only slightly from the black-tie code discussed above. It features extremely clean, sharp and elegant outfits and full tuxedos for the men are essential, complete with a proper tuxedo shirt and bow tie. For the ladies, gloves may be expected depending on the function.

These dress codes discussed above certainly don’t cover everything, but it’s a fun start to decoding that wedding or corporate event invite! Our range at Biz Corporates is perfect for dress codes requesting a smart casual, business casual, or business attire dress code, with each piece designed to be multifunctional, and worn with a mix of different garments.

To plan your perfect outfit, head to your closest stockist who will be able to help you put together the best garments for what you require.