How Much Do You Know About Dress Codes?
True or False: You should never wear black to a wedding.
False—wear all black everything if you feel like it. The ban on black is now considered old-fashioned.
You’ve been called in to interview for your dream job. The website makes it seem like a pretty laid-back place. Do you:
Try to match your prospective colleagues’ style. They wear jeans and hoodies, and that means you should too.
You err on the side of “overdressed.” You want to look like you mean business.
You err on the side of “underdressed.” You don’t want them to think you’re pretentious.
You’re attending an industry conference, and the dress code is listed as “business casual.” What do you pack?
Tailored bottoms—either pants or skirts—paired with slightly-more-casual tops (blouses, polo shirts, sweaters)
A couple of suits, some collared shirts, and, if you’re a man, ties
Black-tie optional means:
Tuxedos for men; black dresses for women
Suits for men; floor-length gowns for women
Tuxedos or dark suits for men; floor-length gowns or glam cocktail dresses for women
Which of these clothing items would not fit a “black tie” dress code?
A short cocktail dress
A business suit
Neither of these
You’ve been invited to a beach wedding. Time to break out the rubber flip-flops and cut-off shorts, right?
Yeah! I can’t wait.
No way. Flat sandals are OK but the rest of my outfit should feel dressed-up.
I should check in with the bride or groom, or at least fellow guests, before I make any decisions. I don't want to look out of place.
Your company’s holiday party calls for “festive attire.” What do you wear?
I rock my favorite ugly sweater or pick out something sparkly.
I get super dressy.
I put on whatever I usually wear to work.
It’s mid-July, and you get an invite to a black-tie gala. Can you skip the tie or floor-length gown?
Yes—no one would expect me to wear fancy stuff like that in all this heat.
No—there’s no room for interpretation when it comes to “black-tie.”
Are jeans OK for a party or get-together with a “dressy casual” mandate?
Only if they don’t have holes—and you pair them with a jacket and/or blouse
7-9 correct: You’re pretty savvy when it comes to your sartorial options. Just remember: If you’re ever in doubt about what to wear, err on the side of more formal rather than less formal.
4-6 correct: You’ve heard it a million times: “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” That adage applies to non-work-related affairs, too. If you aren’t quite sure what to wear, try to dress nicer than you think you have to. Even for the most formal occasions, there are always opportunities to show off your unique style, via accessories, colors, silhouettes, and more.
Fewer than 3 correct: You’ve got a strong sense of your own style. That’s great, but keep in mind that your version of “dressy” may be different from another person’s. If you’re torn between an outfit you think might be too dressed up and one that feels too casual, opt for the dressier look. (You can always add accessories that show off your personality.) Remember: Your clothing transmits a message to everyone around you. You want them to know that you’re taking the situation—whether it’s a job interview, a business trip, a holiday party, or a wedding—seriously.