Fashion Dress Codes, Decoded

If you’ve ever opened an invitation and spotted a confusing dress code at the bottom, you’re not alone. Fashion dress codes can be intricate and complicated and downright confusing. Which one is the dressiest? What are the best shoes to wear for business casual? And what’s the difference between black tie, black tie optional, and creative black tie?

We know it’s a lot to keep straight, so to take the guess work out of it, we’ve broken down the most important dress codes to keep straight. From dressed up and over the top to super casual, we’re covering them all. So now when you see “festive dress code” on an invite, you’ll know what to wear. Want to see what each of them entail?

Keep reading to see what fashion dress codes entail, and then shop our outfit recommendations.


The most formal of all dress codes, white tie involves dressing to the nines. Think royal affairs, glamorous balls, and presidential dinners. Guests must adhere to strict guidelines in order to fit in and to make an impression. If you are lucky enough to score an invitation to one of these white tie events, keep your eyes out for full-length evening gowns with little to no exposed skin to keep the look classy and sophisticated. This is not the time to test out new funky fashion trends, so try to avoid loud patterns or textures. As for jewelry, keep it simple with a necklace or earrings. Long gloves are an option, but they’re not required. Tiaras are accepted, as long as you have the title to match.

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