RSVP Etiquette – Do You Know What to Wear?


You see those embossed words and suddenly you think, “Um, what does that mean?” “What do I wear?” Don’t worry, take a breath and keep reading. I am going to break down what each of those requests means. With this guide you will be dressed correctly and ready to get your party on.

Black Tie – This type of invitation means that gentlemen should show up in a proper tuxedo. That’s right, a tuxedo, with a tuxedo shirt, bow or classic tie and paten leather shoes. For those of you who think that a black suit will fit the bill you are wrong. Don’t even think about it.

Women should attend the event in cocktail or evening gowns. If you are not a dress person women can do a tuxedo or an evening pants suit. Try to coordinate with the person attending the event with you. You don’t have to match but you should compliment each other.

Black Tie Optional – Without a doubt this means you can mix it up a bit. Gentlemen can wear either a tuxedo with the above listed accessories or a black suit. If going with a suit please wear a dark colored tie. Stay to the dressier side of things.

Women should dress as if it was a black tie event.

White Tie – There is no better way to state this then say it means over the top formal. Gentlemen should wear full dress. Meaning a tuxedo that includes a white tuxedo shirt, a white tie and a white vest. There are no variations on this.

Women attending a White Tie Event should only attend in full-length gowns. Cocktail attire and pants suits are not at all appropriate.

Semi Formal – A breather from the tuxedo and gowns. Gentlemen should consider a dark suit if the event is after 6pm. If it is before 6pm consider grey, khaki or navy suits for the events. Base it on the season and what your partner is wearing.

Women can wear cocktail dresses or a short dress that is appropriate for the event. Please no matter your age, do not show up in a mini dress or one that isn’t your size. No matter what size you are, it is possible to look amazing.

Cocktail Attire – Dark suits for gentleman are the way to go. Knee length or longer dresses are what women should wear. Think your favorite little black dress with some show stopping jewelry.

Festive Attire – Mean show up with some sparkle and fun in your outfit. Gentlemen wearing suits could wear a brightly colored or even a holiday tie. Women can go with slacks and a beaded blouse, a holiday colored top or even something sequenced.

Business Casual – Finally and not least. For this type of invitation, gentlemen should go with a more dressed up version of casual looks. You could wear a suit with no tie or even go with a sport coat and well-tailored slacks.

Women can wear a little black dress or even a dressed up version of a pants suit. In either case, no jeans, sandals, t-shirts or polos are appropriate.

See that wasn’t so bad was it? With the guide you are golden and ready to pick out your outfits. If you are still confused call the host and ask what would be good to wear to the party. The final thing you need to finish your ensemble is a smile. It will light up a room and make you more social!

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write by Toma Banner