The Parents Guide To Formal Occasion Attire

As parents, it is not every day we get invited to social events anymore and even when you do, it can seem like a lot of organising; a babysitter, transport and finding a whole outfit! But having some grown-up time with your partner can do your relationship a world of good.

Make the most of it and have some fun! Your children will be perfectly happy with their grandparents or whoever you ask. So let your hair down and get out of mum-mode for one night. However, understandable, when you have been out of the game for so long, it can be difficult to know what to wear. Feeling overdressed or under dressed at a party is not fun. Banish any of those pre-party jitters about your outfit by ensuring you have nailed the dress code for any social event. These helpful tips and ideas will ensure you pick the right outfit to make your night completely perfect.

Black Tie/White Tie
A black tie invite ultimately means formal attire. You should pull out a cocktail dress or long and formal gown and suit up your man in a smart suit or tuxedo. Even that little black dress at the back of your wardrobe is completely appropriate for this type of occasion, so if you put it on and it makes you feel confident- go for it! If the occasion takes place before 6pm, men have the option to just wear a dark suit with a tie, but if the occasion is after 6pm, this calls for a formal tuxedo jacket. These are expected to be black or midnight blue with a single front button on the jacket.

Creative Black Tie
This type of invitation allows room for you to be unique with your interpretation of formal wear. He can go more modern and trendy with his tux, maybe a black shirt and no tie. You should stick with your long gown or cocktail dress, but you don’t have to stick to conservative colours. Go for bold and bright. These types of occasions are an opportunity for you both to have some fun with your formal wear; he can go subtly bold with some Gold cufflinks or a luxury tie pin. You can add in some bright or sparkly earrings or necklace. It’s not as rigid as a black/white tie event, but still pretty formal. Make sure you pick something that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Resort Formal
This occasion attire is most commonly used in the summer for events during the day time. It means that you should dress formal, but comfortable for warm weather. A perfect outfit for you could be a floral maxi dress that reaches the floor or loose cool white linen trousers and a smart short sleeved top.
For him, a smart polo top and tweed knee length shorts would be perfect. Go for light colours to keep you cool and pair with sandals for you and toms or plimsolls for him. The whole point of this attire is to keep you cool while looking smart, so bear that in mind while styling.

Business Formal
When you receive a business formal invitation, it means that a tux is not necessarily required for him, but it would still need to be a dark suit. For you, it would suggest opting for a more tailored dress, almost like office wear, but dressed up a bit more. The whole point of this dress code is to still be business appropriate and it is common for work occasions or events. This means the little black dress we told you to get out of your wardrobe at the beginning of the article? That’s not the dress for this attire. Think more conservative smart.

Cocktail attire
When the invitation reads cocktail attire as the dress code, it is little more casual than black tie events, but still dressy. You can opt for shorter dresses, skater dresses, fitted dresses or even dressy separates. He can go for a suite with a lighter colour maybe grey or a mid-range blue. There is a playfulness and festive attitude implied with cocktail attire. This is why you’ll often see it on invitations for holiday parties, weddings, receptions, class reunions, and anniversary celebrations. Choose a style that suits you and flatters your body shape, you have lots of choices to play with, and you’ll feel a million dollars.

- This is a guest post collaboration.


  1. I don't go out anywhere formal , only place I seem to go these days is down the shops

  2. Useful information
    I always get muddled with these!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Would be nice to go out somewhere but I don't like babysitters only family I trust to look after my children

  5. A lovely attire guide, we never go out without our children, my fiance had his works do last night but I stayed at home with Megan and Mollie, Connor stayed down my mums xxx

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