Dress Code Guide for Chic Special Occasions

Do invitations listing dress codes like lounge, dressy resort, festive, and creative black-tie baffle you? Our handy guide matches the most appropriate dress styles to each fashion level so you’ll fit in beautifully and wow fellow attendees. Those tips will help you shop JJ’s House to choose regular and plus-size special occasion dresses for various celebrations and social gatherings. At our surprisingly affordable prices, you can buy designer visions for multiple situations and seasons.

Country Club Casual

Trendy dresses featuring lightweight fabrics like linen and cotton in pale colors define this preppy style. Add minimal accessories with shoes that will be comfortable to wear at outdoor country club parties.


Lovely knee-length dresses that are appropriate for classy brunches or afternoon teas are lounge ready. Go for frocks that are cute yet flirty while avoiding shockingly low-cut necklines and after-five sparkles. If a revealing look is irresistible, add a jacket to make your appearance more demure.

Business Formal

To feel dressy while looking professional, wear more refined versions of your nicest office apparel. Daytime events like corporate luncheons and conferences call for tailored dresses and low to high heels. Stick with mostly neutral shades so your business formal palette portrays discipline.


Wear short party dresses with high heels to look fun yet appropriate. Select polished yet playful cocktail dresses that refrain from revealing too much. All embellishments, illusion panels, and cutouts should convey sophistication; opt for bright, feminine tints or adorn little black dresses with equally classy jewelry.


When holiday invitations specify festive looks, think chic cocktail attire with extra pizazz like bling in seasonal tones. Search for sparkly beading, sequins, or brooches. Pick shimmering fabrics in traditional merry shades like reds, greens, and golds. Or branch out into cool winter hues like blues, purples, and silvers.

Dressy Resort/Beach Formal

Outdoor party and summer wedding locations determine suitable outfits that mix style and comfort. Try flowing ankle-length dresses with minimal jewelry. Choose dressy resort/beach formal shoes carefully. Wedges go well with grassy settings while flats are ideal for beaches.


This fashion standard falls between cocktail and black tie optional principles. Knee-length little black dresses and short colorful styles meet semi-formal expectations. Strive for sleek, polished looks with a hint of spice.

Black Tie Optional

A more casual and relaxed black-tie version lets you choose short cocktail or long gowns. Imagine quirky yet formal attire. Try adorning ankle-length or longer dresses with big, bold jewelry.

Warm Weather Black Tie

Prestigious formal events like galas, weddings, country club banquets, and cruise line parties use this dress code for outdoor settings usually. Traditional styles include long lightweight gowns with minimal jewelry and white gloves.

Creative Black Tie

Formal attire features standout details from imaginative shapes to lavish drapes and unique embellishments to stunning fabrics. Theme party invitations with distinctive dress codes let you have fun without taking formality criteria too seriously. To match Texas Black Tie, for instance, pair a blue-jean or leather-colored evening gown with cowboy boots. Search by Trend Collections and then Vintage for glamorous 1920s Black Tie looks flaunting flapper inspirations or Art Deco accents in metallic or jewel tones. Add accessories that reflect that period.

Black Tie

Full-length evening gowns are standard, but formal cocktail dresses may suit some events. In general, choose simple, sophisticated, and feminine silhouettes in elegant colors. Long gowns are appropriate for high-end galas and weddings. Graceful little black dresses with eye-catching statement jewelry are acceptable at work functions. Selecting something similar to what you expect your hostess to wear always is a safe bet.

White Tie

Floor-length ball gowns are essential for glamorous occasions using the highest dress code level. Traditional long gloves are today’s optional white tie accessories. Wear them while dancing and drinking but remove them for dinner.

Plus-Size Considerations

Neckline: V-necks will highlight an enviable bust and take unwanted attention away from broad hips.

Sleeves: Delicate lace and embroidery sleeves cover full arms and make your figure appear more fragile.

Colors: A diverse range of vivid tones like purples, reds, yellows, and greens join basic black.

Accessories: Follow the minimalism principle by not overloading your appearance with multiple ornaments. Choose one big, bright accent piece like a spectacular necklace. Skip dainty jewelry, or you’ll look heavier.

Shoes: High heels will stretch out your frame and slenderize your figure.

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