Semi-formal attire is an outfit that is both casual and elegant. Besides semi-formal events, you can wear it to weddings, cocktail parties, and other formal functions. Learn more about semi formal attire below

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Semi Formal Attire for Women - Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered semi-formal attire?

Semi-formal attire is an outfit that is chicer than business wear but not as sophisticated as formal dresses. Besides semi-formal events, semi-formal attire can be worn to cocktail parties, weddings, and other formal occasions.

Can I wear jeans to a semi-formal event?

Jeans are neither formal nor semi-formal wear. If you’re attending semi-formal events, you would have to replace jeans with dress pants, as jeans are considered casual or smart-casual wear.

Can you wear a long dress to a semi-formal?

Long dresses are appropriate for semi-formal events, as long as they are comfortable and don’t appear overly formal, with embellishments kept to a minimum. Besides long semi-formal dresses, you may also want to consider wearing something chic yet playful such as a dress that shows off your arms and ends at the knees.

What should you not wear to a semi-formal event?

You should not wear anything that’s too casual or too dressy. Avoid wearing rain or winter boots, jeans, streetwear, and other casual items. You may also have to keep embellishments to a minimum unless you’re attending a formal function.

Is a polo shirt a semi-formal attire?

Polo shirts can be worn for semi-formal events, as long as they are unicolored and don’t have flashy designs. They should be worn tucked in and paired with belt and slacks. You can also throw on a blazer over your polo shirt to create a semi-formal look.

What is considered semi-formal attire for a woman?

To nail the right ensemble for semi-formal events, make sure you choose a fashionable and polished attire that ends around the knees. Semi-formal attire for women includes a variety of dresses, skirts, blouses, and pants, which you can mix and match to create a perfect ensemble.

What is the difference between formal and semi-formal?

Semi-formal attire for women is a combination of casual dressing and sophisticated style. As such, it's chicer than casual dress codes but not as sophisticated as formal ones. So, rather than wearing a long dress that's best suited for formal functions, you should opt for a stylish knee-length dress that is suitable for semi-formal events.

Semi-Formal for Women in 2020

In 2020, women have several options with semi-formal attire. This may include a jumpsuit in a dressy fabric, such as cashmere, satin, or silk.

A dress or dressy ensemble with a dressy top, with dressy flats, heels, or strappy sandals may also be a good option. Glitzy jewelry, pearls, and dressy fashion accessories are all acceptable. However, be sure not to overembellish it, or you'll appear to be playing dress-up with your mother's jewelry than wearing semi-formal attire.

8 Different Types of Semi-Formal Attire for Women

Semi-formal dressing is basically a mixture of elegance from formal wear and style from casual dressing, bringing together the best of both elements. If you are invited to an event that implements semi-formal dress code, and you don’t know what to wear, then you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re dressing for a dinner party, wedding, semi-formal party, or a business event, here are some semi-formal attire for women you can take inspiration from.

Simple cocktail party dress

When you get invited to a cocktail party, you can wear a simple chiffon blue shirt dress if you don’t have a cocktail dress in your wardrobe. Chiffon is a nice fabric for blouses. If you have a see-through one, then you must pair it with a cami underneath.

Blouse and pants

Blouse and pants usually mean comfortable and casual. But you can actually wear this ensemble if you are heading to a dinner party, meeting a client, or going off to somewhere you cannot be fully casual. Try matching a pair of khaki pants (made of cotton and finishes around the ankles) with a chiffon blouse (made of linen cotton), and you’ll get a chic, comfortable attire. Complete the outfit with a sling bag and some fine jewelry.


Jumpsuits can be a viable option for semi-formal events – be it weddings or dinner parties. While wearing one can lean towards casual, you can pair it with sandals, tote bag, and some glitzy jewelry, to keep up with the semi-formal vibe.

Black and white attire

If you want to stand out during a formal event, you may want to think past the common semi-formal outfits. Try donning something that’s sophisticated yet fun, such as a black and white off-shoulder dress that will not only flaunt your body but also your style.

Dinner party attire

If you are bored with the cliched outfits for dinner parties, then opt for a chic LBD such as a satin sheath dress. This will take you through the event in sophistication. Make sure to keep your makeup and sandals neutral. Pair this ensemble with a clutch to keep up with the slightly serious atmosphere.

Office outfit

Bored of the same outfits for work? Here’s an office dress that will subtly change your look without attracting attention. The key to acing a semi-formal office look is to wear a muted ensemble, consisting of a top with a volume on the shoulders and hips. This creates an illusion of curves around the hips and waist.

Black slit dress

If you want to wear something that’s not overly formal but keep up with the slightly serious vibe during a semi-formal event, here’s a black-slit dress that will make you stand out. Besides a long camisole dress with a slit on the side, you can nail this ensemble by pairing a sequin crossbody bag, ankle-strap heels, and getting a beachy-wave hairstyle.

Affordable semi-formal attire

There’s no need to shell out money for a stunning semi-formal attire. An affordable semi-formal dress can be as sophisticated as an expensive one. If you're looking for semi-formal wear online, it's best to shop trusted brands to ensure that you’re getting decent-quality apparel.

Now, with these different types of semi-formal attire for women, you can stop stressing about what to wear. So, when you receive that invitation and see that there's a semi-formal dress code, you will feel confident given that you already know how to nail the perfect semi-formal ensemble!

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