How to Dress for a Formal Corporate Event

    “You can Never be Overdressed or Overeducated” - Oscar Wilde


    You have a company or industry function coming up, so how should you dress exactly? Dressing for different event types can be difficult to navigate but chances are the nature of the event will provide guidelines for your attire. Whether it’s a conference, networking event, company offsite, or holiday party, we’ve got you covered!


    Business Casual

    Most conferences or company functions will suggest “business casual” as the dress code.

    • Women
      • Skirt, dress pants
      • Dresses, jumpsuits
      • Dressy top, casual button-down shirt, sweaters, cardigans

    • Men:
      • Slacks or khakis
      • Dress shirt, casual button-down shirt, open-collar or polo shirt
      • Loafer or loafer-style shoes


    Business Formal

    Some conferences or networking situations will require you to be a bit dressier and opt for a more formal appearance. 


    • Women
      • Suit
      • Business-style dress
      • Dress with a jacket


    • Men:
      • Dark business suit
      • Dress shirt, tie
      • Dress shoes

    Festive Attire

    Usually for a holiday function. 


    • Women
      • Cocktail dress
      • Dressy pants outfit or separates, jumpsuit
      • “Little black dress”
      • Feature holiday colors


    • Men:
      • Seasonal sport coat or blazer in your color of choice, and slacks
      • Open-collar shirt or dress shirt
      • Tie - festive or with a holiday theme

    Black Tie

    Very formal situations - such as a gala or fundraiser.


    • Women
      • Floor-length gown
      • Dressy cocktail dress
      • Little black dress (as long as it’s dressy)


    • Men:
      • Tuxedo
      • Dress shirt, tie
      • Dress shoes


    Some other things to consider; temperature, time of year, venue, and geographic location. Always be prepared for temperature fluctuation by dressing in layers. Also, don’t forget - if these are company events be sure to consult your company’s dress code and keep policies in mind. No matter where or what the occasion, you’ll be sure to wow your colleagues at your next function!


    What are some other dress codes you’ve seen on corporate event invitations, company outings, or conference websites? Let us know what they are by leaving us a comment below!


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    Author: Rachel Mazzola