Semi-Formal Dress – What does Semi-Formal dress really mean?
Where do you wear the attire? As with anything there will be varied opinions on the subject. However, this is one of the clothing issues I have very strong opinions about regarding what is proper dress… particularly in Houston. I am pleased to say Houston is one of the cities that has retained a sense of formality.
First, lets review the dressing attire. The following clothing items are suggested for your consideration:
Suit: A solid dark navy two piece suit. In Houston, tropical wool is recommended.
Shirt: A white French-cuff (100% cotton) shirt is required. I prefer that the shirt have a white on white pattern design in the fabric. To assist in achieving an elegant but “understated” look… have a tone-on-tone monogram sewn on the left sleeve. When choosing the color of the monogram I recommend that white thread be selected, however, light or medium shades of gray thread are appropriate. Cufflinks should be tasteful, of gold/gold plate, or silver/silver plate, to match the gentleman’s dress watch.
Tie: My choice in fabrics is either grenadine or wovens. Regarding the tie’s color, I recommend the color combination of silver and blue presented in a small distinguished design or pattern. Other excellent choices are color combinations of silver and maroon, blue and black, or gold and navy. Solid colored ties in gray, darker shades of red or maroon, medium to light shades of blue, or an exquisite solid gold color can complement the look.
Handkerchief: To complement the look, I strongly recommend a white linen handkerchief, folded properly, and placed in the left breast pocket. (There are two basic methods of folding the handkerchief and our capable folks at Norton Ditto will be very happy to demonstrate them.
Socks and Shoes: Solid dark navy socks are required. I suggest over the calf socks to be worn with a pair of black lace up plain leather shoes. If plain toe shoes are not immediatelty available in your wardrobe, then wear black shoes with a minimal degree of design on the toe, such as a “cap” toe.
Where do You Wear Semi-Formal Attire?
• Parties that note semi-formal attire on the invitation.
• If you attend a luncheon, reception, or dinner, for a head-l of-state, or top government official. (Unless black tie is required).
• Attending an official award ceremony or presentation.
• A wedding anniversary. (Particularly if it is held in a formal or elegant environment.)
• If you are invited to dinner at the residence of a head of government.
• Attending weddings in the fall that start before 8:00pm, unless otherwise instructed.
• In the fall after 8:00 pm, a black tie and tuxedo are proper. (A less formal location or special situation may suggest that semi-formal dress is appropriate.) After 8:00 pm if the groom is wearing a white tie and tails, a black tie and tuxedo is normally required for guests.
• Board meetings where key officials are being installed or special presentations are being made. Normally this is suggested for larger corporate type board meetings, state, or national organizations, etc.