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Dress Codes (4)

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Jacket Preferred - used by restaurants
      Jacket preferred means that the restaurant wants to encourage gentleman patrons to wear jackets when dining in the establishment, although exceptions may be made depending on the situation and time of day. The restaurant may offer loaner jackets or you may be seated in an out of the way area to maintain the atmosphere they desire.
      For women, dresses are always a good choice in this environment.
 
Jacket Required - used by restaurants
      Jacket required means just what it says. Without a jacket, you risk being turned away by the host or hostess. Many restaurants that require a jacket for dining have a stock of loaner jackets for male patrons who are inappropriately attired. However, they will not allow you in without a jacket, so if there is a question of fit, you could have a problem.
      For women, dresses are always a good choice in this environment.
 
Jacket and Tie Required - used by restaurants
      As with the jacket required environment, these establishments require their male patrons to wear both a coat and a tie to dine in. Many will have loaner coats and ties for the ill-prepared, but there is always the issue of fit.
      Again, women are well-served to wear a dress.
 
Semi-Formal Attire - generally seen referring to social gatherings, and some fine dining
      Semi-Formal is the toughest of the codes to break. It isn't formal, but a dark suit (in black, navy or dark gray) is needed, and in some cases the invitation or code may call for "dinner jackets" though they are slowly fading from use.
      For women, semi-formal means a nice cocktail-length or long dress and something more elegant for the hairstyle.
 
White Tie - generally seen referring to social gatherings, and some fine dining
      White tie is the pinnacle of formal dress. For men it is unwaveringly specific: a tailcoat, white vest, white shirt and white bow tie. Please note: Outside of participating in a wedding party where the choice of tails has been made, the White Tie event is the ONLY acceptable setting to wear a tailcoat, and a tailcoat should only ever be worn with a white tie, shirt and vest. Some men choose to wear tailcoats as part of a "tuxedo" in order to be more "dressy", but the two terms are not interchangeable and neither are the two outfits.
      For women, a white tie affair is the time to pull out all the stops and be as glamorous and sparkling as you can be. Beaded gowns and intricately coiffed hairstyles with your very best jewelry are all called for. It is definitely an occasion to visit the hairdresser and get manicures, facials and pedicures.
 
Ultra-Formal Attire - generally seen referring to social gatherings, and some fine dining
      Ultra-Formal is simply another term for "white tie" and indicates that both men and women dress with the utmost care to be as formal and fashionable as possible.
 
      Now that you know what the codes mean, you should be more than ready to do yourself proud at your next function. And perhaps knowing the different modes of dress will inspire you to use them yourself. Are you planning a holiday party and want to make it a more memorable affair? Try letting your guests know you expect formal dress.
      The wonderful thing about dress codes is that by asking your guests to dress in a specific way, it not only creates a visual atmosphere, but when we dress up we feel differently and therefore act differently. And if you do have a dressy party, consider having someone take pictures, or give disposable cameras as party favors so that your guests can create memories of the evening when everyone looked so nice.
 
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