Society comes with many rules that need to be followed – some of which aren’t even “official.” Still, there are certain rules that people simply cannot break, even as people become more open-minded and liberal every year.
In the fashion industry, dress codes are among the rules that remain steadfast. However, they did develop into something more inclusive that paved the way to creating some middle ground between formal and casual attires.
If you need help navigating these rules, then you’re in luck. This article serves as a dress code cheat sheet and shopping guide for men and women.
Dress Code for Men and Women
Although men have less complex clothing styles than the ladies, their dress code can still be more complicated than simply matching a shirt with a pair of trousers.
Meanwhile, women have a wider range of selections when shopping in Qatar. As such, they need all the help they can get to create ensembles according to the dress code they intend to follow.
To make things easier, the following list explains the components of the five common dress codes for both genders:
Considered the most relaxed of all dress codes, casual attire is very common today. It is incredibly easy to follow, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.
Men can consider investing in some classic items that never go out of style, regardless of the current trends in fashion. These include:
- Denim jackets
Try to stick to basic colors, too, as they make coordinating an outfit so much easier. As much as possible, avoid graphic tees and just go for clean jeans or khakis that don’t look rugged in any way. (No holes allowed.)
For the ladies, long or short skirts and plain T-shirts or turtleneck tops are also advised for the casual dress code. You can also opt for shorts, depending on the climate and situation.
Other alternatives include:
- Button-down blouses
- Polo shirts
Remember: Casual attire is more informal and focused on a comfortable, clean, and professional look.
The business casual dress code entails what most people wear in the office but without the suit. This dress code also serves as a more versatile and balanced middle ground between casual and formal attires.
However, what you must remember about this dress code is that it never allows denim as part of the ensemble.
For men, business casual can mean:
- Pairing khakis with a collared or polo shirt.
- Wearing loafers or dress shoes.
- Matching chinos with a sweater or dark-colored pants with a blazer.
For women, business casual focuses on looking more polished than casual, but still a bit relaxed. Included among the popular combinations are:
- A fun blouse with a pair of cropped black trousers, accentuated by light jewelry.
- Khakis, dress pants, or a casual skirt with a fashionable top, matched with a pair of heels.
The key is to achieve an office-appropriate look with done-up clothes that don’t look too formal.
Don’t get confused between semi-formal and business casual dress codes. Although they are both bridges between casual and formal ensembles, they are used in totally different situations.
Business casual is most appropriate if you’re attending a conference as a representative of your company or joining coworkers in a meeting or presentation. On the other hand, semi-formal outfits are best worn during social functions that happen after office hours, like weddings and cocktail parties.
Another key difference between the two is the amount and size of accessories worn with the outfit. For business casual, jewelry should be kept minimal, while semi-formal attire can leave more room for more standout pieces that help showcase your personality.
Semi-formal outfits for men typically involve a suit (dark for evenings and light for daytime events) with a long tie, dress shirt, and leather shoes. Vests can enhance the whole ensemble, but are not required.
Short cocktail dresses or that timeless classic “little black dress” should do the trick for women. Long dressy skirts and tops are also considered semi-formal.
Before learning about the formal dress code, you should first know what the phrase “business formal” entails.
Used for formal business events like meetings and conventions, this attire is the upgraded version of the office-appropriate business casual. This dress code typically involves:
- Business suits, a dress shirt, a vest, and a tie with a matching pair of pants and Oxford shoes for men.
- A tailored dress, a formal pantsuit, or a dress skirt paired with high heels for women.
For business formal, stay within a mostly neutral color palette to maintain a serious and no-nonsense vibe required for the outfit.
All formal outfits come off sophisticated and elegant. However, this dress code can be broken down into two more subcategories: black tie and white tie.
- Black Tie
Black tie outfits are more formal than outfits meant for the business formal dress code, but less formal than white tie attire. It is commonly used in most formal events, like proms, formal dinners, the theatre, and weddings.
For men, this means wearing:
- Black trousers with matching tuxedo jacket
- Formal white shirt with pleated or piqué front
- Cufflinks and shirt studs
- Satin, silk, or twill black bow tie
- Black vest or cummerbund (waist sash) that match the tie
- Black high-gloss leather shoes with black dress socks
Meanwhile, women following the black-tie dress code can wear:
- Formal floor-length evening gown (like what you’d see celebrities wear during the Oscars)
- A dressy cocktail dress
- The dressiest “little black dress” available
Although their list is much shorter than what men have, the ladies have more leeway in their outfit choices for black-tie events.
- White Tie
White tie events like galas, balls, and weddings are considered the fanciest of all. In other words, white-tie is the highest dress code level, so be prepared to dress to the nines.
If you’re a lady, you’ll need to shop for a full-length ball gown to match the glamorous occasion you’re attending. Traditionally, white-tie ladies’ outfits also include gloves, though this has become more optional these days.
If you do choose to wear a pair, make sure you keep them on while dancing and drinking, and only take them off for dinner.
Meanwhile, men should wear the following white-tie essentials:
- Tailed black tuxedo
- White tuxedo shirt (either pleated or with a bib-front style)
- White waistcoat
- White bow tie
- Black leather dress shoes
Dress to the Code
Getting into the fashion code entails learning the rules of the common dress codes known today. Before looking into clothing promotions and sales in Qatar, make sure you understand everything presented in this article and consider your unique body type before buying. After all, how comfortable you look and feel in the outfit matters more.