How to Dress for a Formal Corporate Event

    December 21, 2012

    Your company party is this weekend, and you still don’t know what to wear. The invitation states “Formal Attire” in that fancy, cursive writing, but what does that mean? Exactly how formal are you actually supposed to be?

    When it comes to attire for a corporate event, every company is different. Chances are, the nature of the event will provide guidelines for your attire. If you know that your company’s biggest clients are attending the event, it’s a sign to be dressier. If the party is at a luxurious event venue and the invitation states formal, it’s advised to dress formal!





    Standard guidelines for formal attire for women are T-Length dresses, floor length dresses or gowns. Many people hear the word ‘gown’ and think high school prom, sequins and rhinestones, but it’s important to remember that this is a company event. While you’re probably dressing up more than usual, it’s imperative to remain sophisticated as you’re representing the company (and yourself) in a professional manner.


    Many formal dresses do not cover the shoulders, so it is important for women to use their best judgment as to what is and is not appropriate. Your best bet is to bring a shawl or dressy sweater to compliment your dress just in case. Remember to stay professional: no dresses should be too tight, no heels too high, and no cleavage.  If the garment is bunching, it’s too tight, if you’re constantly pulling it up from the underarm/bust area, it’s most likely too revealing.



    Women always think men have it easy when it comes to attire, but they need to pay just as much attention to attire just as much as women. If the event is “Black Tie,” a tuxedo is required. If it is “Black Tie Optional” you can choose either a tuxedo or a fitted, classic suit. At a formal event a complete suit with cufflinks, a tie, and dress shoes is appropriate. Make sure you’re well groomed: hair should be neatly done and facial hair should look presentable. If you’re company requires you clean shaven ever day, you should attend your formal event cleanly shaven as well.


    When figuring out your attire for a formal event, make note of the event location. If the party is outdoors at a New York City rooftop venue during September, women should bring a sweater to keep warm. If the event is inside during the winter, men should expect the heater to be on and should have an appropriate formal dress shirt on under their suit in case they are too warm in their jacket.



    Remember, formal events should be fun, not a hassle. If you don’t get dressed up in normal, day-to-day life, look at this as a chance to get dolled up and elegant for night out! Enjoy yourself and live like the other half for a night!


    How were your guests dressed at the last formal corporate event you attended? Let us know what formal attire you’ve seen or worn in the past by leaving us a comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.