What Does Semi-Formal Attire Really Mean?

Keeping track and paying extra close attention to every single dress code of every single invitation that crosses our paths can be exhausting, to say the least. But we have good news. There’s one kind that’s pretty impossible to mess up: semi-formal attire.

The “semi” can throw some people off—we get it. But here’s what it essentially means: You need to be polished, so not too casual. And best of all, you have wiggle room.

Even when consulting one of the most trusted (and traditional) sources of etiquette, Emily Post, the rules seemed quite lax. Short dresses, “dressy” separates, and LDBs made Post’s list—essentially leaving us with plenty of room to interpret the dress code without worry about breaking the so-called rules.

Below, we rounded up some of the coolest examples of what semi-formal attire can be. It’s suiting and playful minidresses, but it’s also gowns with T-shirts and collared wrap dresses. The one thing it’s not: too specific. So find your inspiration ahead, then mix and match to your own taste for the next RSVP on your agenda.