Leave your minks and furs at home! If you need any cover-up at all, a light shawl will be sufficient for your tropical formal event. Tropical formal attire is generally less fancy than other types of formal attire and dressing for a tropical formal event can be more fun because colors and patterns are more freely incorporated. For men and women, tropical formal attire presents many options for wardrobes.
Tropical Formal Attire for Women
Ladies are lucky when it comes to dressing for formal events in a tropical location. Though events in tropical locations will rarely be referred to as black-tie, the most formal of affairs in the tropics are still less formal than similar occasions elsewhere. Women have many more options for dress in a tropical location than a non-tropical one. Long dresses are always acceptable, as are a variety of necklines and sleeve lengths. Strapless, halter and sleeveless are three of the most common style of dresses for formal events in tropical locations. Materials needn't be as stiff for tropical events as they are for other climates, and fabrics such as cotton, silk and spandex are viable options. Don't shy away from colors. Think pink, turquoise, yellow and other colors you don't normally wear to fancy affairs, as these are all fair game for a tropical event.
Tropical Formal Attire for Men
Tropical formal attire for a man can mean a few things. Formal attire doesn't meant that a tuxedo is required and generally refers to a suit, or even slacks and a sport coat and tie. Suits in the tropics can be lighter in color and weight, for example, a light grey linen suit is acceptable for a tropical formal event. Other materials for mens suits in these locales are seersucker, cotton and lightweight wools. Suits can look and feel lighter when they're light colors, so pastel blue, grey and khaki colors are ideal for wear in the tropics. Alternatively, if you're looking to venture away from a suit - solid slacks, a button-up shirt, tie and sport coat can be worn to a formal event. Depending on the event and the venue, one can gauge whether a suit or separates ensemble will best suffice.
Tropical Accessories for Women
Women attending formal events in the tropics can accessorize their dress or lightweight pantsuit wardrobes with shawls, brooches and jewelry. Shell necklaces, pearls and thin, gauze-like shawls are suitable accessories. Handbags for formal events in these locales can be straw, woven, enamel, nylon or other materials perhaps considered casual in other circumstances.
Tropical Footwear for Men and Women
Women can wear sandals, flats or heels to a formal event in a tropical location. Sandals should be dressier than rubber flip-flops and should either be embellished with beading or sequins or have a wedge or heel. Espadrilles are another type of shoe that can be worn. For men, loafers worn with or without socks are a good option, as are leather sandals in certain instances, depending upon the nature of the event.
Alisa Wolfson is a Los Angeles-based writer. She has contributed to the "New York Post," "Us Weekly," "Angeleno" and "Modern Luxury California Brides." Wolfson also writes a style blog for The Huffington Post.