What is a Casually Elegant Dress Code?
The terms "formal," "semiformal" and "black tie" have been replaced by more nuanced and relaxed codes. You still don't want to be over- or underdressed, though, and deciphering the newest terms can be as challenging as translating a new language. Differing from business casual dress, casually elegant codes call for more formal attire than khakis, leggings, a sundress, polo shirts, loafers, or other trendy clothing items and need to steer more towards cocktail dresses, classy collared shirts, dress pants, dress shirts, formal dresses, bow ties or white ties, dark suits, high heels, sport coats, and other dressy casual clothing for evening events or an elegant look for a day. A stylist is also helpful for these dress code specifics, looking at personal style and dress up codes that could be in place. Smart casual elegant dress codes include a wide range of casual attire and casual wear for more casual looks in elegant fashion.
Upscale restaurants, resorts and even parties may state the dress code as "casual elegance." This description is largely up for interpretation, but you definitely know it's not a tuxedo or floor-length gown. On the flip side, it's far more formal than flip-flops and a T-shirt. How you interpret a call for casually elegant dress largely depends on where you're going to wear it.
For a party or restaurant, upgrade up your normal "casual" attire into something just shy of dressy. For men, this means a streamlined look with dark colors -- such as a charcoal or navy suit or slacks with a corresponding blazer and button-down shirt. A tie is optional, but a belt and dress shoes -- no sandals or sneakers -- are musts.
Women might wear a pants suit or a little black dress with a cardigan or scarf. Separates are also appropriate, as long as they look put together; a dress skirt with a turtleneck or silk blouse fit right in. Dressy heels or flats and neatly styled hair complete the look.
A resort or cruise interpretation of casually elegant might feel a little more loose and fun. A button-down shirt, pressed jeans or shorts and dress shoes can outfit a man, while a woman could wear a maxi dress or a skirt with a flowing blouse. Color and whimsical patterns may make an appearance, but flip-flops, bathing suits and cut-offs are definitely out.