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Upscale attire might be an unfamiliar fashion term to many people. As the phrase implies, upscale attire usually means dressing a cut above shorts, T-shirts and casual jeans. However, upscale attire does not mean putting on a suit and tie for men or putting on a business suit with a skirt or a pantsuit for women. Upscale attire usually refers to dressing for occasions that take place outside the office.

Upscale Attire Vs. Business Attire

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Upscale attire implies dressing for social occasions. While some business attire might be worn for business-related social occasions, such as an office party, business attire, even business-casual attire, is usually not appropriate for occasions calling for upscale attire. One important difference is that dressy or designer jeans are often appropriate for occasions calling for upscale attire, while this is rarely true for business-casual dressing.

Upscale Attire Vs. Formal Attire

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While upscale attire is often dressy, it differs from formal attire. Formal attire usually requires suits of some sort for men and dresses for women. While a dress might be appropriate for women's upscale attire, the type of dress is different--more like a party frock than an elegant gown. For men, wearing a suit would nearly always be considered too stiff for an occasion calling for upscale attire.

Upscale-Casual Attire

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Upscale-casual attire can be roughly translated to mean cocktail-party attire. For women, this can mean a short dress or perhaps jeans and a dressy top. For men, this usually means a jacket and slacks, but not a suit. A tie is usually not worn. Resort wear, or attire suitable for a cruise, is often also suitable for occasions calling for upscale-casual attire.

Upscale Club Attire

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A phrase often associated with club attire is "dress to impress." For women, this often means more flamboyant or revealing attire than normally worn anywhere else besides the beach. Glitter tops, short dresses and skirts, designer jeans, and heels are all appropriate for upscale club attire. For men, the look is somewhat more complicated. A suit won't cut it, and usually jeans aren't appropriate either. Khaki pants might work with the right shirt or jacket, but not in bland colors or styles.


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Upscale attire implies high-quality materials and often designer labels as well. On the other hand, if an outfit appears to be appropriate to wear to work, it's likely not appropriate for upscale club attire.