Semi-formal: about as bewildering as the term “we’re just friends” – The Handlers

Semi-formal: about as bewildering as the term “we’re just friends”

Semi-formal: about as bewildering as the term “we’re just friends”.

So your mate is finally getting married to that preppy girl he’s been dating for way too long.  But the invitation you received in the mail doesn’t look like he’s been consulted at all. Somewhere in between all the ribbons, doves and Celine Dion lyrics, you spot the dress code: semi-formal. Good! He must have put his foot down when she wanted black tie?

But wait, what the hell does semi-formal mean? Somewhere between formal and casual, right? So that means… a formal blazer, a t-shirt and those killer sneaks you recently purchased… right?

Slow down, Kanye. I suggest you read on.

Semi-formal unfortunately still suggests that the attire be formal, but not as stiff as black tie. So there’s some good news: you don’t need to go rent a mothball-smelling tux.  A business suit will do, keeping the colours dark for an evening event and lighter in the daytime. Your shirt will have to be a good quality, button up.  Here you can play with prints and colours but steer clear of full-tilt flamboyance (it is the bride’s day, after all).  Ties are optional, so this really depends on your style. Having said this; it is always better to arrive overdressed, rather than underdressed. You can always leave your tie in the car after the ceremony.

Now, the next question is much debated: are jeans acceptable? I say, it depends on the hosts of the event (and on your jeans!). Unless you’re attending an event in the fashion industry or in the corporate world, I say you can get away with it.  But ONLY if said jeans are well-fitted, dark in colour and without ANY embellishments, rips or – heaven forbid – bleach stains.

Finish off your look with a great pair of brogues (my personal favourite) and a good belt with a normal sized buckle (unless it’s a wedding in the Wild West).  If you feel up to it, you can incorporate a pocket hankerchief that goes with your shirt, tie and blazer. And if you think my instructions are still too vague, it’s intentional. Not to trap you and make you look like a fool, but rather to allow you some freedom. After all, rules are merely guidelines. You still need to look like you.  If you feel like wearing your vellies as some kind of fashion statement, then do it. Just make sure they’re clean please. 


Author | Annamé Kleynscheldt

Annamé started her career in fashion as a personal shopper for Stuttafords, before landing a gig as fashion columnist for the lifestyle publication, The Month. Following a successful tenure in freelance fashion styling, working on both local and international publications, she has returned to her roots in personal shopping. Based at Topshop’s V&A flagship, she can be found saving one fashion victim at a time. |  Annamé on Twitter 

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