The DEN would like too preface this by saying that gender categorization is certainly NOT our intention. We fully acknowledge that while many people prefer to identify as 'male' or 'female', there are also many others who do not. And then there are some males who would rather not wear traditionally male clothing, and some females who would rather not wear traditionally female clothing. And we say, more power to you! It is also a fact that non-binary individuals can and should choose to dress however they want to, as can anyone else for that matter! The 'tips' shown on this page are merely descriptions for people who wanted to know about the traditional (aka prehistoric) dress codes that they weren't too sure about.
1. WHITE TIE
Men: full dress (black tailcoat and pants, white tie, white vest, white shirt) Women: floor length evening gown
Indeed, with all these dress codes, anyone can wear whatever they feel most comfortable wearing.
The most formal dress code at The DEN. Reserved for VIP dignitaries and important events. Recommended, but not mandatory, for the New Year’s Eve Yule Ball (YB2).
2. BLACK TIE
Men: tuxedo Women: cocktail dress, dressy evening suit or separates, long evening gown
This is crystal clear for men—wear a tuxedo. It’s a little more complicated for women, who can technically wear anything from a long dress to dressy separates to a formal cocktail dress. The best way to figure out what to wear is to dress according to what you expect the host to wear. Alternative to white tie at YB2. Default black jacket with black tie, unless specifically stated otherwise. Foolproof Outfit: A long gown for women and a black tuxedo for men. Mandatory at the Annual DEN Burns Supper, where kilts are optional, which is held annually at The DEN on the closest Friday to January 25th.
3. CREATIVE BLACK TIE
Men, for instance, should feel free to wear a black shirt or a red bow tie—something other than the cookie-cutter penguin suit. Women are similarly encouraged to take their look less seriously.
The dress code that allows you to have fun. Still confused? Think trendy black tie. Often it’s a “1920s Black Tie” or “Texas Black Tie” theme, or something relating to the venue, such as a Zoo or Art Museum. Foolproof Outfit: A formal-but-trendy gown for women and a tuxedo with a black shirt for men. Although black tie has not been recommended for DEN Trivia Nights yet, our themed nights, e.g. Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney etc, will soon become creative black tie optional especially when we are fundraising.
4. BLACK TIE OPTIONAL / BLACK TIE PREFERRED
Men: tuxedo or dark suit and tie Women: cocktail dress, dressy evening suit or separates, long evening gown
One of the murkier dress codes, men are given the option of either wearing a tuxedo or a dark suit and a tie. Because men are given the option of dressing in a more casual manner, the dress code is more open for women too, who can wear anything from a long dress to a cocktail number. Think of it like this: You aren’t expected to look as if you’re en route the Oscars, but you should still make an effort with formal attire. Foolproof Outfit: An ankle-grazing dress and statement jewelry for women and a black suit with a bow tie for men. The ‘optional’ classification may be applied to other dress codes, such as creative black tie.
Men: dark suit and tie (aka lounge suit) Women: cocktail dress, dressy suit or separates, short elegant dress
For guys, this dress code calls for a dark suit with a tie. For women, short dresses that are party-ready. When in doubt, wear a little black dress and dress it up with fun jewelry—or, if you’d rather wear color, opt for something bright and fun. Foolproof Outfit: LBD for women and a suit and tie for men. The DEN does plan to host a variety of cocktail parties, usually with a certain period theme, such as Mad Men or ‘The Twenties’.
6. FESTIVE ATTIRE
A dress code that tends to pop up on invitations around the holidays, festive attire is similar to cocktail attire, but with a holiday bent—say a sparkly sequin dress or a red satin skirt. Foolproof Outfit: A sequin party dress for women and a suit and holiday-themed tie for men. The DEN will certainly suggest this for most events around the holidays.
7. BUSINESS FORMAL
The dress code suggestion at many daytime semi-formal events (particularly work lunches and conferences), this dress code calls for a suit and tie for the guys and a tailored dress or a pantsuit for women. The idea is to wear something business appropriate that also feels dressed-up. Foolproof Outfit: A pantsuit for women and a suit and tie for men.
8. BUSINESS CASUAL
Men: sport coat optional, nice pants, collared shirt, no tie Women: nice short dress or separates
Most corporate offices have a dress code that calls for business casual. For women, pants and a blazer, or a pencil skirt and a fun blouse is the way to go. Guys can wears slacks or chinos and a collared shirt. Absolutely no jeans or sneakers. Foolproof Outfit: Black trousers and a tweed blazer for women and khaki pants and a collared shirt (tucked in) for men.
9. SMART CASUAL / CASUAL DRESSY
This dress code calls for a just slightly dressier version of your most casual look. For women, dress up your go-to pair of pants with a fun pair of ankle boots, add heels to elevate flared jeans, or pair a jumpsuit with a collared shirt. For guys, dress up your favorite pair of jeans with a blazer and you’ll be good to go. Foolproof Outfit: Black pants, a blouse, and ankle boots for women, and jeans and a sport coat for men. Recommended when attending DEN Open Houses, which are usually every 2-3 months.
Anything goes in this case, including jeans and sneakers, and this dress code usually means you’ll be uncomfortable in anything too dressy. Foolproof Outfit: Jeans and sneakers for men and women. Often the normal dress code for people attending DEN Tournaments, such as ping pong, archery or chess.
The DEN, The ELY and all our other Meeting Rooms are always available to view by appointment, any day of the week, as long as they're not being used by guests for an event. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 314-222-2111 and we'll get you sorted out.
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