Sometimes certain holiday parties call for a certain type of dress code. Here is what you need to know.
Black Tie / Formal
A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire. Men wear tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.
Semi-Formal or After Five means that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening event (after 6 PM) would still dictate dark suits for him, and a cocktail dress for her. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for her.
Business Formal is the same as Semi-Formal for him, but for women it suggests that women opt for more tailored dressy suits and dresses (nothing too slinky or sexy).
Cocktail Attire means short, elegant dresses for her and dark suits for him.
Informal is often interpreted as the same as Casual but it actually calls for the same dress as Semi-Formal -- dark suits for him, short dresses for her.
Festive Attire is usually seen around the holidays, with the mood of the party being Informal or Semi-Formal. For her, it means to choose looks with a bit of sparkle or (i.e. a beaded sweater with black pants, a red silk blouse with a black skirt).
Dressy Casual calls for dressed-up versions of casual looks. Jeans, shorts, T-shirts and other casual looks are not appropriate for Dressy Casual.
Casual generally means anything goes.