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What Is Semi-Formal?
The semi-formal dress code confuses most people because it isn’t strictly defined. It’s definitely dressier compared to smart casual, but it’s more laid-back than formal. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation.
For men, semi-formal usually entails a suit (tie optional), slacks and a sport coat, or a dress shirt and slacks without a jacket. For women, it’s usually a knee-length dress, but you can also wear a jumpsuit, pantsuit, or a blouse and a skirt.
There are other factors to consider as well, such as the material of your clothes. Most of the time, long dresses fall into the “formal” category. But if it’s a light fabric or fun pattern, it might fall into semi-formal territory. In fact, many modern formal dresses can be styled either way, depending on your accessories, shoes, and hair and makeup.
If you’re still not sure what to wear to your next event, simply clarify with the host. Most event organisers would be more than glad to give you advice on what outfits are appropriate.
What Events Can You Wear A Semi-Formal Dress To?
Events that require semi-formal attire will usually specify it on the invitation, but that isn’t always the case. Here are some occasions where semi-formal dresses would be appropriate:
- Most weddings, especially day, beach, or outdoor ceremonies
- Funerals and memorials
- Dinner and cocktail parties
- Races and other similar sporting events
- School formals, dances, and proms
- Award ceremonies and theatrical shows
- Office get-togethers
- Holiday parties
The Top 11 Semi-Formal Dresses In Australia
Amara Milano Tank Dress
Shop: The Iconic
Price: $AUD 299
You can take this simple red dress from day to night by switching into a pair of killer heels. And it provides the perfect blank canvass for your accessories!
Annabelle Lace Dress
Shop: Miss Runway
Price: $AUD 119
Miss Runway has a lot of cheap yet good-quality dresses for all special occasions. This dainty white lace dress is great for day weddings, dinner parties, and a romantic dinner with your SO.
Jessica Two-Piece Dress
Shop: Noodz Boutique
Price: $AUD 139
This black peplum two-piece adds subtle dimension to your silhouette while also showing off your natural curves.
Draped Cocktail Frill Dress
Shop: David Jones
Price: $AUD 295
This trendy dusty rose dress from Shona Joy does double duty – you can wear it to both formal and semi-formal events with the right accessories.
Capri Maxi Dress
Price: $AUD 89.95
Floral patterns and polyester fabric like the one on the Capri Maxi Dress are usually too casual for formal dresses, but it’s absolutely perfect for semi-formal attire.
Sheath/Column Lace Off-The-Shoulder Dress
Shop: Formal Dress Australia
Price: $ADU 139
This off-the-shoulder dress is made-to-order, and it comes in dozens of colours. It’s also plus size-inclusive, available up to a 26W.
Shop: White Fox
Price: $AUD 99.95
We just can’t get enough of the subtle lace detail on the Khaleesi Midi Dress. We’re partial to the wine colour, but it’s also available in other shades.
Celine Lace Set
Shop: Style Struck
Price: $AUD 139
Two-piece dresses have never looked this elegant. The Celine Lace Set is available in multiple colours up to a size 12.
Cape-Style Wrap Midi Dress
Shop: Pretty Little Thing
Price: $AUD 58
Pretty Little Thing is an online treasure trove of gorgeous dresses. Just check out this long-sleeved dress that looks great for work and a night out on the town.
Midi Strappy Cami Dress
Price: $AUD 110
This ASOS dress is a classy take on the short, sequined party dress trend.
Shop: White Runway
Price: $AUD 449
Look fabulous, opulent, and fashion-forward in this asymmetrical Bonita Dress from White Runway, also available in white.
Even though semi-formal events don’t happen every day, it’s always useful to have a dressy outfit ready when you need it. These stores will help you find the perfect semi-formal dress (or two) to add to your wardrobe, so you’re always prepared for fancy occasions.
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