Do invitation dress codes leave you feeling anxious and confused?  The party season will be kicking off soon, so youâ??re bound to come up against a couple of invites with dubious dress codes.  We have put together a simple guide to help you decode any dress code:

Casual: Anything goes â?? Have fun with this one.  (check out the Saress, it’s not a dress, it’s not a sarong, it’s both! – ed)

Smart Casual: This is a more dressed up version of â??Casualâ?: Jeans are appropriate if they are of a dark wash, so dress them up with a nice top or blouse.  Lighter-wash jeans are too casual, so save them for more informal get-togethers.  For him: chinos with a polo shirt and jacket work well.

Semi Formal: Also referred to as â??After Fiveâ?.  For her: Short, elegant dresses â?? long dresses are not required.  For him: Go for a dark suit – tuxedos are not necessary. 

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Cocktail: In many cases, the dress code is the same as â??Semi Formalâ? affairs: Short, elegant dresses for her, and dark suits for him.

Black Tie optional: Otherwise referred to as â??Black Tie Invitedâ?.  For her: Cocktail, long dresses or dressy separates.  For him: Dark suit and tie will be your best bet.

Black Tie: Otherwise known as â??Formalâ?.  For her: cocktail, long dresses or dressy separates.  Classic suits will also be a good choice.  Avoid shiny fabrics for daytime events, as they will make you look overdressed.  Remember that black always looks smarter.  For him: tuxedos with a tie or bowtie.  Jeans are a no-no for both him and her. 

Tip: Keep things a bit more relaxed for morning and afternoon affairs, and more formal for evening gatherings.

If youâ??re still in doubt, call your host.  They will be able to shed some light on the attire they had in mind.  Alternatively, check out www.dresscode.com – if you are travelling overseas and have a couple of invites in your back pocket, this is a great site.  If you plan on staying in SA these holidays, this site will also be useful as we follow UK and Commonwealth guidelines.