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Style guide cheat sheet: How to dress semi-formal

Bobby Schuessler is a beauty writer for SheKnows and is one of the resident experts on hair care and celebrity hairstyles. Bobby is currently a New York City style editor and writer. For inside fashion and beauty trends, follow him on Tw...

Dressed up

Headed to a gala? Or maybe a wedding? Keep your look semi-formal. Not sure what that means? The style guide below will help you ace the dress code.

If an invitation calls for semi-formal, that means you must get dressed up. But, not too dressed up. If you're not quite sure what that entails, follow our dos and don'ts below to grasp the semi-formal dress code.

1

Do wear a cocktail dress

When in doubt, always slip into a cocktail dress for a semi-formal event. Try one in a fun color or printed pattern to really stand out.

Do wear a cocktail dress
Do
Photo credit: Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com
Do wear a cocktail dress
Don't
Photo credit: WENN.com
Feeling The Doves Dress (ModCloth, $56)
Buy
Feeling The Doves Dress (ModCloth, $56)
2

Do wear heels

If you're comfortable enough in heels, wear them. You'll look instantly more put together and dressy. Plus, the right pair will elongate your legs — which is a dream when you're wearing that knee-length cocktail dress.

Do wear heels
Do
Photo credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com
Don't wear flats
Don't
Photo credit: WENN.com
Alister Pumps (BCBG, $117)
Buy
Alister Pumps (BCBG, $117)
3

Don't wear a ball gown

A nice dress? Yes. A ball gown? No. You don't want to appear over-the-top fancy. Keep it sophisticated, yet subtle.

Don't wear a ball gown
Don't
Photo credit: Michael Carpenter/WENN.com
Don't wear a ball gown
Do
Photo credit: PNP/WENN.com
MICHAEL Michael Kors Bodycon Dress (Lord & Taylor, $90)
Buy
MICHAEL Michael Kors Bodycon Dress (Lord & Taylor, $90)
4

Don't carry a tote

If you're headed to a nicer event, leave your everyday work bag at home. Something larger and clunky seems casual, while a clutch looks much dressier.

Don't carry a tote
Don't
Photo credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com
Don't carry a tote
Do
Photo credit: TNYF/WENN.com

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