Entertainment Fashion & Style Defining Dance and Party Dress Codes White Tie vs. Black Tie vs. Semi-Formal Share PINTEREST Email Print Getty Images Fashion & Style Kids and Teens Accessories Tops & Sweaters Dresses Skirts Jeans Pants Outerwear Lingerie & Swimwear Do It Yourself Shoes Skincare Advice Makeup Hair Fragrance Tattoos and Body Piercings Bumps & Babies Learn More By Cassandra Morris Updated July 14, 2017 As you start to attend sweet sixteen celebrations, semi-formals and graduation parties, you’ll discover that each event has a dress code. Some invitations are pretty straight forward, while others (black tie “optional,” what?) can be confusing. And sometimes, your invitation won’t say anything at all about how to dress… it’s just presumed that you’ll know. So, how do you avoid being over or under-dressed at a party or event? Here’s a break down of what guys and girls need to know about dressing up for those special occasions. White Tie. Black Tie. black tie Black tie Black Tie Optional. Creative Black Tie. Semi-Formal. Semi-formal Cocktail. cocktail dress Dressy Casual. dressy casual events. Any kind of dress, skirt and top, dressy pants outfit or even nice jeans with a dressy top will do.