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Western dress codes

Semi-casual is a dress code in the American context. It is less presentational than informal but not as loose as full casual dress.

Semi-casual dress may include:

  • Loafers or cap toe shoes. Sandals may also be appropriate in warm weather.
  • Dark socks are still considered de rigueur for men. Women are given more leniency to wear light colored stockings, especially in warm weather.
  • Trousers in a smooth material or corduroy. Women are allowed skirts or dresses.
  • A button-front dress shirt, sweater, polo shirt, or sweater vest. Again, women are given more leniency, and are often allowed to wear a T-shirt if it is of a luxurious material. Men may wear a necktie, but it is certainly not expected.
  • Almost any kind of coat or hat may go with semi-casual dress in inclement weather. However, a top hat or a woman's Easter bonnet would be decidedly too formal.
  • In most contexts, excessive jewelry is considered out of place with semi-casual dress. Traditionally, this is especially true for men.
  • Hair dyed in artificial colors and heavy cosmetics are generally considered inappropriate for semi-casual wear, although some offices exhibit leniency.

Jeans and tennis shoes can be acceptable, but they must be chosen carefully as they can be too informal for semi-casual.

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