It is the host’s duty to let his guests know what attire would be most appropriate. “Please come dressed anyway you would like,” is not helpful to a guest who wants to fit in with everyone else. If the host does not make the suitable attire clear, the following guidelines will be helpful.
For an informal dinner, women may wear a pants outfit or a sporty dress and men may wear a sports jacket or blazer.
For a formal dinner, women may select an evening gown, evening slacks or dress, while men can depend on a standard dark business suit and tie or go formally in a tuxedo or dinner jacket. When the invitation says “Black tie” this indicates that you should dress formally, men in a tuxedo with a soft white–front shirt and bow tie, and women in anything from a dressy street–length suit to a long evening dress. “White tie,” the most formal attire of all, is white bow tie, wing collar, and a tailcoat for men. With thin black socks and black patent leather shoes you will be a regular James Bond. (The “white tie” designation is usually limited to diplomatic affairs and very elegant occasions.) For women, “white tie” means long evening dresses and long white gloves. For both “black tie” and “white tie” occasions, women may wear their most sparkling jewelry.