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What to Wear to a Corporate Event

A group of work colleagues enjoying a glass of champaign at a work event.

Corporate events come in various shapes and sizes, and deciphering the appropriate attire can sometimes feel like navigating a fashion maze.

Whether it’s an elegant gala, a business conference, or a laid-back BBQ, choosing the right outfit is essential to make a positive impression and feel confident the whole time.

Let’s explore how to select corporate event attire, break down the dress code, consider the event type, venue, and season, and provide outfit suggestions for each dress code category.

How to Choose Corporate Event Attire

A corporate boardroom with professionally dressed people having conversations in separate groups.

When figuring out how to dress for a professional event, you have to consider a few factors. The event dress code, the type of event you’re attending, the venue where it will be, and the season all impact what clothes will help craft the perfect outfit. Let’s dig into those a bit more.

Dress Code

Start by reviewing the event dress code specified in the event invitation. Dress codes such as business formal or dressy casual provide essential guidance on the expected attire. They give you a clear goal for how you should present yourself at the event.

Event Type

Consider the nature of the event. Is it a formal awards ceremony, a business conference, a company party, or a casual BBQ? Tailoring your outfit to match the event’s tone is crucial. It will help you feel more comfortable as you navigate the event.


Believe it or not, you want to think about the event’s location. Will it take place in a grand ballroom, a corporate office, a rooftop terrace, or a backyard? The venue will influence your attire choice and help you prepare better.


Taking the time of year into account is crucial. Styling for spring, summer, fall, and winter requires different clothing choices to ensure comfort and appropriate style. The last thing you want is to be a sweaty mess wearing wool in the summer or shivering in silk without a jacket in the winter.

What to Wear to a Corporate Event

Woman stands in front of a mirror, holding up a skirt suit to her body to see what it might look like.
Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

Once you have all the event details straight (dress code, event type, venue, and season), it’s time to dive into your attire options. Here are some ideas to help you navigate your corporate event dress codes.

Formal Attire

Formal corporate events often mean black-tie attire and demand the highest level of elegance and sophistication.

For men, you can consider something like a tuxedo. Trying a classic black tuxedo with a bowtie is the epitome of formal attire. Opt for a well-fitted tuxedo jacket and trousers.

Adam Baker Men's Classic Fit Tuxedo Suit

A tuxedo is a great choice for the most formal corporate events.

Make sure you have a crisp white dress shirt to wear under the jacket and vest.

ZEROYAA Men's Business Formal Slim Fit Long Sleeve Button Up Dress Shirts

Make sure your white dress shirt is wrinkle- and stain-free.

Don’t forget about the shoes and accessories. Complete your formal look with black patent leather shoes and black socks. You can accessories with a black bowtie, cufflinks, a wristwatch, or a pocket square for a polished finish.

DECARSDZ Men's Faux Patent Leather Formal Oxford Tuxedo Dress Shoes

A leather shiny shoe is a great way to elevate your formal outfit.

For women, you can’t go wrong with a dress for a professional event that’s high on the formal scale. Even something as luxurious as a floor-length evening gown in a rich color or classic black is an excellent choice for formal events.

Miss Ord Women's Formal Sequins Elegant V-Neck Prom Maxi Dress

Make sure to keep things classy and elevated for your formal attire.

Elevate your look with statement jewelry, such as a necklace or earrings. You can also carry a small clutch purse that complements your gown.

Large Glitter Clutch Evening Handbag for Women

Keep your valuables close by without sacrificing your style.

Opt for elegant high heels to add height and glamor. Lastly, consider an updo or elegant hairstyle to complement your formal look.

mysoft Women's Stilettos Classic Strappy Open Toe Pump

Complete your look with a tasteful shoe that won't make you uncomfortable.

Business Professional Attire

Business professional attire is often selected for conferences, presentations, or corporate meetings. It exudes professionalism without the extravagance of formal wear.

Men likely want to opt for a suit. Make sure to choose a well-fitted suit in classic colors like navy, charcoal, or black. A solid-colored suit with a matching tie is a timeless choice.

Calvin Klein Men's Slim Fit Suit Separates

Snag matching slacks, jacket, and a vest of high-quality materials..

Make sure you choose a well-pressed, long-sleeved dress shirt in white or another complimentary, light color. Choose a conservative tie in a classic pattern or solid color.

Alex Vando Mens Dress Shirts

Remember...your dress shirts don't all have to be white to be considered professional.

Complete the look with polished leather dress shoes and matching socks.

Clarks Men's Tilden Cap Oxford Shoe

Your business professional shoes should be less formal but still high-quality.

Women can confidently go with a pantsuit or skirt suit. Choose one that fits you well in a conservative color, such as navy or charcoal.

Marycrafts Women's Business Blazer Pant Suit Set

Matching slacks and a jacket are a great way to exude professionalism.

Be sure you pair your suit with a tailored blouse or button-down shirt.

Womens Loose Casual Beige Dot Blouse

Make sure you keep your top professional, but don't feel like it has to be boring.

For the finishing touches, choose some classic heels or closed-toe pumps with a modest height, then keep jewelry understated and professional.

Nine West Classics Tri Tone Strand Necklace

Keep your jewelry elegant but conservative and not too flashy.

Dressy Casual Attire

Dressy casual attire strikes a balance between professional and relaxed. It’s perfect for company parties, networking events, or semi-formal gatherings. The right company party outfit will look nice and polished but still show off your personality.

Men would do well to pair a well-fitted blazer with dress slacks in coordinating colors.

Choose a quality dress shirt, either plain or with a subtle pattern. Depending on the event, you can add a tie or opt for an open-collar look.

Amazon Essentials Men's Regular-Fit Short-Sleeve Print Shirt

Show off a little of your personality with your shirt, but make sure to keep it dressy.

Select something like polished leather loafers for a good finishing touch to a company party outfit.

Cole Haan Men's Pinch Penny Loafer

A loafer is a great addition to any dressy casual look.

Women may want to choose a blouse and a quality pair of slacks for a solid dressy casual look.

Lee womens Relaxed Fit Wrinkle Free Straight Leg Pants

A comfortable pair of slacks will carry endless outfits.

Elevate your company party outfit with statement jewelry or a fashionable belt.

MORELESS 2 Pack Women's Leather Belts for Pants

Never underestimate the styling power of a good belt.

Choose comfortable low heels or stylish flats to help you navigate the event comfortably.

Naturalizer Womens Samantha Comfortable Pointed Toe D'Orsay Slip On Ballet Flat

A flattering pair of flats will keep you confident, comfortable, and stylish wherever you go.

Casual Attire

Casual attire is suitable for relaxed company gatherings, picnics, or casual team-building events. It’s comfortable while maintaining a level of neatness. Choose something you feel good in but don’t show up like you just got out of bed or have been lounging on the couch for days.

Men can choose a polo or a casual button-down shirt. Choose something clean and wrinkle-free. Pair your shirt with well-fitting chinos or khaki pants.

COOFANDY Men's Linen Shirt Long Sleeve Casual Button Up Shirt

Find a color you like and get ready to wear your look with confidence.

Wear clean, comfortable sneakers, boat shoes, or loafers.

adidas Men's Daily 3.0 Skate Shoe

Casual dress codes were designed for comfortable footwear.

In cooler weather, add a lightweight sweater or cardigan for an extra touch of style.

Amazon Essentials Men's Crewneck Sweater

A crewneck is a great way to stay warm and stylish during casual events.

Women can show up confidently in a stylish blouse or casual top that suits the season.

SHEWIN Womens Blouses Dressy Casual Fall Fashion

A long-sleeved blouse is perfect for fall casual events.

Pair your top with well-fitting jeans or comfortable casual pants.

Amazon Essentials Women's High-Rise Skinny Jean

A durable pair of jeans are a great way to finish your casual outfit.

Choose comfortable flats or fashionable sneakers. Add a casual belt, sunglasses, and a tote bag for a relaxed touch.

WUHUAISH Trendy Polarized Sunglasses

If the casual event is outdoors, then sunglasses are a necessity.

Decoding the appropriate attire for a corporate event involves following a simple strategy: identifying the event dress code, event type, venue, and season. Once you have that down, you can confidently put together an outfit that will have you showing up in style.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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