Attending a Dressy Casual Wedding? We Break Down the Dress Code With Examples

Plus, shop outfit ideas for every season and style.
Dressy casual wedding attire outfits for men and women
Monica Mercuri - The Knot Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor
Monica Mercuri
Monica Mercuri - The Knot Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor
Monica Mercuri
Assistant Fashion Commerce Editor
  • Monica writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in fashion commerce content
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Monica was an assistant style and market editor at House Beautiful
  • Monica holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs
Updated Aug 25, 2022
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If you've received an invite to a dressy casual wedding, you might have two questions: "What does that mean?" and "what should I wear?" While dressy casual remains one of the most popular wedding dress codes, it can be hard to decipher what couples envision when they request the attire at their event. While dressy casual is certainly not as formal as a black-tie affair, it still requires you to keep a few fashion rules in mind when selecting your wedding guest outfit. Below, we're breaking down casual attire for weddings, including exactly what it means and how it differs from semi-formal. Then, we're sharing our favorite dressy casual wedding guest outfits to shop for your next occasion.

In this article:

What Is Dressy Casual Attire for a Wedding?

While the phrase "dressy casual" might sound contradictory, it's used to identify the style in between casual and semi-formal attire. It's a dress code that calls for special event clothing that's trendy, relaxed and comfortable. Think of the dress code as attire that is dressier than what you would wear to work, but not as formal as what you would wear to black-tie or formal events. The term "dressy casual" can also appear in different forms on invitations; some couples may choose to write smart casual, upscale casual or fancy casual—but they all generally mean the same.

Allow the time of day, season and location of the event to guide your style choices. And if you're still stuck, remember that it's better to be overdressed for a dressy casual wedding than to be underdressed. Putting effort into your outfit is respectful and courteous to the couple—so jeans, shorts, casual shirts and athleisure are all off limits. For a daytime dressy casual wedding in warmer climate conditions, a cotton or light fabric shift dress is one choice. A button-down shirt tucked into a pair of chinos is also appropriate. For weddings taking place in the evening, consider wearing a slightly more upscale outfit, like a midi dress with statement jewelry or a light-colored suit.

The venue can also provide inspiration for your dressy casual wedding attire. For example, for an event at a winery or upscale restaurant, your outfit should be on the dressier side (like a sleek jumpsuit or a blazer and slacks). Conversely, a relaxed backyard wedding is a place to wear a simple sundress or a dress shirt tucked into a pair of chinos.

Dressy Casual vs. Semi-Formal Wedding Attire

Occasionally, dressy casual and semi-formal wedding attire are used interchangeably. While the styles are similar, a few nuances differentiate the two. Semi-formal is basically a scaled-up version of dressy casual attire. Mini and midi dresses and skirts are great options for both dress codes—but for a dressy casual wedding, you could also pair a statement blouse with a pair of chiffon pants or slim-fit cropped slacks. For men, dressy casual allows you to experiment a bit more when it comes to patterns, materials and fabrics for your suits, slacks and button-down shirts, while semi-formal attire is known for solid, darker colors and subtle patterns.

If you're still unsure of what to wear to a dressy casual wedding, we've rounded up a few of our go-to dressy casual wedding attire looks for women and men, below. Browse through our editor-approved picks and buy your favorite styles on the spot.

Dressy Casual Wedding Attire for Women

We've done our research and gathered the cutest dressy casual outfits for women. From summery floral frocks to versatile wrap dresses, we've included options from all the trendiest retailers, including Petal & Pup, ELOQUII, Reformation and more.

ASOS DESIGN Curve Pintuck Lace Mini Dress in Dusty Blue

ASOS long-sleeve dressy casual wedding guest dress with flowy blue skirt

For the fashionistas who want to keep up with the latest trends, turn to puff-sleeve mini frocks, like this ethereal dressy casual wedding guest dress. The wrap-style bodice and embroidered trim further enhance the breezy cotton silhouette. Simply add silver accessories and a pair of espadrille wedges.

Petal & Pup Akarat Dress in Brown

Petal & Pup brown printed dress for smart casual attire

This printed dress from Petal & Pup is a winner for smart casual attire. From the flowy long sleeves and the V-neckline to the fashion-forward brown animal print, it's one of our favorite styles for autumn. Accessorize with gold jewelry and a pair of mules for an effortlessly chic wedding guest look.

Kiyonna Whimsy Wrap Dress in Navy Blue

Kiyonna blue wrap dress for dressy casual weddings

You can't go wrong with a cute wrap dress for dressy casual weddings. This versatile plus-size style has refined three-quarter sleeves, a wrap-style silhouette and flounces cascading down the skirt. Better yet, the rich navy blue shade is suitable for weddings and events all year round.

Alfani for Macy's Petite Scoop Neck Sleeveless Dress in Olive

Alfani for Macy's petite wedding guest dress for dressy casual attire

Not sure what to wear for dressy casual wedding attire? Turn to fit-and-flare silhouettes in a soft fabric, like this petite sleeveless frock. Other standout features include the chic scoop neck, flowy skirt and functional pockets (yes, please!). Depending on the vibe of your event, it's the perfect piece to dress up or down with accessories.

ELOQUII Tie-Strap Wide Leg Jumpsuit in Black

ELOQUII black jumpsuit dressy casual wedding guest outfit with tie straps and wide-leg pants

Forget the LBD and break out a black jumpsuit instead. You'll look effortlessly chic in this wide-leg design with tie straps, which can be elevated with a pair of flashy earrings or statement heels depending on the occasion. Or, to keep the look casual, consider wearing a pair of flats or strappy sandals.

Reformation Belgium Linen Dress in Danube

Reformation dressy casual wedding guest dress with puffed sleeves

The short puffed sleeves and lightweight linen material make this midi dress a must-have for wedding guests. We're digging the midi silhouette, side skirt slit and captivating blue hue. Paired with heeled sandals and simple jewelry, it's perfectly appropriate for an evening dressy casual wedding.

Sachin & Babi Flutter-Sleeve Floral Dress in Yellow

Sachin & Babi flutter-sleeve yellow floral wedding guest dress for dressy casual wedding attire for women

Don't want to buy a brand new dress for the dressy casual wedding on your calendar? No worries—rent this floral flutter-sleeve wedding guest dress instead. The long, flowy skirt and vibrant design make it an excellent option for a spring or summer dressy casual affair.

Boohoo Tall Woven Ruched Side-Tie Blazer Dress in Pink

Boohoo tall pink blazer dress for outdoor dressy casual weddings

For a tall-friendly option, consider this showstopping pink blazer dress for your next outdoor dressy casual wedding. The vibrant pink hue will earn you tons of compliments, plus it's so on-trend thanks to the popular "Barbiecore'' aesthetic.

ELOQUII Satin Button-Down Maxi Shirtdress in Mountain View

ELOQUII plus-size shirtdress for dressy casual weddings with elegant long sleeves and self-tie belt

This plus-size shirtdress for dressy casual weddings is accented with an adjustable tie belt, meaning you can customize the shape of your look. The collar neckline, elegant long sleeves and shiny satin fabric are ideal for fall weddings. Throw in a glittery clutch to add some sparkle to your outfit.

Lulus Enticing Endeavors Jumpsuit in Emerald Green

Lulus green jumpsuit for dressy casual women's attire

We have major heart eyes when it comes to this green jumpsuit for dressy casual women's attire, thanks to the chunky straps, square neckline and high-waisted pant legs. If the wedding's outdoors, you could even add a cute blazer or jacket to keep you warm or simply as a fashion accessory. Shimmering jewelry and a stylish purse will complete your ensemble.

Dressy Casual Wedding Attire for Men

For dressy casual wedding attire outfits for men, we've pulled dapper options for all seasons and styles. Whether you're looking for versatile suits and blazers or dressy separates—like button-down shirts and slacks—we've got you covered.

Topman Men's Grey Plaid Double Breasted Suit Jacket and Skinny Suit Trousers in Light Grey

Topman men's dressy casual suit with modern plaid print fabric

A dressy casual wedding means you have the ability to wear something a bit more laid-back (think lighter colors, casual fabrics and bolder prints). This suit is the perfect combination of all three. The modern plaid print livens up the gray color, while the soft fabric is comfortable enough to sport all night long.

Johnny Bigg Parker Comfort Blazer in Navy

Johnny Bigg navy blazer for men's dressy casual wedding attire

You don't necessarily have to wear a full suit to a dressy casual wedding. This practical blue blazer is a great alternative to help you look put together without feeling overdressed. Simply pair it with a white or printed button-down shirt, comfortable dress pants and dressy sneakers to finalize your outfit.

Bonobos The Desk to Dinner Shirt in Blue White Fleetwood Check

Bonobos dressy casual light blue printed button-down shirt

Attending a dressy casual wedding in the afternoon? It's totally acceptable to forgo a blazer and stick to a dress shirt and slacks instead. Wear this light blue printed button-down on its own or dress it up with a solid tie. To finish off the look, tuck the shirt into a pair of chinos and slip on some comfy dress shoes.

Rhone Commuter Pants in Khaki

Rhone khaki dress pants for dressy casual weddings

Spoiler alert: You don't have to sacrifice comfort when it comes to dressy casual wedding attire. This brand's fabric technology is designed to feel like athleisure no matter the clothing style. So, even though you're wearing dress pants, you'll be comfortable enough to break out your best moves on the dance floor. Choose from a wide selection of colorways, including Khaki, Black and Navy, to match your outfit.

Johnny Bigg Jim Slim Chino in Black

Johnny Bigg black stretch woven chinos for men's dressy casual wedding attire

For those going to a dressy casual evening wedding, a more sophisticated outfit would be appropriate. Keep it classic with a crisp white dress shirt tucked into a pair of black chinos, like this classy pair made with stretch woven fabric. To elevate the look, add a statement tie or a colorful blazer.

Banana Republic Slim Tech-Stretch Cotton Shirt in Navy

Banana Republic navy blue cotton dress shirt for outdoor dressy casual weddings

If you're attending an outdoor dressy casual wedding, this sleek cotton dress shirt is an excellent choice. We're big fans of this style from Banana Republic because it's crafted with temperature-regulating fabric—so say hello to all-day comfort. Choose from a variety of blue hues, from Dark Navy to Light Blue.

Jean-Paul Germain Camel Hair Sport Coat in Black

Jean-Paul Germain big and tall black sports coat for dressy casual attire

Made exclusively for big and tall sizes, this black sports coat is another appropriate option for dressy casual attire for men—especially for those looking to go more formal. This luxe tailored sports coat can be paired with dress pants for a put-together ensemble, plus it can go with so many different outfits for work, special occasions and beyond.

Boohoo Skinny Double Breasted Suit Jacket in Green

Boohoo Man vibrant green suit jacket for dressy casual wedding attire

Feel free to have some fun when choosing the color for your dressy casual wedding outfit. This vibrant green suit jacket is a great example of a festive, dressed-down style that's appropriate for the dress code. Pair the blazer with the brand's matching green suit pants or simple dressy slacks already in your closet.

EXPRESS Slim Dot Print Stretch 1MX Dress Shirt in Olive Green

EXPRESS olive green dress shirt for men's dressy casual weddings

Here's another festive men's style for dressy casual weddings. This printed dress shirt will definitely get the party started. We're digging the point collar, button-down front and long sleeves with button cuffs. The breathable cotton blend works for outdoor weddings all year round.

Sarah Hanlon contributed to the reporting of this article.

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