semi formal dresses plus size

Getting dressed for a big event is hard enough without having to stress about meeting the dress code. So, when you open up that invitation to see the word “semi-formal” staring back at you, it’s only natural to feel slightly worried. After all, what does semi-formal attire even mean? Well, you can stop stressing because we’re here to help. So what are the best semi formal dresses plus size, semi formal dresses for plus size, cheap semi formal dresses plus sizes, semi formal wear plus size, and black semi formal dresses plus size options?  From its exact meaning to how to wear it for different occasions, here are the ins and outs of this popular dress code. With this simple guide in your pocket, you’ll soon know how to nail the semi-formal dress code for women.

What is semi-formal? When it comes to social gatherings or events, anything short of tuxedos and gowns will fall under the semi-formal dress code. The semi-formal dress code is one of the most popular ones out there, not only because it leaves lots of room for creativity but also because it’s flexible enough to be used for both informal and formal parties. Depending on the venue, your organization’s expectations, and your level of creativity, strive for outfits that are both classic and fun. If you’re arranging an outing to an office party or a date night with your sweetheart, there’s no need to go over the top with color or glitz–a simple look just might

Semi Formal Dresses Plus Size

What is Semi-Formal Dress Code?

When it comes to dressing for semi-formal events, nailing the perfect ensemble can be tricky. The code, which, in terms of formality, sits above cocktail attire and below black tie, can be somewhat confusing for those who are unfamiliar with it. To make dressing for a semi-formal function simple, try choosing a polished and fashionable dress that finishes around knee-level. Alternatively, a chic suit can also work for women.

What is Semi-Formal Dress Code

Semi-Formal vs Formal

As its name suggests, semi-formal is a mixture of sophisticated dressing and a more relaxed style. As such, it is more casual than formal dress codes, such as black tie. So, while you would likely wear a full-length gown for a formal function, a chic knee-length dress is often a more appropriate choice for semi-formal events.

Semi Formal vs Formal

Semi-Formal Outfits

When planning your semi-formal outfit, it’s important to consider the type of occasion. Whether you’re dressing for a semi-formal party, business eventwedding or dinner will affect the exact outfit you should wear.

Semi-Formal Party Outfit

The perfect semi-formal party outfit requires a mixture of sophistication and fun. To nail the look, try opting for a chic and simple dress with a playful twist, such as an off-the-shoulder design, unique material or embellishments.

Semi Formal Party Outfits


Milano Cutout Suede Pumps
Monogramme Mini Quilted Textured Leather Shoulder Bag
Oscar De La Renta Gold Plated Faux Pearl Clip Earrings
Solace London The Fiorella One Shoulder Stretch Knit Midi Dress

Semi-Formal Office Outfit

Whether you’re off to a business dinner or a conference, you can create the perfect semi-formal office outfit by selecting elevated versions of your usual attire. No matter if you choose a smart suit or a chic dress, remember to opt for a tailored silhouette and neutral colour palette for a sleek appearance.

Semi Formal Office Attire


105 Leather Pumps
Schoolboy Stretch Wool Blend Crepe Blazer
Untitled 2
Cefinn Twill Midi Dress

Semi-Formal Wedding Attire

Many weddings require guests to dress in semi-formal attire. As such, selecting an ensemble needn’t be complicated. To plan a stylish semi-formal wedding outfit, choose between a knee-length, midi or maxi dress in a comfortable yet chic style. Opt for floral prints or a playful colour and add fashionable accessories to complete your lovely look.

Semi Formal Wedding Outfits


Gianvito Rossi Portofino 110 Leather Sandals
Jimmy Choo J Box Glittered Canvas Clutch
Mercedes Salazar Fiesta Tasseled Gold Plated Pearl Clip Earrings
Temperley London Shire Ruffled Printed Swiss Dot Chiffon Maxi Dress

Semi-Formal Dinner Outfit

If you’re looking to create a stylish semi-formal dinner outfit, consider opting for a sophisticated evening dress. In particular, a style that finishes at the knees and shows off your arms is an excellent option. Also, look out for chic yet playful design details that will enhance your appearance. Alternatively, consider wearing a stylish top and pants for a unique take on this dress code.

Semi-Formal Dinner Outfits


Alexis Mabille Bow Detailed Satin Twill Top
Gianvito Rossi Portofino 105 Suede Sandals
Givenchy Antigona Textured Leather Clutch
Stella Mccartney Metallic Trimmed Silk Crepe De Chine Wide Leg Pants

semi-formal dress code for women

From long to short and black to white, semi-formal dresses come in many styles and designs. As such, finding the perfect option to suit your needs is seriously easy.

Short Semi-Formal Dresses

While full-length gowns are ideal for formal functions, shorter dresses are often more appropriate for semi-formal events. To nail this look, just be careful not to select a design that’s too short or that exposes too much skin.

Short Semi-Formal Dress


AlaÏa Laser Cut Knitted Mini Dress
Cushnie Et Ochs Vika One Shoulder Stretch Knit Mini Dress
Elie Saab Lace Paneled Crepe Dress
Valentino Ruffled Cotton Blend Guipure Lace Mini Dress

Long Semi-Formal Dresses

There are many occasions when a long semi-formal dress is the perfect attire option. To ensure you don’t appear overly formal when wearing a long dress, be sure to keep any embellishment minimal and select a comfortable style.

Long Semi Formal Dresses


By Malene Birger Akumal Embellished Wrap Effect Crepe Maxi Dress
Diane Von Furstenberg Silk Satin Wrap Maxi Dress
Michael Lo Sordo Cutout Silk Satin Midi Dress
Michael Lo Sordo Wrap Effect Velvet Maxi Dress

Plus Size Semi-Formal Dresses

Today, there are many beautiful plus-sized semi-formal dresses for ladies. To nail the look, just choose one that flatters your shape and shows off your gorgeous curves, such as those with a cinched waist.

Plus Size Semi-Formal Dresses


Blackbird Bell Sleeve Dress
Chi Chi Curve
Crinkle Dress With Satin Trims
Wardrobe Pencil Dress With Cornelli High Neck

Semi-Formal Cocktail Dresses

Although a semi-formal dress code is technically more sophisticated than cocktail attire, the two can overlap. To wear a cocktail dress to a semi-formal party or evening event, just make sure that it finishes no more than two inches above your knees.

Semi-Formal Cocktail Dresses


Brandon Maxwell Pleated Crepe Mini Dress
Dion Lee Cutout Canvas Dress
Marchesa Notte Tiered Embroidered Tulle And Lace Mini Dress
Stella Mccartney One Shoulder Satin And Cady Mini Dress

Gold Semi-Formal Dresses

For special and celebratory events, such as those held during the festive season, a gold semi-formal dress can make an excellent option. To ensure your look remains suitably chic, select gold fabrics and embroidery over sequins.

Gold Semi-Formal Dress


Halston Heritage Metallic Lurex Mini Dress
Michelle Mason Lamé Gown
Rachel Zoe Marina Ruffled One Shoulder Metallic Silk Blend Jacquard Mini Dress
Zimmermann Twill Midi Dress

Red Semi-Formal Dresses

If you’re looking to add a sexy touch to your semi-formal outfit, you should consider rocking a red dress. Just make sure that you keep your overall look sophisticated and save the bodycon silhouettes for after-five events.

Red Semi-Formal Dresses_article


Alexander Mcqueen Ruffle Trimmed Crepe Mini Dress
Goen J Asymmetric Ruffled One Shoulder Silk Crepe Midi Dress
Saloni Fleur Silk Jacquard Gown
Victoria Beckham Draped Crepe Midi Dress

White Semi-Formal Dresses

As long as you’re not heading to a wedding, a white semi-formal dress can make an excellent choice. The light colour will help you stand out in a sea of black while still appearing seriously chic and sophisticated.

White Semi-Formal Dress


Preen By Thornton Bregazzi Amber Ruched Silk Satin Midi Dress
Rebecca Vallance Mireya Open Back Lace Midi Dress
Roksanda Strapless Cotton And Silk Blend Dress
Victoria, Victoria Beckham Twisted Crepe And Satin Mini Dress

Black Semi-Formal Dresses

When it comes to semi-formal attire, it’s hard to go wrong with a black dress. The chic colour is perfect for conveying a sophisticated appearance and allows you to experiment with different fabrics and design details.

Black Semi Formal Dresses


Alice + Olivia Lauralei Ruffled Satin Gown
Giorgio Armani One Shoulder Stretch Satin And Stretch Velvet Dress
Marques' Almeida Asymmetric Silk Satin Dress
Solace London Ami Open Back Stretch Knit Midi Dress

Cheap Semi-Formal Dresses

There’s no need to spend a lot of money to get a lovely look. A cheap semi-formal dress can often appear just as chic as an expensive one. If you’re buying online, however, just make sure that you shop reputable brands to ensure that the quality is decent.

Cheap Semi-Formal Dresses


Asos Design Midi Dress With Wrap Skirt
Asos Design Pleated Shoulder Lace Midi Dress
Asos Tall Premium Lace Top Tulle Midi Prom Dress With Ribbon Ties
Tfnc Pleated Maxi Bridesmaid Dress With Back Detail

Semi-Formal Shoes

When dressing for semi-formal occasions, high heels tend to be the best footwear option. In particular, pumps or sandal heels are generally the most appropriate choice. However, for more relaxed semi-formal occasions, such as those during the day or held outdoors, dressy flats can be an ideal alternative.

Semi Formal Shoes


105 Patent Leather Pumps
Alexandre Birman Clarita Bow Embellished Leather Sandals
Miu Miu Crystal Embellished Patent Leather Ballet Flats
Vetements + Manolo Blahnik Satin Pumps

Semi-Formal Hairstyles

There are many semi-formal hairstyles from which you can choose to complete your look, including ponytails, braids, up-dos, half-up designs and loose styles. To nail the perfect appearance, try selecting a style that blends both sophisticated and relaxed aesthetics.

Semi Formal hairstyles

Semi-Formal Dress Code

  • Choose an outfit that is polished without appearing overly formal.
  • Avoid full-length gowns and opt for knee-length dresses instead.
  • Tailor your semi-formal outfit to suit the event you are attending.
  • Select styles in black to project a suitably sophisticated appearance.
  • Complete your look with heels and a chic yet relaxed hairstyle.

Your Guide To Semi-Formal Dresses In Australia

Party the night away! These semi-formal dresses are perfect for your next event. – by Rhys McKay

  • 30 AUG2019
Your Guide To Semi-Formal Dresses In Australia

Do you know your dress codes? You’re probably familiar with the most common ones, like casual, business formal, and black tie. But what about the vague, ambiguous category of “semi-formal”? Although you usually won’t encounter it in your day-to-day, semi-formal events happen much more than you think – and you should be prepared for them.

Every Aussie should have a semi-formal ensemble in their wardrobe, just in case a fancy dinner, cocktail party, or wedding comes up. If you’ve ever had a difficult time dressing up for a dressy event, then this is the guide for you – read on for everything you need to know about semi-formal dresses.

RELATED: Party pretty in five minutes flat

What Is Semi-Formal?

The semi-formal dress code confuses most people because it isn’t strictly defined. It’s definitely dressier compared to smart casual, but it’s more laid-back than formal. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

For men, semi-formal usually entails a suit (tie optional), slacks and a sport coat, or a dress shirt and slacks without a jacket. For women, it’s usually a knee-length dress, but you can also wear a jumpsuit, pantsuit, or a blouse and a skirt.dressed2theninesView Profile

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There are other factors to consider as well, such as the material of your clothes. Most of the time, long dresses fall into the “formal” category. But if it’s a light fabric or fun pattern, it might fall into semi-formal territory. In fact, many modern formal dresses can be styled either way, depending on your accessories, shoes, and hair and makeup.

If you’re still not sure what to wear to your next event, simply clarify with the host. Most event organisers would be more than glad to give you advice on what outfits are appropriate.

What Events Can You Wear A Semi-Formal Dress To?

Events that require semi-formal attire will usually specify it on the invitation, but that isn’t always the case. Here are some occasions where semi-formal dresses would be appropriate:

  • Most weddings, especially day, beach, or outdoor ceremonies
  • Funerals and memorials
  • Dinner and cocktail parties
  • Races and other similar sporting events
  • School formals, dances, and proms
  • Award ceremonies and theatrical shows
  • Office get-togethers
  • Holiday parties
Group of friends around a dimly lit dinner table with drinks


The Top 11 Semi-Formal Dresses In Australia

Amara Milano Tank Dress

Shop: The Iconic

Price: $AUD 299

You can take this simple red dress from day to night by switching into a pair of killer heels. And it provides the perfect blank canvass for your accessories!

Shop the Amara Milano Tank Dress here.

Annabelle Lace Dress

Shop: Miss Runway

Price: $AUD 119

Miss Runway has a lot of cheap yet good-quality dresses for all special occasions. This dainty white lace dress is great for day weddings, dinner parties, and a romantic dinner with your SO.

Shop the Annabelle Lace Dress here.

Jessica Two-Piece Dress

Shop: Noodz Boutique

Price: $AUD 139

This black peplum two-piece adds subtle dimension to your silhouette while also showing off your natural curves.

Shop the Jessica Two-Piece Dress here.

Draped Cocktail Frill Dress

Shop: David Jones

Price: $AUD 295

This trendy dusty rose dress from Shona Joy does double duty – you can wear it to both formal and semi-formal events with the right accessories.

Shop the Draped Cocktail Frill Dress here.

Capri Maxi Dress

Shop: Dotti

Price: $AUD 89.95

Floral patterns and polyester fabric like the one on the Capri Maxi Dress are usually too casual for formal dresses, but it’s absolutely perfect for semi-formal attire.

Shop the Capri Maxi Dress here.

Sheath/Column Lace Off-The-Shoulder Dress

Shop: Formal Dress Australia

Price: $ADU 139

This off-the-shoulder dress is made-to-order, and it comes in dozens of colours. It’s also plus size-inclusive, available up to a 26W.

Shop the Sheath/Column Lace Off-The-Shoulder Dress here.

Khaleesi Dress

Shop: White Fox

Price: $AUD 99.95

We just can’t get enough of the subtle lace detail on the Khaleesi Midi Dress. We’re partial to the wine colour, but it’s also available in other shades.

Shop the Khaleesi Dress here.

Celine Lace Set

Shop: Style Struck

Price: $AUD 139

Two-piece dresses have never looked this elegant. The Celine Lace Set is available in multiple colours up to a size 12.

Shop the Celine Lace Set here.

Cape-Style Wrap Midi Dress

Shop: Pretty Little Thing

Price: $AUD 58

Pretty Little Thing is an online treasure trove of gorgeous dresses. Just check out this long-sleeved dress that looks great for work and a night out on the town.

Shop the Cape-Style Wrap Midi Dress here.

Midi Strappy Cami Dress

Shop: ASOS

Price: $AUD 110

This ASOS dress is a classy take on the short, sequined party dress trend.

Shop the Midi Strappy Cami Dress here.

Bonita Dress

Shop: White Runway

Price: $AUD 449

Look fabulous, opulent, and fashion-forward in this asymmetrical Bonita Dress from White Runway, also available in white.

Shop the Bonita Dress here.


Even though semi-formal events don’t happen every day, it’s always useful to have a dressy outfit ready when you need it. These stores will help you find the perfect semi-formal dress (or two) to add to your wardrobe, so you’re always prepared for fancy occasions.

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