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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
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.

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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.

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
Getty

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.

Conclusion

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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