Dress Code Decoder

Casual, formal, semi-formal, business-casual...The list is seemingly endless, with ongoing speculation as to what each stage of formality entails. Here at King & Allen, we thought we'd simplify it and show you what is meant at each point on the formality scale...





Casual wear evokes images of comfortable, easy fashion. This look is all about feeling relaxed in staple items such as jeans, khakis, trainers, t-shirts and soft jumpers. For an extra touch, why not invest in a tweed sports jacket, to wear with jeans and add a little bit of flair to your weekend look.

Smart Casual / Business Casual



This seems to be the dress code in most offices these days and the ambiguity of the phrase can cause some uncertainty as to what to wear. Usually, this refers to smart trousers or a smart skirt and a jacket or shirt, not necessarily a full suit. Most business casual dress codes would discourage jeans but sometimes dark jeans are acceptable, as long as they look fairly smart. Usually all paired with a pair of smart shoes, probably not trainers.


Business Formal 



Business formal is usually our favourite - the suit. If your work dress code is business formal it’s worth investing in around 5 or 6 suits (maybe even more!) to have on rotation. For those just starting out with a suit wardrobe, we’d recommend getting black, grey and navy blue suits, as these will always look fresh and stylish and can be used with a range of shirts and blouses to liven up the suit. A subtle pinstripe always looks classic, while a subtle check can add some depth to the overall look. For a splash of colour, you can always add a more daring lining or even a pocket square.





Weddings, business events, parties. A suit for an event is usually a bit more daring than the usual business attire, with a three-piece suit being a great choice. There’s more scope to be more adventurous with the pattern and colour, as well as some of the other details like the lining and the buttons. A waistcoat can be a fantastic addition, making the whole look come together. The waistcoat can either be the same fabric as the suit for a more seamless aesthetic or in a contrasting fabric to add something a bit different. You can also remove your jacket and still look smart!





Formal suits are usually tuxedos (also known as black tie or dinner suits), morning suits and white tie. Depending on the event, will depend on the type of formal suit you’ll want. Tuxedos or black tie, replaced white tie for dinner dress in the 1920s but can be a dashing look for a wedding, as well as a great choice for any formal event. Morning suits, or tail coats, usually worn for daytime weddings, are a traditional look as well as being used for events such as Ascot. While these have dimmed in popularity in recent years, we still think a morning suit can look smart, classy and oh-so-dapper. White tie, which was staple evening wear before the tuxedo took its place, is a white bow tie with a white waistcoat and an evening tailcoat.

If you'd like to chat to us about the suits and jackets we have available for every dress code, please contact us today.


Style Tips & Advice Style History
26 May 2022

How to Make Your Wedding Suit a Memento

Planning for your wedding can be a stressful time for some and the day itself often passes in a blur of joy and excitement. That's why it's important to 'stop and smell the roses' during your wedding journey and remember all of the reasons you've chosen to marry the love of your life. After the event itself, there are a plethora of ways you can look back fondly on the day, from the photos, to the video, to the signatures in the guest book. But did you know that your wedding suit can also serve as a reminder of the best day of your life? Read on to find out how...

26 May 2022

Celebrating Pride 2022

2022 is a very special year for Pride, as it marks 50 years since the first ever march in 1972. While there were only 700 bravely marching then, this year it is expected there will be over 2 million attendees! Of course, many historical milestones have been achieved since 1972.

Style Tips & Advice Style History
26 May 2022

The Platinum Jubilee

Next week, the whole world will be watching as we celebrate 70 years with Queen Elizabeth II on the throne! The Queen has created quite the signature fashion lookbook that deserves its own jubilee. Her style has, quite literally, stood the test of time. Through nine decades, with her vibrant pant-suits and matching hats, stunning heirloom brooches - not to mention the symbolism behind every ensemble - it’s no wonder the Queen is our style icon.

Style History

Our Instagram

follow us