Decoding dress codes has been man’s predicament since God-knows-when. So why has no one drafted a dogmatic constitution on the matter? Simple: Because the norms of style are fickle. It seems what’s cool and acceptable evolves by irrepressible natural selection.
All attempts to pin down what the hell “semi formal” is will, at some point, be deemed futile. Ultimately, how you are expected to dress still depends on a confluence of factors such as time (Edwardian “formal” is Halloween costume by today’s standards), social circles (some more snooty and discriminating than others), and context (“business attire”—wait, uh, which business?), among others.
But discouraged, we are not. We first clarify the three dress codes you're most likely to, or have been encountering of late, and then we'll move from there. Consider this a fashion tutorial, if you will.
Photography: Dairy Darilag