Semi-formal attire for men: ideas and guide (with photos)

Semi-formal attire for men: ideas and guide (with photos)

Men's dress codes have evolved to become more versatile and creative. Most modern attires for men incorporate function and form, resulting in outfits that look and feel good. One such design is the semi-formal attire for men, which people love for its balance between formal and informal.

Semi-formal attire for men: White button-up shirt with light grey trousers (L), navy blue blazer, brown shirt with mustard yellow trousers (C), beige suit with brown loafers (R)
The semi-formal attire for men is a compromise between formal and casual styles. Photo: Formal Man, @wernhil, @Men Semi-Formal on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC


Semi-formal attire for men is a compromise between formal and casual styles. It maintains the elegance of formal wear; it allows for a touch of personal expression and relaxed comfort. It typically features tailored suits, sleek blazers, smart shoes, and accessories that express an individual's style.

Semi-formal attire for men

What is semi-formal attire for men? The term refers to men's style that balances formal and dressy casual wear. It is less dressy than formal black-tie attire but still more sophisticated than the average casual outfit of a tee shirt and jeans.

What are examples of semi-formal attire? Below is a detailed breakdown of ten designs and ideas for semi-formal attire for men.

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Plaid shirt with black dress pants

A model with a blue (L) and grey (R) plaid shirt with black dress trousers
A plaid shirt with dress pants or a suit with a printed shirt are examples of semi-formal attire. Photo: @evershine_menswear_official on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Black pants are a standard wardrobe staple that syncs with anything you wear. The charismatic plaid shirt and the black dress pants can intensify the fashion game. Carry it off for any formal outing or party and flaunt your unique fashion sense.

Suit with a printed shirt

A man in light grey suit with black printed shirt (L) and a man in cream suit with white printed shirt (R)
The white suit with a printed shirt is a super-stylish and impeccable outfit idea. Photo: @tarocash, @bespokenigeria on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

If you are looking for a semi-formal wedding male attire or prefer playing safe with colour, the white suit with a printed shirt is impeccable. This combination is super stylish and is a fantastic way to highlight the trendy printed shirt. Go for smaller prints, as they blend well with the semi-formal look.

Simple dark suit

Wearing a classic and uncomplicated dark suit makes it possible to look effortlessly stylish and super cool. Inside it, adorn a nice and neat shirt, followed by a pair of formal shoes below. Brown loafers can be statement footwear to complete the look.

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Vest with a suit pant

Embrace the vogue with a vest look, and wear black formal shoes to add a spark to your personality. The combo of the vest, shirt, and suit pants is pitch-perfect. Go for the same-coloured vest and suit pants with a contrasting shirt below it.

Shirt and tie with a sweater

A person with a green V-neck sweater and matching printed tie (L) and a man with a buttoned cardigan and a shirt (R)
The shirt and tie with a neat dark sweater combination is the perfect semi-formal dress code for men. Photo:, @southwick.official on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

If you are looking for the perfect semi-formal dress code for men, the shirt and tie with a neat dark sweater combination makes you look no less. Choose a light-coloured shirt with a patterned tie and a contrasting dark sweater. Accentuate the look by wearing an accessory like a watch and loafers.

Checked shirt with khaki pants

A man in a brown checked shirt with grey khaki pants (L) and a man in a blue checked shirt with brown khaki pants (R)
The checked shirt with khaki pants is a beautiful combo that adds finesse to your persona. Photo: @SeroApparels, @mwendakenya1 on Facebook (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The checked shirt with khaki pants is a beautiful combination that adds finesse to your persona. Go for bright colours, as chequered shirts can spoil you for the colour options. While you have abundant hues above, keep it subtle in the bottom with khaki pants.

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Semi-formal attire with pocket squares

A man in a blue blazer and checked tie with a colourful pocket square and brown dress pants.
Beat the monotony of regular suits with pocket squares to upgrade your appearance instantly. Photo: @typicallytrad on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Beat the monotony of regular suits with the pocket squares. It can upgrade your appearance instantly. Tucking in a handkerchief to the pocket squares elevates the sophistication level. This piece of clothing looks rich and subtle.

Pinstriped jacket and plain suit pants

Raise your fashion game with this incredible pinstriped jacket and plain suit pants. There are multiple options available in pinstripes. Ensemble the stylish plain suit pants and the pinstriped jacket tactfully with one another.

Shirt and denim

Change your style today by being creative with this solid-coloured shirt, denim, and penny loafers combo. This outfit is simple yet elegant and ideal for daytime semi-formal events like weddings and lunch dates.

Blazer and shirt combo

A man in a black blazer with a white shirt and checked grey dress pants (L) and a man in a cream blazer with a black shirt and trousers (R)
The blazer and shirt combo is a well-crafted, structured, semi-formal men's outfit. Photo: @ricky_takrani, @a_to_z_collection_mens_style on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Showcase the semi-formal men's outfit with a well-crafted blazer and shirt combo. The blazer, structured yet not highly formal, pairs effortlessly with a dark or light-coloured shirt, adding a touch of complexity without the immobility of a full suit. It's an ideal apparel for a semi-formal lunch event or a nighttime dinner date.

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Essential elements of a semi-formal outfit for men

The essentials of a well-assembled semi-formal outfit include sophistication and personal expression. For example, when assembling a semi-formal outfit for men, you should prioritise well-tailored suits, preferably in darker colours, lightly coloured dress shirts, sleek polished dress shoes and minimal but tasteful accessories.

However, modern stylists allow for brighter-coloured suits and colourful print shirts. Such combos best suit daytime events.

Semi-formal attire dos and donts

Here is a summary of the do's when assembling a semi-formal attire for an event:

  • Choose a well-fitted two-piece suit or tailored blazer with matching trousers.
  • Stick with lighter colours for daytime events and darker ones for evening occasions.
  • The best shoes for semi-formal attires are polished dress shoes made of high-quality leather with socks.
  • If you are still deciding what to wear, it is better to dress up rather than underdress.
  • Finally, make sure you accessorise your outfit.

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Here is a summarised breakdown of the semi-formal attire don'ts:

  • Stay away from tuxedos or anything more casual than a blazer.
  • For evening events, avoid wearing bright colours and loud patterns.
  • The tie is an optional garment.
  • Stay away from casual shoes.
  • Please do not overdo it with accessories.

Semi-formal vs formal

What is semi-formal? It is a grouping of dress codes worn for events with a level of formality between informal wear and formal wear. Semi-formal attire for men is more relaxed and versatile, featuring suits or sports jackets, colourful shirts, and accessories.

Semi-formal attire is typical in weddings or evening events that are not black tie, with the time, date and place of the event guiding you on the outfit choice.

On the other hand, formal dress codes typically stick to the rule of white dress shirts, bow ties and tuxedos. Formal attires are ideal for fancier and exquisite occasions like black-tie galas. Such outfits leave little room for experimentation but have a polished, classic, sophisticated look.

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Can jeans be semi-formal?

Yes, they can. However, there is a level of requirement to make jeans work for a semi-formal event. For example, choose dark wash jeans that fit well and look classy. Next, pair your jeans with a dressy top or a button-down shirt.

Then, complement the look with a blazer or sports coat with dress shoes, and finally, use accessories like a tie to add texture and colour to your outfit.

Do you have to wear a tie for semi-formal?

No, you don't. Wearing a tie is not a strict requirement for semi-formal outfits. Though optional, a tie can polish your attire, giving it a fancier look.

Semi-formal attire for men has grown in popularity recently. The design is versatile, incorporating elements of traditional formal wear and capitalising on relaxed and playful aspects like vibrant ties and unique accessories. recently published an informative article about the best 70s female outfits. 1970S fashion was about expression, rebellion, and individuality, with designs such as hot shorts, tie-dyes, jumpsuits, and flared jeans.

When envisioning 1970s fashion, you generally think of bell bottoms and tailored shirts. However, there was much more to the '70s style than bell bottoms. Which are some of the best 70s female outfit designs?


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Chris Ndetei (Lifestyle writer) Christopher Ndetei is a junior reporter writer who joined the Yen team in May 2021. He graduated from the Machakos Technical College in 2009 with a diploma in ICT. Chris has over two years of experience in content creation and more than ten working in the hospitality industry. He covers lifestyle/entertainment, focusing on biographies, life hacks, gaming and guides. In 2023, Christopher finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. You can reach him at

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