Decoding Dress Codes: A Guide to Levels of Formality (And How to Dress Your Little Girl For Each)

2019 Sep 9th

Decoding Dress Codes: A Guide to Levels of Formality (And How to Dress Your Little Girl For Each)

Every special occasion is a chance for a little girl to be a princess for a day. For a young girl, wearing kids’ formal wear she loves is not just a way to fit in at an event but also a surefire way to make the night fun. It takes a lot to keep a kid entertained and an awesome dress is a great place to start.

You may have experience with adult dress codes ranging from casual to formal, but do you know how to adapt dress codes for kids? We’ll help you decode the most common dress codes that kids will encounter in this post.

Casual

A casual dress code definitely indicates that your kids don’t need to wear formal wear, but this dress code can be more complex than it seems. At a typical casual occasion such as a school day, for instance, a casual dress code means “modest, comfortable clothing practical enough for the daily routine.” In a more proper setting such as a country club, however, a casual dress code might mean “anything other than jeans, tank tops, and tee shirts.”

What To Wear:

For a truly casual dress code, anything goes! For a polished casual dress code, a polo shirt or blouse and cute leggings or a casual dress can both be great ideas depending on what your child prefers.

Smart Casual

Smart casual is another fun dress code that doesn’t require your kids to wear formal wear, per se. One step up from casual, this dress code is often required for cruises and weddings. It’s also the closest thing children have to business casual, making it a great guideline to follow if you’re planning on making your child your plus-1 at a business function. For this dress code, clothe your child in something trendy and polished that shows off her personal tastes.

What To Wear:

A casual dress such as an A-line dressdenim dress or babydoll dress can be a great idea. A young girl who doesn’t like traditional kids’ formal wear might also appreciate the chance to wear a blazer with a fun skirt. If your child plans on wearing a skirt, some cute shorts can help keep her modest even when the twirling begins. For shoes: clean sneakers are generally totally acceptable for a smart casual dress code!

Semi-Formal

This is where things start to get fancy. This dress code calls for kids to wear something one step up from a play dress but one step down from an ankle-length gown. Think of it as a child’s equivalent of a cocktail dress. Kids’ semi formal wear should be comfortable enough to keep your child partying from morning till night.

What To Wear:

Your child can wear any non-casual dress that ends at about the knee, though a longer simple skirt should also be acceptable. View our party dresses for amazing semi-formal options in all the colors of the rainbow!

Formal/Black Tie

First Communions, weddings and formal fancy parties will often call for a formal or black tie dress code. This dress code is the most formal and most demanding, requiring little girls to dress in truly princess-worthy ankle-length or floor-length gowns, fancy leather shoes, and pretty accessories to match.

What To Wear:

Look for kids’ formal wear that matches the theme or color scheme of the event. You may need to look for long white dresses, or you may have some freedom to select a color to your child’s taste. Ask ahead if you’re not sure!

Costume

Not all dress codes are about dressiness! At some point, every child will get invited to a costume party, whether it’s for Halloween or a birthday. The awesome thing about costume parties is that you get to be creative, while the tricky thing about costume parties is that it can be hard to tell how fancy the costumes need to be. While school parties are generally “anything goes,” a church party or birthday party might require costumes that border on kids’ formal wear. Once again, ask ahead to make sure! If there are photos from that same event from past years, you can always use those as a reference.

What To Wear:

Go casual with a comfortable casual costume such as this mermaid dress, this Moana dress, or this unicorn dress set. Or, let her dress to the nines with this genie set or this princess dress. We’ve got plenty more in our dress up collection.

View All Kids’ Formal Wear

Now that you know how dress codes work for kids, you’re ready to find the dress of your child’s dreams that provides all the formality she needs! Shop  by occasion or by season to find just the thing.