Although the phrase may seem mysterious when you see it on an invitation, the “after five attire” is actually another way to say “semi-formal.” You might want to look dressed-up but not too corporate-like heading to the office nor too formal like attending a glamorous red carpet event. Though the right choice for you is all about your own personal fashion preferences, keep on reading for our ultimate guide for the after-five attire.
Add a few tasteful accessories to dress up or dress down your office looks.
To dress appropriately for after five events, you’ll simply take your work-day style up a notch. If you think your outfit is too corporate, then add a rhinestone headband or a sparkling bracelet to keep your looks fun and light. Like fashion blogger Veronica Popoiacu, wearing a colorful necklace can be enough to balance your office look without going overboard. On the other hand, if you’re wearing a too simple outfit, then dress it up with a pair of elegant earrings, flirty sandals, leopard print clutch, or a feminine clutch, but limit yourself to just one or two statement pieces to keep from looking overdone.
Go for festive yet classy ensembles.
When it comes to semi-formal dressing, women have a lot of fun choices. Though black is a great choice when it comes to after five attire, you can actually show off your own personal style when you wear a brightly colored outfit made from formal fabrics. This way, you’ll ensure your outfit isn’t confused with basic office attire. Also, a little sparkle can take your look from office wear to a party-ready look. Swap out your regular straight-leg pants for a pair of sequin pants like Kristina Bazan did while keeping her top piece festive in color. This time, skip casual denim fabric or dress them up with a fur scarf-like fashion blogger Blair Eadie did, making her looks party-appropriate.
Top your corporate or too dressy outfits with a leather jacket or tweed blazer.
If you’re wearing a corporate outfit like a pencil skirt with a button-down shirt or a formal dress, balance its formal looks with a leather jacket or a tweed blazer. This way, your leather jacket will add some edge to your office outfits, making them perfect for a party while keeping you dressy and chic all night. If you think leather is too hot for you, then go for a tweed blazer that’s more breathable and classy to keep your looks party-appropriate.
Opt for dressy yet not too formal nor too casual outfits.
Semi-formal doesn’t mean casual-chic. So save your denim items for your casual street style and resort to dressier pieces like a mini skirt, dress pants, palazzo trousers, culottes, pleated skirts, chic sweaters, and such. Since you’re heading to the party, you may go shorter on your hemline to avoid looking like going to the office with a semi-formal look. Like Kristina Bazan, you may think of a chic sweater to team with your white miniskirt that looks cozy and chic.
Play with prints and patterns to create party-ready looks.
Skip your houndstooth, polka dots, and classic stripes that seem too corporate. Instead, be creative in mixing your prints to create stunning looks, or go for statement prints intended for a playful style. Like fashion blogger Masha Sedgwick, you may think of a matching set of blazers and shorts with a plaid print, yet in a modern style of pink hues, to keep your style chic yet not corporate.
By heeding our stylish guidelines, you’ll turn heads at your after-five event, whether you’re attending gallery openings or going to the dance club.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website's content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra's expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.