The decision as to the guests' dress rests with the host. If the invitation contains no indication in this regard, lounge suit is assumed to be appropriate. In the case of a dinner or a reception given after 6:00 p.m., it is advisable to indicate the type of dress required.

Informal wear

Lounge suit and afternoon dress is usually indicated for receptions held after 6:00 p.m. This attire may be also worn for morning coffee parties, luncheons, afternoon tea and receptions, sherry parties, garden parties, evening outdoor receptions, and evening receptions.

  • Men:
  • Suit and tie. The more important the ceremony, the darker the suit.
  • Ladies:
  • Afternoon dress or suit for luncheons and afternoon activities.

    Gloves are optional. They are either worn or put away. They should be removed for eating or drinking.

    Hat is not usually worn after 5:00 p.m.

Formal wear

  1. Indicated for official receptions during the day.

    • Gentlemen:
      • Morning coat
      • This is a black garment with tails open to the knee, which is worn with grey striped trousers, black socks and shoes, a grey or black waistcoat, a grey silk tie, a grey or black top hat and grey gloves. The shirt must be white; the collar may be soft or starched with the points turned down (in which case an ascot may be worn).

    • Ladies:
      • Afternoon dress
      • Afternoon dress
        Gloves are optional
        Hat is optional, although the occasion of the event may dictate that ladies wear a hat.

  2. Indicated for some official dinners and evening functions, but never worn during the day.

    • Gentlemen:
      • Dinner jacket (black tie)
      • The suit is traditionally black or midnight blue. The trousers, without cuffs, are trimmed with satin or velvet braid extending from the waist to the bottom of the leg on the outside. The jacket is single- or double-breasted with silk lapels. A waistcoat or a cummerbund of black silk, velvet or brocade may be worn. The bow tie is silk. The shirt is usually white, with a pleated ruffle. Cufflinks are gold or silver, with or without precious stones. Shoes are black (natural or polished calf), but pumps may also be worn.

      • Ladies:
      • Dinner dress

        Dinner dress (long or short) or long skirt and blouse.
        Gloves (see above)

  3. Indicated for official evening functions, balls, dinners, receptions and at the opera; never worn during the day. Both partners should be in evening dress:

    • Gentlemen:
      • White tie or "tails"
      • Evening dress consists of a jacket with tails open to the knee and trousers, in black or midnight blue. The lapels of the jacket are silk. The trousers have a double row of satin or velvet braid extending from the waist to the bottom of each leg on the outside. The shirt may be starched or stitched; cufflinks are pearl or gold; the collar is starched and the points folded. The tie is of starched piqué. Shoes are black (natural calf), but pumps may be worn. White gloves and a top hat complete the ensemble. For outdoors, a black overcoat or cape may be worn.

    • Ladies:
      • Long evening gown
      • Long evening gown with gloves.
        If the gown is sleeveless, gloves should be above the elbow.
        If the gown has long sleeves, short gloves should be worn.
        Gloves should not be removed when passing through the receiving line or while dancing.
        If the occasion is an official dinner, gloves should be removed when one is seated at the table, since they must not be worn while eating or drinking.


Indicated for more intimate gatherings held at home with friends or business acquaintances, in a relaxed atmosphere.

  • Men:
  • Sport jacket and tie or open-necked shirt with ascot or turtleneck sweater.
  • Ladies:
  • May dress as they wish, while avoiding extremes in style.

Casual Dress

May be indicated for informal gatherings with close friends, for example, get-togethers around the swimming pool, tennis parties, brunch or the like.

  • Men:
  • Slacks and open-necked shirt; jacket (if one is worn, may be removed on arrival).
  • Ladies:
  • Comfortable, practical attire appropriate to the occasion.

National Dress

In all circumstances, national costumes can replace ceremonial wear. Out of courtesy to guests, this should be indicated in the invitation.


[From "Diplomatic and Consular Relations and Protocol" External Affairs, 1985].