top of page


Formal / White Tie
Semi-Formal Dress Code: Black Tie
Business Dress Code

At Regular Stated Meetings, Eureka-North Shore Lodge members are expected to wear Business Dress - a black suit and tie - to demonstrate their commitment to professionalism and respect for the Lodge. Similarly, guests and candidates should adhere to business attire guidelines with a minimum expectation of business casual; a jacket is required for gentlemen, and a tie is optional. Adhering to these dress codes will ensure a polished and professional image.


Members are also expected to carry themselves appropriately and dress accordingly, whether at Masonic or non-Masonic events. For further assistance, please refer to the dress code guide below.


More Info: Masonic Dress Etiquette: Masonic Etiquette Booklet GL 208; p.5

dress code attire

Range of dress codes for men – from formal to casual.


Formal Dress Code: "White Tie"

The phrase “formal attire” is misunderstood in modern society. Formal attire does not mean suits and ties! It is a substantially higher dress code – requiring clothes that most men don't own. If you request formal attire on an invitation (and you don't belong to an extremely wealthy and upper-class set), understand that you're probably asking the majority of your guests to go through the rental process. Formal wear for men changes depending on the time of day. In daylight hours, it means morning dress with a tailcoat and vest, while at night it means “White Tie”. Both of these are extremely strict dress codes.

It would be unusual (and a bit presumptuous) to request full formal attire for a personal event.


Most White Tie affairs are diplomatic events or high-formality award ceremonies (and the occasional British sporting event).

Unless you're a high society heir or heiress throwing a bash at a New York hotel, White Tie is probably too strict for your wedding or birthday party.


Formal Dress Code: White Tie

Semi-Formal Dress Code: "Black Tie"

Don't let the diminutive phrasing fool you – semi-formal attire is still the strictest dress code most of us will wear in our lives.


Like formal wear, semi-formal attire changes based on the time of day.


In the evening, it is the familiar Black Tie (Tuxedo) ensemble while in the daytime, the “Stroller” (a relaxed alternative to morning dress) is appropriate.


Most modern guests will not be aware of the distinction.


Tuxedos at daytime events are a common occurrence nowadays.


If you, as the host or hostess, wish men to come attired in strollers, it may be worth your while to state this explicitly. Add a phrase such as “Daytime Semi-Formal (Strollers For Men)” in the “Attire” or “Dress Code” section of your invitation.


Some men own their own Tuxedos but for the most part, this is another dress code that will force attendees to rent attire.


Use this request sparingly and only for events of great significance like weddings.

It would be very unusual for anyone outside of the jet-set to throw more than one or two semi-formal events in his or her lifetime!


If you receive a semi-formal invitation, give yourself plenty of time for the rental process.


Expect it to take several weeks from your first fitting and outfit selection for the clothes to arrive and be adjusted.


Be firm with the sales staff and make it clear that you are only interested in true black tie (or daytime semi-formal) attire.


These days, most of the offerings at rental outlets are cartoon-colored costumes for high school proms. This is not real formal and semi-formal wear.

Semi-Formal Dress Code: Black Tie

Semi-Formal Dress Code: Black Tie

Business Dress Code

A “business” or “business dress” code means one thing for men: matched suits.


If an invitation has specifically requested business attire, it's best to err on the side of formality and wear a dark, solid-colored, or pinstriped suit.

Pair it with a white dress shirt, a conservative tie, and black leather oxfords, and you're – no pun intended – in business.


There is a certain amount of leeway at social events – particularly daytime ones – so a lighter gray suit or a dark brown one are acceptable.


For the most part, though, “business dress” means the more formal end of men's suits.


If, on the other hand, the invitation simply says “suits and ties for men”, “casual suits” with lighter colors or more vivid patterns are acceptable.


Strictly speaking, this isn't a dress code. But it is a request you will see from time to time on invitations – particularly to dressed-up but light-hearted affairs like brunches and church outings. This is also what men should wear to court and other formal situations.

Business Dress Code

Business Dress Code

Business Casual Or Dress Casual

There are a number of variations on this phrase and they all mean the same thing.


For men, jackets are still preferred (but not required – and not as part of a matched suit).

The most conventional dress casual outfit for a man is a navy blue blazer with light to medium gray slacks or khakis. (This is such a common dressed-down alternative to full business attire that it's sometimes called “the California suit.”)


If the word “casual” is on the invitation, a fair amount of flexibility is permitted.


Blazers or sports jackets are the dressiest looks within the code. Sweaters or dress shirts without a top layer are more dressed-down.


In general, you're better off showing up with a jacket and tie and then stripping one or both off if you find yourself too overdressed.


It's easy to dress a blazer or sports jacket and slacks down but hard to dress a plain shirt up.


At the bare minimum, a “business casual” invitation still requires slacks or khakis (not jeans) and a collared shirt.


You'll also need leather dress shoes and socks to match the trousers.

Business Casual Or Dress Casual

Business Casual Or Dress Casual

Casual Dress

A “casual attire” invitation is mostly open-ended but there is still the expectation of dressing up for a social event.

Neckties are definitely not needed, but a casual jacket could still be worn.


Similarly, jeans are acceptable if the invitation says “casual”.


Remember, they should be dark, fitted jeans – not plain work jeans or anything with rips and tears.


Leather shoes and collared shirts are still preferable.


The “casual” code tells you that the hosts aren't putting any stock in formality.


They want it to be a relaxed event where guests can be themselves.


All well and good – but you should still look like you made an effort! It's just polite.

Casual Dress

Casual Dress

Understanding “Optional” Dress Codes

Occasionally dress codes will come with the word “optional” attached.


This is mostly done at the higher levels of formality, i.e. “black tie optional.”


What that means is that the hosts are planning on wearing the listed code.


This encourages guests to do likewise if they wish.


It's a way of dressing the event up without requiring that every single attendee meet a high standard that might require rental clothing or expensive purchases.


With an optional dress code, it is of course always appropriate to meet the listed code. (But don't exceed it – you wouldn't wear a white tie to a “black tie optional” event.)


Alternatively, you can wear a close approximation at a slightly lower level of formality.


For example, if the event is “black tie optional” and you don't want to rent a tuxedo, you can instead wear a dark business suit with a plain white shirt and a very reserved necktie.


This gives the same general impression of severe formality as a tuxedo, but without the need for exotic attire.


A slight variation is the “preferred” dress code: like “optional”.


This leaves it up to the guests but with the indication that the hosts would like guests to dress to the maximum standard if at all possible.


“Preferred” leaves a graceful out for guests who absolutely can't meet the dress code.


“Optional” leaves it up to their tastes and preferences entirely.


These are good codes for hosts to use when they're indulging in a very dressed-up appearance but want to make the event more accessible to friends and relatives.


Understanding “Optional” Dress Codes

Business Casual Or Dress Casual
Casual Dress
Understanding “Optional” Dress Codes
bottom of page