What to Wear to a Semi-Casual 50th Birthday Party

by Ruth de Jauregui

The invitation to the 50th birthday celebration arrives, and you eagerly scan down the invite to find the date, time and location. But, then you stumble over "Semi-casual attire." While you're familiar with casual, semi-formal, formal and black tie attire, you may wonder exactly what semi-casual means when dressing for a party.

Semi-Casual Attire Defined

A step above casual, but not as dressy as semi-formal, semi-casual attire generally means slacks, a nice shirt or blouse, a skirt and blouse set or a nice dress. It does not include jeans, shorts, athletic wear, T-shirts, sundresses, flip-flops or sweats. Keep jewelry simple and low-key; semi-casual doesn't include bling. While there are exceptions to every rule, when in doubt, especially for a 50th birthday celebration, it's better to slightly overdress than to show up in a designer jeans outfit and find everyone else wearing silk dresses or slacks and blazers.

Summer Semi-Casual

A warm summer day allows the ladies to choose lighter garb, including sandals, slacks in pastel colors with a matching blouse or lightweight sweater, a knee-length dress with or without sleeves and a light jacket in case the weather turns cool. The men may choose a "Miami Vice" look, with white or tan slacks and loose blazer, a designer T-shirt in a pastel color and loafers. Alternately, a man might choose slacks paired with a tone-on-tone Hawaiian-style shirt and leather sandals.

Winter Semi-Casual

Cold winter weather encourages heavier clothing, including slacks paired with a button down shirt and a sweater for the men and sweater dresses with leggings and ankle boots for the ladies. Ladies may also choose slacks and a sweater or blouse. Men might wear a dark slacks and blazer outfit with a turtleneck instead of a T-shirt or a button-down shirt under a warm sweater. A warm winter coat, gloves and hat keep men and women warm on the way to and from the party.

Evening Semi-Casual

For an evening 50th birthday party, step up the attire to a dressier look. A lady might wear a jersey dress in a simple style with understated jewelry, such as a single pendant or string of pearls. Other dress or slacks outfits might dress up nicely with a scarf or head wrap. While not necessary, men may choose to add a tie to a slacks and blazer outfit. Dark, rich jewel tones are always appropriate for evening wear, whether a semi-casual party or a more formal affair.

About the Author

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui also worked in the Napa Valley as a high-end catering assistant. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement, pet rescue and social issues.

Photo Credits

  • Masha D Trujillo/Demand Media