Etiquette is a code of behaviour that enables us to be at our best and most considerate selves. It is not merely the faint sense of guilt that we didn't had the door open for the person after us, or the uneasy awareness that one should hep clear the plates away at the party but all the small niceties that we can do to make loved ones and strangers alike feel good, and in the process ease our own way in society.
Formal or white tie?
Men, if you have been instructed to wear formal or white tie attire you should ask your tailor to make up a coat with tails, a white waistcoat, shirt and bow tie and black polished shoes.
Alternatively, renting the same from an everyday suit store will suffice.
Women should wear ballgowns. It can be a challenge to differentiate between a ballgown and an evening gown, a ballgown tends towards the air of drama.
When the invitation indicates back tie, men should wear a black dinner jacket, matching trousers, a white shirt and black bow tie.
Women should wear an evening gown, traditionally floor length.
Informal or cocktail?
The word informal is meant only in the traditional sense a T -shirt and jeans would be a grave misstep. Men should wear suits, but are not required to wear ties.
For Women It indicates a cocktail dress- a smart dress usually calf length - or knee length.