I’m sure most have heard the old adage: “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”. This isn’t exactly relevant for DJ’s since most of us are truly happy to be doing what we are doing we just want to be doing it more. I suppose that this is exactly why it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked. If you want to impress, dress to impress. If you want to look the ‘average DJ’ then perhaps you should just keep on dressing average. From the moment you meet with a client to DJ their event, you should dress to impress. During that meeting, you should ask about the attire that will be worn at the events and make a note of it. This is a great question to ask on your planning form so that you don’t show up to an event over or under dressed and if there is a theme, it would surely be embarrassing to miss the memo. Imagine showing up to a Hawaiian shirt and khaki-themed event in a black suit and tie.
There are some simple tips and categories of attire to learn and make use of that will ensure you have always dressed appropriately for your event. While it may be your personality to stand out and make the show your own, these guidelines will ensure you are never doing the opposite and dressing so inappropriately for an event that you stand out in the wrong way.
Dress codes for DJ’s (sorry ladies, but this is mainly aimed at the male DJ’s)
Casual can be defined as something relaxed, occasional, not planned, or informal (however, not to be confused with informal attire which is a category of itself). In other words, casual attire means you should wear whatever you are most comfortable in. It is rare that a DJ should ever be found in casual attire while DJ’ing an event. Even if the guests are wearing casual attire (like jeans and a t-shirt) most often than not a DJ would wear a slight step above that as they are the performer and entertainer. However, most often than not when it’s been stated that there is “casual attire” for the men at an event, you probably won’t make a scene wearing literally whatever you want, as long as it’s not bringing attention to yourself in the wrong way (like an offensive t-shirt, or a batman costume at a networking mixer).
Smart casual is essentially a more dressed up version of casual looks. For men, this usually means a nice pair of trousers, or a very nice pair of jeans with a button up shirt, polo shirt, or something of that nature. For this dress category, it’s usually best to avoid old pairs of jeans, shorts, and t-shirts.
This is probably the most confusing of the bunch because it mixes the words “business” (professional and proper) with “casual” (what seems like the exact opposite). Generally speaking, a good rule of thumb would be to wear dress pants or khakis, with a collared shirt and a belt.
Sometimes called “cocktail chic” as well. Cocktail attire means you should be well dressed (no shorts, sandals, or t-shirts), but there is usually some space to show your personality and make it your own. Some examples would be dark suits (with or without a tie), dress pants with dress shirts, and even a nice pair of jeans with a sport coat or jacket.
You’ll usually find this dress code being used for consultations if you really want to go the extra mile. Personally, I dress a bit less than this for consultations as I don’t want to come off as a “try hard” but then again, that’s just my personality and sincerity is everything when it comes to owning one’s attire. However as the rule goes for business formal, guys should be in a suit and tie. Think a more dressy form of business appropriate clothing.
This one can be a little tricky because it’s basically just a hair below “black tie optional.” Dress shoes are expected. Basically, the main difference between “black tie optional” and “semi-formal” dress code is that this one isn’t sorta-kinda asking you to wear a tuxedo or evening gown.
Black tie optional
This is interchangeable with “formal attire,”according to The Knot, but is still slightly less formal than “black tie.” For men, this means that a tuxedo isn’t required, but a dark suit and tie is considered appropriate for the occasion.
This is considered to be the second highest level of formal attire. This is usually the kind of dress code you’ll be given for weddings or special life events (like an anniversary party). According to the wedding planning blog The Knot, Men should wear a tuxedo with a black bow tie, cummerbund, and a nice pair of leather dress shoes. However, I feel there should be a bit of a disclaimer there. I think you have to consider your clientele, where you live and various other factors before throwing on that cumberbund. I know that in sunny Southern California, weddings are very rarely full black tie and there tends to be much more diversity going on with guests attire.
Can also be called “ultra-formal” because this is considered the highest level of dress code. As wedding printing company Hobart’s Printing explains, men should wear a white bow tie, black coat with tails, and a white pique vest over a white formal dress shirt. Women should wear long, formal evening gowns, and gloves when enjoying cocktails and dancing (then removed during dinner). If you get an invitation that says “white tie attire only,” you know this is a very formal occasion.