Formal wear, formal apparel or full formal dress is the classical Western style dress code category corresponding to the most formal occasion, including weddings, parties, christenings, confirmation ceremonies, funeral services, Easter and Christmas gatherings, as well as certain civic occasions, balls, committees, and sports events. The term formal wear generally refers to any article of clothing that is customarily worn on a variety of occasions and events. Formal attire usually indicates that the article of clothing is created and made from a mixture of ready-to-wear fabrics, but may also involve some bespoke designs. In Western cultures, formal wear is almost always black, except in certain cultures where other colors are favored. These days, a black dress often makes people feel formal and even aristocratic, whereas other colors are considered to be casual. Formal wear is also associated with authority and formality and is usually reserved for people of a higher social status.
For weddings, formal wear is required at every wedding ceremony. Even if one is not attending the ceremony, he/she is still expected to wear the standard black dress; this is because it is considered to be the universally acceptable formality of weddings in Western culture. However, different religions and cultures have different interpretations of the formal dress code. Most importantly, black is not only the color of the standard dress; it is also a sign of mourning for the loss of a loved one. For those who are not religious, the color white can be used as an alternative to black, depending on the perspective of the wearer. White is considered to be a happy color by many, thus making it a good choice for a wedding gown.
After the wedding, formal wear is worn for many other formal events, including funerals and other solemn occasions. During these occasions, black clothing is preferred over other colors, as it is believed to be a symbol of mourning. In fact, many religions frown upon the wearing of any colored clothing, whether it is light or dark. A popular belief is that colors are a test of your emotional strength and control, thus it is believed to be bad omen to wear any colored clothing. Although this belief may seem unreasonable and impractical, the general attitude towards clothing in most cultures has changed over time, which may prove that tradition alone does not hold the final word in fashion.