What to Wear to a Luncheon: The Ultimate Style Guide for Every Occasion

Are you unsure of what to wear to your next luncheon? Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the perfect outfit choices for various types of luncheons, ensuring you make a great impression while feeling comfortable and stylish.

Luncheons are a popular social event, whether for business, networking, or simply catching up with friends. Dressing appropriately for a luncheon can be a bit of a challenge, as it's essential to strike the perfect balance between looking polished and feeling comfortable. In this ultimate style guide, we'll share outfit ideas and tips for various types of luncheons, taking into consideration factors such as the occasion, season, and theme. So, let's dive in and explore the world of luncheon fashion!

Understanding the Occasion

Before choosing your outfit, it's crucial to understand the occasion and the expected dress code. Luncheons can be broadly categorized into four types: business, casual, formal, and themed. The type of luncheon you're attending will dictate the level of formality and the overall style of your outfit.

Business Luncheon

A business luncheon is a professional event where networking and discussions take place over a meal. The dress code for a business luncheon is usually business casual or business formal, depending on the nature of the event and the industry.

Casual Luncheon

A casual luncheon is a more relaxed event, often held among friends or family members. The dress code for a casual luncheon is typically more laid-back, allowing for greater flexibility in your outfit choices.

Formal Luncheon

A formal luncheon is an upscale event that requires a more polished and sophisticated attire. This type of luncheon may be held for special occasions, such as weddings, charity events, or awards ceremonies.

Themed Luncheon

A themed luncheon is an event where the dress code is dictated by a specific theme. Examples of themed luncheons include garden parties, nautical events, or holiday celebrations. In this case, your outfit should align with the theme while still adhering to the expected level of formality.

Dressing for a Business Luncheon

Men's Attire

For a business luncheon, men should opt for a suit in a neutral color, such as navy, gray, or black. Pair the suit with a crisp dress shirt, a tie in a coordinating color or pattern, and dress shoes. If the event is more business casual, you may be able to forgo the tie or opt for a blazer and dress pants instead of a full suit.

Women's Attire

Women have several options for a business luncheon, including a knee-length dress, a blouse and skirt, or a pantsuit. Choose neutral or muted colors, and avoid overly bold patterns or flashy fabrics. Complete the look with closed-toe pumps or flats, and minimal jewelry.

Grooming and Accessories

Proper grooming is essential for a business luncheon. Ensure your hair is neatly styled, and your nails are clean and well-manicured. Accessories should be understated and professional, such as a leather belt, a classic wristwatch, and a simple tie clip or cufflinks for men, and a structured handbag, delicate necklace, and stud earrings for women.

Dressing for a Casual Luncheon

Men's Attire

For a casual luncheon, men can opt for a collared shirt, such as a polo or button-down, paired with chinos or well-fitting jeans. Finish the look with loafers or clean sneakers. Depending on the weather, you may also want to layer with a lightweight sweater or casual blazer.

Women's Attire

Women can choose from a variety of options for a casual luncheon, such as a sundress, a blouse and jeans, or a jumpsuit. Feel free to experiment with colors and patterns, but avoid anything too revealing or overly casual, like shorts or flip-flops. Complete the look with sandals, flats, or wedges, and a few fun accessories.

Elevating a Casual Look

To elevate a casual look, consider adding a statement accessory, such as a bold necklace, a stylish scarf, or a wide-brimmed hat. You can also play with textures and fabrics, like pairing a denim shirt with linen pants or a silk blouse with jeans.

Dressing for a Formal Luncheon

Men's Attire

For a formal luncheon, men should wear a dark suit, a dress shirt, and a coordinating tie. Stick to classic colors like black, navy, or charcoal, and choose a tie with a subtle pattern or texture. Complete the look with polished dress shoes and minimal accessories.

Women's Attire

Women attending a formal luncheon can opt for a cocktail dress, an elegant jumpsuit, or dressy separates, such as a silk blouse and tailored pants. Consider the event's location and time of day when choosing the appropriate level of formality. Opt for luxurious fabrics like silk, satin, or lace, and choose colors that complement your skin tone and the season.

Choosing the Right Fabrics and Colors

For a formal luncheon, it's important to select fabrics that convey a sense of sophistication and elegance. Luxurious materials like silk, satin, and lace are excellent choices. When it comes to colors, consider the season and the event's setting. For example, pastels and floral patterns are perfect for a spring garden luncheon, while jewel tones and metallics are fitting for a holiday event.

Dressing for a Themed Luncheon

Interpreting the Theme

When dressing for a themed luncheon, it's essential to understand the theme and incorporate it into your outfit without going overboard. For example, if the theme is nautical, you might wear a striped shirt and white pants, but avoid dressing as a full-on sailor.

Examples of Popular Themes and Outfit Ideas

  • Garden Party: Floral dresses, straw hats, and light-colored suits
  • Nautical: Striped shirts, navy blazers, and white pants
  • Holiday Celebration: Festive colors, metallic accents, and seasonal patterns
  • Roaring '20s: Flapper dresses, beaded accessories, and tailored suits

Seasonal Considerations

The season can significantly influence your outfit choice for a luncheon. Here are some tips for dressing comfortably and stylishly in different weather conditions:

  • Spring: Opt for light layers, pastel colors, and floral patterns
  • Summer: Choose breathable fabrics like linen and cotton, and wear lighter colors to stay cool
  • Fall: Incorporate autumnal hues, such as burgundy and mustard, and layer with cozy sweaters and blazers
  • Winter: Opt for warm fabrics like wool and cashmere, and accessorize with scarves, gloves, and hats

Accessorizing Your Luncheon Outfit

Choosing the right accessories can make or break your luncheon outfit. Here are some suggestions for accessorizing different types of luncheons:

  • Business Luncheon: Opt for minimal, professional accessories like a leather belt, a classic wristwatch, and a simple tie clip or cufflinks for men, and a structured handbag, delicate necklace, and stud earrings for women
  • Casual Luncheon: Have fun with your accessories, but avoid anything too flashy or distracting. Consider statement necklaces, stylish scarves, or wide-brimmed hats
  • Formal Luncheon: Choose elegant accessories that complement your outfit, such as a clutch, chandelier earrings, or a jeweled bracelet
  • Themed Luncheon: Incorporate the theme into your accessories, but keep it subtle and tasteful


Now that you have a comprehensive guide on what to wear to a luncheon, you can confidently select the perfect outfit for any occasion. Whether you're attending a business meeting, a casual get-together, a formal event, or a themed celebration, use this guide as a reference to ensure you look polished, stylish, and comfortable every time. Happy lunching!