As you are all aware, fraternities unify college students for a common purpose. Fraternities are value-based organizations; once you join, you acquire lifetime membership. In the early years, fraternities were male organizations. However, they have since morphed to accommodate women- some are still men’s only organizations and sororities emerged, which are solely for women.

What to Wear to a Fraternity Formal

A student enjoys the national and sometimes an international network of students and professionals chasing a common goal. The values that the fraternity based on will guide you throughout your life- especially in your career.

Members of a fraternity enjoy the benefits of living in a close-knit community, leadership opportunities, recognition, academic support, personal development, and get a chance to be philanthropic. However, all new members should try to research on what to wear to a fraternity formal; it will make them feel part of the brotherhood or sisterhood.

Joining a fraternity

The initiation process takes several steps. Each step has a unique dress code ranging from comfortable casual, semi-casual to formal.

In the first step of the initiation process, you are free to wear casual attire. On the second and third steps, semi-formal attire is acceptable. In the preference round, you should dress formally. Here, they want to see if you can conform to the fraternity formal parties’ rules. During the final round, wear formal attire that can allow you to add a t-shirt on top. In this stage, you are likely to be gifted with a Bid Day t-shirt, which signifies you have officially joined the organization

Your choice of dress should reflect your personality. Do not lose yourself as you try to be formal, decent, and acceptable. 

Dressing for Each Round

Let us break down what to wear for each round of the recruitment process. The unwritten rule is to wear comfortable attire, whether formal, semi-formal, or casual. 

Round One

The first round is the casual round of fraternity rush. Comfortable shorts and jeans are acceptable. In some fraternities, the recruitment boards will offer the rushes a fraternity t-shirt. Girls should avoid wearing booty shorts- the event is open house and the host, and other members might find it disrespectful.

Wear comfortable shoes; this round involves a lot of walking from house to house. Simple accessories will make you stand out from the crowd.

Pins are a good choice of accessories. They are small and can add color to your outfit. And custom pins are sure to make you stand out from the crowd. If you feel that the pins stock is not unique enough to show your individuality, why not bring your ideas and inspirations to life? You can design your own metal pins on Pins.US. There are many templates and elements for you to choose from. You can definitely design the pins you want. Come and invite your friends to customize them together.

The Ultimate Guide on What to Wear to a Fraternity Formal 2

Round Two

After the open house round, some houses get interested to know you better. They will send you an invitation. You should wear a semi-formal outfit – something you can wear on a lunch date like a shirt by GANT .

Ladies can choose a romper, maxi dress, jumpsuit, or anything that will portray their personality. Pay attention to the length of the attire; too short can be offensive.

Gents can wear jeans and polo t-shirts; they can also wear semi-casual attire. The shirts should be a plain color.

What you wear during this round will give the first impression on your personality, it will determine whether you will get a second invite or not. Avoid strong colognes; some people are allergic to strong scents.

Round Three

When you get the second invite, the house has seen something in you. They see you as a potential member. Your attire choice, hence, narrows. Girls should avoid revealing clothes. Cover your cleavage and increase the length of that dress or romper. Wedges and dress sandals are appropriate to wear during the second invite. 

Round Four

Round four is the preference phase of recruitment. The house members consider you as a brother or sister. On this round, wear your formal outfit. Remember to keep it simple.

During this round, ladies can wear their favorite heels. However, they should avoid new heels. Slightly used heels are best since you already sure they are comfortable,

Just like the third round, avoid short dresses and showing cleavage.

Round Five

The final round is the recruitment process. Your new home sent you a bid; it calls for a celebration. During this round, wear anything you like. A casual outfit and comfortable shoes are acceptable. It is the stage you should show the house members a reflection of your personality.

You are likely to receive a t-shirt or a tank-top from your new family. That is why most people prefer to wear shorts on bid day.

what to wear to a fraternity formal

Choosing an Attire for Fraternity Formals

As you are aware, fraternities organize several events, some of which are formal. The formal events bring together members from across the board and often include the fraternity brothers having dates. It’s essentially prom for college students! Therefore, choosing an outfit that will make you stand out is ideal.

Formal events happen once or twice a year. Themes of the event give insight into the kind of attire the attendee wears. Always find out the theme before you dress up. 

Tuxedos can be expensive to a student; some of them have not stopped growing. Renting one during formal events is an option. You can invest in one that will serve you even after you have cleared college. 

Suits are an alternative to tuxedos. Wear it with a bold plain tie. Avoid outfits that do not fit you, even if you have borrowed from a friend.

what to wear to a fraternity formal

Ladies should choose a dress that conforms to the theme of the event. 

When you have to attend the event with your date, make sure your outfits complement each other! Consult each other before the actual event.

We still insist on comfortable outdressing. A formal night involves some dancing. Your heels should allow you to pull some dance moves without putting pressure on your feet;The dress should not restrict you from having fun.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dressing for a Fraternity Formal

You may feel pressure on what to wear to your first fraternity formal. Ease up; there are themes and dress codes to guide your choice of attire. Here are the dos and don’ts of what to wear to a fraternity formal.


  • Most, if not all, fraternity formals are themed. The theme and dress code advice on what to wear. It can be wholly formal or semi-formal. Always lookup for the theme and dress code for the event.
  • Social media has tons of ideas for fraternity formals, consult it. Check your fraternities past formal events on their social media pages to see what members prefer. It will give you an insight into what to wear. 
  • Choose the right bag for the event. A clutch bag is enough to carry to a formal event. You only need to have your cards, keys, phone, driver’s license, and some cash. A wristlet is the best as it ensures your valuables are with you all the time.
  • Choose the perfect date. Most of the attendees have dates during fraternity formals. Choose to attend with someone you can trust and have fun with. Your plus-one should be someone you have met before. Discuss what to wear to the event with your plus-one before the event.
  • Do not attend the event alone, especially for the ladies. Find out who among your mates is attending, tag a friend or two along in case things get weird between you and your date.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, or else everyone will be dancing while you sit. That’s boring. Right?
  • Check online for dresses. Online retailers stock a variety of outfits fit for fraternity formal events. You may even get a unique fashion idea from them. You have the liberty to choose an outfit of your choice within your budget.
  • Accessorize your attire. Have simple statement jewelry like a bracelet, pendant necklace, choker necklace, or gleaming cuff. The jewelry can act as a focal point for your attire.

what to wear to a fraternity formal


  • Wear a prom outfit. As much as it is a formal event, do not overdo it. A simple formal dress is enough for the day. Leave prom dresses for high school events and weddings.
  • Over accessorize. You want your jewelry to be tour attires focal point. Be minimal on them. You do not want to look like a jewelry display rack.
  • Wear elaborate hair updo. Remember, you want to fit in. You do not want to look like a high school prom queen, a simple plain or curly ponytail is fit for a formal. A loose bun is also good for the event.
  • Do not wear a floor-length gown. It might be elegant and fashionable, but unfit for college-formal events. A floor-length dress will restrict your movement, therefore, making it hard to dance with your date.

Packing for a Fraternity Formal Event.

Many fraternity formal events happen off-campus, probably in a hotel. You share expected to carry enough outfit for the weekend. However, you should avoid carrying a whole suitcase; there won’t be enough space in the car for everyone to stash their suitcase.

Familiarize yourself with the theme of the event and pack accordingly. Below are the rules to follow when packing.

  • Pack Lightly. The event will take a maximum of two nights; Two extra outfits, a bathrobe, and flip-flops are enough for the weekend. Few outfits will make parking on Sunday morning easier. You also don’t have enough space to store your suitcases in that hotel room, which you will probably share with three fraternity members.
  • Plan for the whole event. Each segment of the formal requires a unique outfit. However, here are some attires that can cut across more than one segment. Consider that to reduce the size of your load. Talk to your date to know the plans for the weekend. It will determine whether you will pack semi-casual or festive attires.
  • Consider the weather. What is the weatherman saying about the weather patterns of the city that weekend? You do not want to be in a sleeveless dress on a chilly afternoon or carry a jacket on a hot sunny day. 
  • Sleepover basics. The event will not only be eating and dancing. Carry with you some toiletries, pajamas, flip-flops, and a sleeping bag. The bed or beds in the room might not be enough for all of you. You will not have stress when you have your sleeping bag. The following morning, you want to avoid the embarrassment of showing up in the crowd without brushing your teeth. Plan and pack early for the essentials. However, remember to keep it simple. Do not carry your whole bathroom caddy or make-up box. A few necessities will see you through the weekend.
  • Greek necessities. Most fraternities have their identification items. Make sure you pack them. They may be your only access to the hotel rooms. some fraternities will give fine you if you attend their events, as a member, without membership identification, 
  • Emergency hair kit. Your hair up-do will not remain intact the whole weekend. Hairbrush, bobby pins, and hairspray should be in the bag. Carry a few bobby pins for the weekend. Consider simple updo’s to avoid large luggage.  
  • Formal outfit. As the name suggests, the event is formal, so you must have a formal attire. College formals are, however, so different from high school formals. Sophisticated formal dresses and cocktail dresses do best for college formals. Choose a dress that you will keep you comfortable while dancing.  
  • Choice of shoes. Men have no problem choosing shoes. Ladies have a few things to consider. If you are the same height as your date, avoid heels as they will make you taller. Also, be sure to be comfortable all through in those heels, or you will have to leave the event halfway. Choosing flat shoes will be convenient for you all weekend. 

What to Wear to a Fraternity Formal

It is not a sin to make mistakes when choosing what to wear to a fraternity formal for the first time. However, if you find yourself in that situation, take the chance to learn some tips from your peers. 

Semi-casual dresses are entirely acceptable to wear to college formals. Wear your style to boost your confidence.

For any outfit you choose, let it conform to the values of your fraternity. You surely do not want to be the odd one out among your sisters or brothers.

While you’re here, check out our ultimate summer bucket list for college students!

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