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How formal is brunch?

When it comes to brunch, there seems to be some confusion about how formal this meal should be. For some, it’s a casual gathering with friends and family that allows them to enjoy a delicious spread without the need for dressing up. For others, brunch is an occasion to put on their Sunday best and indulge in a more formal affair. So, how formal is brunch? The answer is that it depends on your personal preference and the setting, but there are some general guidelines to follow.

1. Introduction

Brunch is becoming an increasingly popular mealtime option for people of all ages. Whether you’re looking to dine with friends, family, or colleagues, brunch is the perfect time to catch-up, unwind, and indulge in delicious food. However, the question on everyone’s mind is how formal should brunch attire be? In this post, we’ll go over the appropriate dress codes and etiquette for brunch.

2. Brunch Dress Code

The dress code for your brunch experience will depend on the type of restaurant or venue you have selected. It’s essential to make reservations and research the place before attending the brunch to ensure your outfit complements the restaurant’s ambiance. If the venue is casual and relaxed, then the dress code is typically casual too. For instance, you can wear jeans, flats, t-shirts, sundresses, or shorts. However, if you’re heading to an upscale restaurant, a more formal attire is recommended. Dresses that fall at or below the knee, suits, and dress shoes would be appropriate.

3. Brunch Etiquette Tips

Like with any other meal, there are certain brunch etiquette tips that you should adhere to. The first rule is to arrive on time or a little early to ensure you’re not holding everyone up. When you arrive, greet everyone warmly and wait for the host to seat you. When selecting your meal, avoid being the first person to choose and instead let others select before you begin scanning the menu. When your meal arrives, wait for everyone to be served or begin eating when the host indicates that it’s okay to start. Finally, don’t forget to thank the host or server before leaving.

4. Things to Avoid at Brunch

There are certain behaviors that you should avoid while at brunch. It’s best to keep the volume of your voice down so as not to disturb other diners. Additionally, avoid using your phone excessively while dining and take calls outside if necessary. Although bottomless mimosas or cocktails seem like a fun idea, it’s best not to indulge too much and maintain your composure. Finally, it’s best to avoid wearing beachwear or revealing clothing as it may offend other diners, especially in more formal environments.

5. Outdoor Brunch Attire

When it comes to outdoor brunches, it’s best to wear light-colored clothing to keep cool. If you’re planning on wearing heels, pick chunky ones that won’t sink into the grass, dirt, or sand. You should also consider wearing a hat or sunglasses to protect you from the sun. For outdoor dining areas where the ground may be uneven, closed-toe shoes are recommended to prevent tripping.

6. Brunch Accessory Ideas

Accessories are necessary to complete any outfit, and brunch attire is no exception. A crossbody bag or purse that’s easy to carry would be ideal for brunch, especially if you’ve got other activities planned for the day. Scarves are stylish and can add a pop of color to your outfit. If you’re looking for a statement piece, consider donning statement jewelry like earrings, necklaces or bracelets that can dress up a simple outfit.

7. Brunch for Business Meetings

If you’re attending a brunch for business purposes, dress accordingly. A suit, dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes would be appropriate for men, while women should opt for a dress or skirt suit with moderate heels. It’s essential to avoid clothing that’s too revealing and pick something that’s both professional and fashionable.

8. Brunch for Bridal Showers

Bridal shower brunches can be exciting to dress for, especially for the bride-to-be and bridal party. Opt for dresses or skirt and blouse combinations with comfortable heels. For bridesmaids, consider wearing similar dresses or outfits to match the theme and wedding colors.

9. Brunch for Birthdays

Birthday brunches are an excellent opportunity to dress your best and have fun with your outfit. Sequins, metallic finishes, and bold colors are great for birthday celebrations. A little black dress with statement accessories is a classic option too.

10. Brunch for Family Gatherings

For family gatherings, dressing for brunch can depend on your family’s culture, traditions, and personal preferences. Opt for comfortable clothing and footwear to keep up with the kids. Sundresses, shorts, and casual separates are great for family brunches. For more formal family gatherings, pick dresses and suits that are comfortable and stylish.

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What to Wear to Brunch

Brunch attire typically falls somewhere between casual and semi-formal, depending on the type of brunch you’re attending. Here are some guidelines to follow when deciding what to wear:

Dress for the Occasion

Before deciding on what to wear, consider the occasion. Are you going to a fancy brunch for a special occasion or a laid-back brunch with friends? A special occasion brunch may call for a dress or suit, while a casual brunch might mean jeans and a nice top.

Dress Code

If you’re unsure of the dress code, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and dress more formally. However, if you’re attending a brunch with close friends, it’s less likely that there will be a strict dress code in place.


Accessories can elevate a simple outfit and make it brunch-appropriate. Consider adding a statement necklace, earrings, or a scarf to your outfit to add some flair.


Shoes are an important part of any outfit, but they’re especially important for brunch. Avoid wearing sandals or flip flops to a more formal brunch. Opt for a pair of dress shoes, heels, or flats instead.

Jackets and Blazers

Brunch can be unpredictable weather-wise, so it’s always a good idea to bring a jacket or blazer. Not only will it keep you warm if it’s chilly, but it can also add some style to your outfit.

Vibrant Colors and Prints

Brunch is the perfect opportunity to wear vibrant colors and prints. Don’t be afraid to wear a bright yellow dress or floral print skirt.

Makeup and Hair

Your makeup and hair can complete your look. For brunch, opt for a natural makeup look and a hairstyle that’s both stylish and comfortable.

Avoid Wearing

While brunch is a more relaxed affair, there are still some items to avoid wearing. Avoid anything too revealing, ripped jeans, and athletic wear.

Brunch-Themed Accessories

To really get into the brunch spirit, consider wearing brunch-themed accessories. Think coffee cup earrings or a necklace with a mimosa charm.

Comfortable Clothing

Ultimately, the most important thing is to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. If you’re not comfortable, it will show in your body language and how you interact with others.

What to Wear to Brunch?

Once you’ve RSVP’d to a brunch invitation, the next step is to figure out how to dress up for the occasion. While brunch is a relatively casual affair, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make sure you’re dressed appropriately.

Consider the Venue and the Time of Day

The dress code for brunch will vary depending on the venue and the time of day. If you’re going to a fancy restaurant, you’ll want to dress up a bit more than you would if you were going to a local coffee shop. If the brunch is taking place in the morning, you can opt for a more casual outfit, while afternoon brunches may require more formal attire.

Avoid Wearing Workout Clothes

While it’s tempting to choose comfort over style, wearing workout clothes to brunch is a big no-no. Even if you’re headed to a sports bar that has a more casual dress code, you still want to look presentable and put-together. Opt for comfortable fabrics and stylish outfits that show you put some effort into your appearance.

Pick the Right Shoes

For women, picking the right shoes for brunch can be a challenge. You don’t want to wear anything too high or uncomfortable, but you also don’t want to look too casual. A pair of loafers or flats will balance out a stylish dress or skirt. For men, dress shoes or sandals would be appropriate depending on the brunch location.

Accessorize Appropriately

The right accessories can make or break your brunch outfit. Don’t forget about hats, belts, and jewelry. While you can be more playful with a day-time outfit, you still want to keep a polished appearance. A hat can be an eye-catching accessory that adds style to any outfit.

Go Classic

If you’re not sure about what to wear to a brunch, go classic. You can never go wrong with classic pieces such as a blazer, white shirt, or tailored pants. These timeless pieces work for any age, gender, and body type.

Appropriate Attire Inappropriate Attire
Dresses or skirts with a modest hemline Short shorts or mini skirts
Polished trousers or jeans Sportswear or workout clothes
Smart casual shoes such as loafers and flats Flip flops and sneakers

Brunch is a great opportunity to show off your personal style while still keeping it casual. Whether it’s at a restaurant with friends or outside in the park, putting a little thought into what you wear can make a big impression. Remember, it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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Friend, Come Back Soon!

Thanks for joining us on our brief exploration of brunch etiquette. We hope you found the information helpful and entertaining at the same time. As you plan your next Sunday brunch invitation, remember that this meal offers a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between breakfast and lunch. You don’t have to be stuffy or overly formal when hosting guests. Remember, keep it simple, focus on favorite recipes, and enjoy spending time with your loved ones. Thanks for reading – come back soon for more engaging articles!

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