Dress codes and protocol

There are strict dress codes for all our events.

General dress code:

Gentlemen: Suit and tie.
Ladies: Suit, dress or skirt with appropriate top.

Evening dress or white tie

Gentlemen: Black tailcoat and trousers, winged collar shirt, white tie and white waistcoat.
Ladies: Long dress or long skirt with appropriate top, shoulders covered.

Dinner jacket or black tie

Gentlemen: Black dinner suit, white shirt and black tie.
Ladies: Cocktail dress, long dress or skirt with appropriate top, shoulders covered.

Morning dress

Gentlemen: Black morning suit tailcoat with black/grey striped trousers, black or grey waistcoat, white shirt with conservative tie. Hats are not normally required.
Ladies: Suit or dress with hat as function dictates.

Formal afternoon dress

Gentlemen: Black or grey tailcoat suit, grey waistcoat, white shirt with conservative tie. Hats black or grey are worn for Royal Ascot, Buckingham Palace visits and weddings.
Ladies: Suit or dress with hat as function dictates.

Mess and national dress

Gentlemen: Military mess dress or national dress may be worn as evening dress for white and black tie functions. Mess dress may be worn by Liverymen when approved.

Decorations & badges

Livery badges and decorations are worn as invitations direct.
For white and black tie functions miniature medals are worn on the lapel and senior honours around the neck. Ladies wear honours on a bow. Full size medals are worn only for formal military occasions when they may be worn on suits or overcoats as appropriate.

Smart casual

Gentlemen: Blazer or sports jacket; tie optional.
Ladies: Dress or trousers with appropriate top.


Smoking is not permitted in any Livery hall.


All correspondence to the Master should be sent to the Clerk for onward transmission. If the matter is private, then the envelope should be so marked.

Formal dinners – comfort breaks

Guests should be advised that there are no comfort breaks during formal dinners. However, in extremis, the most convenient time to excuse oneself is immediately following the last course of the meal prior to the loving cup ceremony, the loyal toast and the speeches.

Chatham House Rules

Presentations, lectures or meetings under Chatham House rules are held under these strict protocols which apply without exception to all present: “Participants are free to use the information received but they may not reveal the location and date or time of the assembly, nor the identity or the affiliation of the speaker(s) or any other participants.”