What it means to dress for a red carpet event (Photo: iStock)

Kenyan celebrities have been under fire on social media for what most people call a "lack of effort" when dressing up for red carpet events. However, it is important to note that these allegations don't apply to all celebrities.

Over the years, certain fashion trends and styles have become normative and universally accepted. From elegant, stylish dresses for the ladies to contemporary tuxedos for the men, the red carpet is where fashion trends are born, celebrated and history is made.

However, these days, dress codes differ significantly depending on the formality of the red carpet event and sometimes our celebrities miss the mark.

But first, let's take a look at some of the dress codes and what is typically expected to be worn on the red carpet:

At the recently concluded Pulse Music and Video Awards, the dress code was black tie. This means that attendees were expected to display an overall aesthetic of timeless elegance in formal but stylish outfits.

Women are typically expected to wear fashionable floor-length gowns and accessorise with chic statement jewelry and designer heels or very contemporary shoes. Men should wear a combination of dinner jackets with black bow ties and polished leather shoes.

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Another red carpet event that had a less formal dress code but caught the attention of many Kenyans was the premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie. In this case, attendees were expected to showcase their style in all its African glory, spiced up with modern fashion.

The expected themes would have ranged from traditional attire such as Ankara, Boubou, Kente, Isiagu, to bold accessories such as brass jewelry, harness belts, handmade beads or South African Ndebele, to exaggerated natural hairstyles - in fact, anything and everything that the film stands for.

Even so, some attendees showed up on the red carpet in formal wear, dressed to the nines but off the theme, despite the dress code being as clear as day and night.

Yes, we can all agree that fashion and style are about individualism and self-expression, but this can still be channelled into respect for red carpet-themes. So let's decipher the true purpose of red carpet dress codes:

To enhance the event experience

This is self-evident, as the way you dress represents your brand and identity.  If you can be spotted a mile away because of your fashionable look, chances are you will become a trend. Red carpet events involve cameras and paparazzi, and the perfect outfit adds to the experience.

To promote the fashion industry

It creates excitement and interest when a celebrity rocks your brand on the red carpet. At most events, you have heard journalists asking celebrities what they are wearing and it is usually a trendsetter. Most fashion brands use this opportunity to promote their brand and the red carpet is the best platform.

For uniformity

The dress code helps to promote a sense of uniformity, which is a very sophisticated approach to an event. It is pure etiquette and decorum to dress according to the event's dress code.

To create a sense of luxury and exclusivity

Most of these red carpet galas are very posh and prestigious. It demands class and sophisticated behaviour. By dressing appropriately and stylishly on the red carpet, you can convey a sense of luxury and an image of exclusivity. This is why it is so important to dress glamorously for red carpet galas.