There will be a number of events going on around you this festive season and you need to ensure your look is appropriate for wherever you’re going. One of the elements of being well dressed is being appropriately dressed for every occasion, circumstance, locality and age group. There are also cultural differences you need to consider. Sometimes you may think that as long as your clothes are clean, ‘it’ll do’. But the way you put your look together will send different messages to those around you.
There are occasions when a suit and tie are the only appropriate attire. Conversely, you might be regarded as overdressed in that same suit and tie when the rest of the group is casually dressed. This post provides you with general guidelines for appropriate dressing for different scenarios, smart casual and black tie to be exact. Don’t assume, nowadays, that you have to wear a suit to a wedding; likewise don’t take it for granted that you can go to a party in jeans.
The table below is a guide to what to think about in regards to what image you want to portray.
|If you want to be seen as…||Think about…|
|Friendly and approachable||Colour|
|International||The style of your clothes|
|A leader||Looking sharp|
Smart Casual Dress Code
Consider the occasion carefully – your choice of clothes for an outdoor event will differ from those for a formal family lunch on Christmas day or an indoor event like the comedy shows that come up on Christmas day.
Things to try as smart casual:
- Try a vintage jacket with a waist coat and silk shirt.
- Combine a black jacket (could be leather) with a black shirt and jeans.
- A velvet jacket, pink shirt and wool trousers.
- Opt for a blazer, twill shirt and flannel trousers.
- Try a tweed jacket, polo shirt and chinos.
- Combine a sports jacket, roll neck sweater and twill trousers.
Remember: Your accessories should be complementary and wear the right footwear.
The Black Tie Event Dress Code
This look is one of those you follow to the letter if the occasion is very formal. If the event is lower key, however, some personalisation is acceptable. If you don’t own a dress suit, you could hire one or wear the darkest suit that you own, with a white shirt and dark tie.
- Black tuxedo: the standard black tuxedo jacket is unvented
- White tuxedo: this is traditionally worn at open-air evening events or on-board cruise ships.
Your body shape will dictate the best style of jacket for you:
- Inverted triangle: Peaked lapel (either single or double-breasted)
- Rectangle: Notched lapel (single breasted)
- Rounded: Shawl collar (single breasted)
The Waistcoat (Vest) and Cummerbund
- You have the option of wearing a waistcoat (although not with a double-breasted jacket) or cummerbund.
- Inverted triangle: Waistcoat or cummerbund
- Rectangle: Waistcoat or cummerbund
- Rounded: Waistcoat only
The Dress Shirt
- Collar: A regular collar works for everyone. A wing collar is best on men with long necks and with single breasted jackets with peaked lapels. The bow tie should be worn in front of the wing-collar tabs, not tucked behind them.
- Shirt front: The shirt will either be fly-fronted or allow for two or three studs (the number traditionally depends upon the wearer’s height). The front of a dress shirt is reinforced so as to allow the wearer to sit down without the shirt bulging up. The trimming, usually pleats or pique (or reinforced cotton) does not go as low as the waistband.
- Cuffs: The traditional dress shirt always has double (French) cuffs.
- If the dress code is ‘black tie’, you should wear a black bow tie that you tie yourself. If the event is less formal, you can have fun by wearing a coloured silk evening bow tie.
- The outside seam of dress trousers are embellished with a silk stripe. they have no turn-ups (cuffs) and are worn with braces (suspenders) or have self-adjustments. It’s not traditional to wear a belt with them, although a lot of men do these days.
- Ideally, you will have some black patent leather evening shoes, although the majority of men opt for a highly polished pair of Oxfords.
The Velvet Jacket
The velvet jacket evolved from the smoking jacket and it is now acceptable on less formal occasions to wear a dark velvet jacket. This could be worn with one of the following combinations:
- A dress shirt with an untied bow tie or with no bow tie at all.
- A silk shirt, with or without an evening tie.
- a Nehru shirt.
Remember: Always be well groomed for the occasion, take a clean handkerchief to dab away perspiration while dancing and finally, wear only black socks.
The most important thing to remember is to have a good time, that’s why you went for the event/occasion in the first place. When you have your outfit for the day spot on, it’s a lot easier to relax and have a good time knowing you’re looking your best. Also, drink responsibly this festive season – I wish you all a very Merry Christmas Fresh Sqollars.