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Dress Right This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for holiday parties! Whether you’re headed to an office party, a family gathering, or a holiday ball, it’s important you dress right for the occasion. So what is the proper dress code etiquette for men? Make sure you read this complete guide on what to wear for specific events so you don’t show up over or under-dressed.

Black Tie

Black tie for men means you are dressed in a full tuxedo and all the traditional accompaniments: a black dinner jacket and matching trousers, an optional black formal waistcoat or black cummerbund, a white formal shirt, a black bow tie or a black long time, black dress socks and black formal shoes.

White Tie

White tie is also known as full dress, and is considered more formal than a black tie event. It also adheres to a stricter style code, although both dresses are defined by the same basic elements. White tie calls for:

Jacket – Black single-breasted tail coat. The lapels should be silk and peaked.

Trousers – Black single satin, silk or ribbon seam on the outside leg. Pants should be pleated and worn at the waist.

Shirt and Tie – A white piqué (Marcella) worn with detachable wing collar, cufflinks and studs, worn with a thin white bow tie. Shirtsleeves should be at least ¾# of cuff.

Waistcoat – This should be white and single or double breasted, and never extend below the bottom of the tailcoat.

Footwear – Black socks worn with black patent lace up shoes.

Accessories – A white handkerchief, braces and formal white gloves are optional.

Formal

Formal dress code usually means the same as Black Tie, however in trendier cities, such as New York or Las Angeles it can be interpreted to mean a black shirt, no tie, worn with a tuxedo.

Semi-Formal

Semi-formal means you don’t have to rush out and get a tux – suits are acceptable. Evening formal events dictate dark suits be worn.

Cocktail Attire

Cocktail Attire generally means dark suits, although in some cases a shirt and slacks sans jacket is acceptable. At an event that calls for cocktail attire, you are free to be a bit more expressive, or trendy, in your color combinations. Stick with a standard suit, but feel free to make a statement with a bolder shirt or tie choice.

Business Attire

Business attire follows the same general trend as cocktail: a dark, solid-colored suit, a long sleeve shirt, a conservative tie, dark socks and professional shoes. Think of what you would wear to your first day on the job at an executive firm.

Business Casual

Business casual, or dressy casual, means a dressed-up version of a casual look. Trousers and a sport coat is a winning combo for a business casual event. Khaki, gabardine or cotton pants are acceptable, as are long sleeve button down shirts, polo shirts, or knit shirts with a collar. In colder weather you might wear a sweater. Ties are optional.

No matter the occasion you want to make sure that your clothes are clean and freshly pressed. To compliment your well-picked outfit make sure your hair is well groomed, your nails are neat and clean, and you are using the right amount of fragrance.

Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

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