We’ve all felt the mild panic when an invitation arrives. Then, you ask yourself the inevitable question: What on earth do I wear to this elegant affair?
First of all: Relax! Men’s fashion rules have loosened up considerably in recent years and unless the invitation specifies Black Tie, you don’t need to wear a tuxedo. In fact, even if the invitation reads black tie, you still have a bit of leeway. An elegant black suit with French cuffed white shirt and silver bowtie (or four-in-hand) is a fine option, as is any dark suit, white shirt (spread collar preferable to button-down) and classic tie. (Add a silk pocket square for panache!)
For a wedding or other event labeled Creative Black Tie (or any variation thereof with the word creative), it’s time to have some fun! Try a formalwear/tuxedo jacket worn with dark slim-fit jeans. Or pair your dark suit with a conversational bowtie (we’ve seen some great ones made from feathers!). How about a tapestry vest? Velvet slippers? If all else fails, wear your classic suit and tie with outrageous socks or your French cuff shirt with skull cufflinks! The point is to have fun with it (but without feeling out of place).
Elegant Attire implies a suit or serious sportcoat worn with dress pants and probably a tie (or an ascot or long scarf if you can pull it off). Casual Chic means forget the tie but wear a sportcoat and at least one stylish accessory: pocket square, hat, wrist jewelry, cool shoes (even fashion sneakers).
Three suggestions to simplify the ordeal: 1. When in doubt, a classic dark suit (with or without a tie) takes you anywhere so it might be time to invest in a more modern version of what’s hanging in your closet. Today’s suits fit closer to the body than yesterday’s baggy models, but modern innovative fabrics make them lighter and more comfortable. 2. Fun formalwear separates are a good way to liven up your wardrobe for partying. 3. Whatever you decide to wear, wear it with confidence, and a smile! They’ll think you know what you’re doing and wonder why they didn’t think of that winning combination!