Dressing up For a Formal Event

Okay, so there’s this upcoming formal event, and you don’t have anything to wear yet. So you are thinking about pulling out anything black you have in your closet. 

But did you know that it’s important to know the components of a black ensemble? Yes, that is right. 

Now, let’s understand first the appropriate terms. Meeting the demands of your guests or the event itself means understanding the dress coded terminology. 

Dress Code For Gentlemen

As for the general rule, the first thing you need to do is to understand the invitation. The invitation itself will give you a hint of how to dress for that event. 

Invitations come in a variety of ways. Formal or casual events are sent through a paper. There are are also some virtual invites such as via mail or through Facebook. 

For example, to RSVP a graduation celebration via mail calls for an expected dress code. If the same is sent through Facebook, the dress code might be less formal. If there is no particular dress code identified in the invitation, you can ask the host or someone attending the event. As a guest, it is your duty to come prepared.

If the dress code is still not identified before the event, at least prepare for any possible clothing scenario. You can wear clothing that can be dressed up or dressed down. 

If you are overdressed but the event is casual, you can easily convert it to a semi-formal attire by removing the tie and opening the shirt. On the other hand, if you are underdressed, it might be hard to find a formal jacket right away. That is why it’s better to be overdressed, just in case. 

Men’s Guide To Formal Events

Deciding what to dress for formal events is actually easier than that for casual events. Since there are already general ideas for the garment type, there are only a few remaining details to add. 

The black-tie attire gives a sleek, militaristic tone to the occasion. The black-and-white tuxedo seems to match almost any woman’s bright dress. Gentlemen might be limited to black or dark tones at formal events, but you can definitely stand out if you carefully consider the details of what you are wearing. 

If the invitation mentions black tie, black tie preferred, full dress, it means that your host is expecting you to dress accordingly as the event is an elegant affair. 

Please note that black tie is a common expression which also refers to a tuxedo. Tuxedo is an American term also known as an evening dress in most English-speaking countries. 

A true tuxedo has six components, so when preparing, make sure to have all six ticked on your checklist. 

1. Black Evening Jacket. The short jacket is a standard in black tie events since tailcoats are now off the trend. Typically, the jacket is single-breasted with upward sweeping peaked lapels. Shawl collars are acceptable but not ideal it doesn’t accentuate the shoulders and height that much. The exposed side of the lapel should be glossier than the rest of the jacket. Single-breasted is much more comfortable than double-breasted because of its openness.

2. Black Trousers. Also known as dinner jacket trousers, piping on the sides are necessary. The piping could be made from any material such as silk, grosgrain, or satin just as long as it coordinates the facing of the lapel.

3. Black Cummerbund Or Low Waistcoat. The low waistcoat conceals the trousers waistband, giving it a slimming effect on the shirt.

4. White Dress Shirt. Unlike other dress shirts, the tuxedo shirt is made of pique cotton with small black buttons, pleated front, and a turn down collar. Ideally, the cuffs and collar are starched to make it crisp and firm.

5. Black Bow Tie. There are two options for the black bow-tie. One is the butterfly self-tie bow which is the modern and more well-known type. The batwing, on the other hand, is more of a vintage accessory usually worn in a formal American attire.

6. Black Oxford Shoes. Your shoes should be shined and polished to complete that fine-looking elegance. Black Oxford shoes are light enough and comfortable when standing in ceremonies or dance floors. 

Black tie events may not be that common for some, but you can consider buying a custom fitted one instead of renting because it can be tailored accordingly. Owning a tailored tuxedo is also more cost-effective especially if you have to attend more than one event per year.

Black Tie (Optional)

For Black Tie Optional events, you can wear either a tuxedo or dark suit. You can also wear an odd jacket instead of the traditional evening jacket. Black tie optional events are becoming more popular as dress standards became more relaxed. While it was not completely excluded, the black-tie optional was created to be more inclusive.

If you have both a tuxedo and solid dark suit, just wear the one that fist the most.

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