Formal Events| What to Wear
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From Black Tie to Semiformal Attire: Expert Advice on What to Wear



Do you need some help defining what to wear to certain events and parties? Whether your host requests white tie or black tie attire, formal or semiformal wear, follow these tips to look your best.

1. Dress for the occasion. Do some research before deciding what to wear. You can find tried-and-true tips below, or you can ask other attendees what they plan to wear if you’re unsure. To be safe, overdress rather than underdress; it is easier to remove a tie or jacket than to scramble for one before the party.

2. Prepare your outfit ahead of time. Waiting until the last minute could limit your choices. If you need to rent men’s formalwear, the selection could be picked over. On the other hand, if you’re buying a new tuxedo or suit, you’ll need to give your clothier or tailor at least two weeks to fit it to you.

3. Wear it with confidence. No matter what you are going to wear, wear it with poise. Looking good requires more than just wearing the right thing. You have to carry yourself well.

Tips for choosing white tie, black tie and semiformal attire

• White tie events - Think ultra fancy. Required attire is a black tuxedo jacket with tails, formal black trousers with a single band of satin running down the leg, a formal wing collar dress shirt, a formal white pique vest and a white bow tie. Since tuxedo pants don’t allow for a belt, you will need to wear braces. When choosing a fabric, avoid polyester. Instead, opt for wool, which is a versatile fabric that holds its shape and keeps you comfortable. Complete your white tie look with patent leather black dress shoes.

• Black tie events - Black tie attire means you should wear a tuxedo, not a black suit. A classic tuxedo will always fit the bill. Wear a black tuxedo jacket, tuxedo pants, formal dress shirt, cummerbund or vest, bow tie and highly polished dress shoes. Look like a true pro with these style tips: Choose grosgrain lapels instead of satin. Grosgrain is more durable and will look sleeker longer.

Also, remember to match your socks to your pants and not your shoes (e.g., If you are wearing a navy tuxedo, wear navy socks).

• Black tie optional - You may either wear a tuxedo or a black suit; however, you should really wear the tuxedo. If you are wearing black, check for any rips, missing buttons or stains. Stave off lint with a lint roller or brush before dashing out the door.

• Cocktail dress - Try a freshly pressed suit with a tie and dress shirt. You want to look polished, not like you just walked away from eight hours in the office. If the event is in the evening, you should wear a dark suit and add a splash of color with your tie and a pocket square.

• Semiformal attire Semiformal wear can be a gray area. Traditionally, it means you should wear a suit, but you may also be able to wear dress pants with a sportcoat. Make your decision based on the time of day and nature of the event. If it’s a daytime wedding, for example, err on the side of a suit. But if it’s friends going out for a nice dinner, dress pants and sportcoat would be fine. Choose lighter colored trousers and jackets in cream or tan for daytime events and darker colors such as charcoal, navy and black for evening.

Keep these tips in mind when preparing for any occasion. We are ready to help you for any event with our expert staff and expert advice.

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