There are so many different options when it comes to putting together the right cocktail party look. Most importantly, you want to look put together and polished. First determine how fancy or formal the cocktail party is; that will help lead you in the right direction when trying to decide what to wear. Don’t be afraid to ask the host or party planner what the dress code is if it’s not indicated on the invitation. Sticking to the guidelines below will leave you feeling and looking more dapper than ever.
Traditional black tie events
This includes the traditional black tie and occasionally white tie attire. Black tie is the most common dress code for formal cocktail parties, so having this ensemble on reserve in your closet is a good idea for special occasions that may come. Sticking to a traditional tuxedo is an easy guideline to follow. The traditional attire includes: single-breasted tuxedo (with or without silk facings), black cummerbund, black bow tie, white turn-down spread collar shirt (with a pleated front), and black formal shoes such as oxfords.
In warmer weather, you can swap out the jacket for a white one, but keep all the other elements the same. If you are fortunate enough to attend a royal affair, white tie attire would work well. There is something about this look that screams elegance and is one of the most formal dress codes. Don’t get ahead of yourself; restrict this look for state dinners, formal balls, and royal affairs. This look includes white wingtip collar shirt, white waistcoat, white bow tie, and black formal shoes, usually a pair of patent dress shoes or classic oxfords.
Creative black tie affairs
With more formal events having a relaxed look, creative black tie attire includes dark suits with a tie or bow tie instead of the traditional tux. This is an excellent option if you don’t see yourself attending many black tie events or want a wardrobe selection that is within budget. This type of dress code should be indicated on the invite before you go ahead with this selection. Dark suits should be worn with a plain white dress shirt, conservative tie, and a pair of dress socks that goes well with your suit.
If the invitation strictly says cocktail attire, that leaves a little room for some creativity while still offering a formal appearance. Instead of sticking to the traditional black and white attire, you can introduce colors and patterns in a small way with a tie or a pair of socks. Try to stay away from light colored suits and stick to a basic black or navy suit like the Boss navy trim fit wool suit. Opt for traditional footwear like a pair of polished oxfords.
This is something you will often see for work related events and considered the least formal when it comes to cocktail parties. With this dress-code option, you really have free range and can introduce patterns and colors in a more bold fashion. Try pairing a pair of chinos with a wool sports jacket, maybe including a fun pattern on the tie. When it comes to shoes, loafers like the Trent loafers from Merona or a neat pair of boots work well.