Formal Wear

Formal wear for men should not be a challenging or complicated thing. Most men are intimidated by the prospects of dressing for a formal occassion but the reality the work is already done. Formal attire has been strictly defined for many generations. All you have to do is follow these dress guidelines.

To begin, two questions must be answered regarding the event;

  1. Is the event described in the invitation Formal or Semi-Formal and/or does the invitation request White Tie or Black Tie? White Tie is reserved for formal events while Black Tie requests semi-formal dress requirements.
  2. What time of day will the event take place?

If the event is prior to 6pm then the dress code differs from that of an event after 6pm. The category's are day formal or evening formal. Armed with these two bits of information we can now begin our exploration into four (4) different categories of formal wear.

  • Day Formal - (before 6pm)
  • Day Semi-Formal - (before 6m)
  • Evening Formal - (after 6pm)
  • Evening Semi-Formal - (after 6pm)

Day Formal: Morning Dress

Formal events during the day or prior to 6pm call for a very specific attire referred to as Morning Dress. The components of proper morning dress are as follows:

Morning Dress
  • Jacket: Morning coat, also referred to as a cutaway
  • Trousers: Black striped grey wool with no cuffs
  • Waist Coat: Grey, sometimes off-white
  • Shirt: White wing collar or turndown collar
  • Neckwear: Grey patterned tie or ascot or black tie (shown)
  • Shoes: Black patent leather oxfords (balmoral or blucher style)
  • Hat (optional): Black (silk) or Grey (felt)
  • Gloves (optional): Grey if worn with Grey Jacket

Day Semi-Formal: Stroller

Semi-Formal events during the day or prior to 6pm call for a very similar attire as daytime formal events with only one particularly appreciable difference. The jacket is not a cutaway but rather a standard cut grey or black single breasted wool jacket (or directors coat). This key difference categorizes this attire as semi-formal day wear and is referred to as a Stroller. The components of the stroller are as follows:

  • Jacket: Black or Grey single breasted wool jacket Stroller
  • Trousers: Black striped grey wool with no cuffs
  • Waist Coat: Grey, sometimes off-white
  • Shirt: White wing collar or turndown collar
  • Neckwear: Grey patterned tie or black tie (shown)
  • Shoes: Black patent leather oxfords or loafers
  • Hat: Black (silk) or Grey (felt)
  • Gloves: Grey if worn with Grey Jacket

Evening Formal: White Tie

Formal evening events call for the most deliberate of all mens dress, the white tie. This level of formal wear is the most formal and should only be worn after 6pm. The components of proper evening formal attire is as follows: White Tie

  • Jacket: Black coat tails (midnight blue is also acceptable)
  • Trousers: Match Jacket with satin or grosgrain piping, no cuffs
  • Waist Coat: White single/double breasted not below the jacket
  • Shirt: White wing collar or turndown
  • Neckwear: White pique bow tie
  • Shoes: Black patent leather oxford balmorals

Evening Semi-Formal: Black Tie

Semi-Formal evening events call for black tie or what is commonly referred to as a tuxedo. The components of proper evening semi-formal attire is as follows: Black Tie

  • Jacket: Black or midnight blue standard cut single/double breasted
  • Trousers: Matches Jacket, with satin or grosgrain piping, no cuffs
  • Waist Coat: black single/double breasted and/or black cummerbund
  • Shirt: White wing collar or turndown collar
  • Neckwear: Black silk bow tie
  • Shoes: Black patent leather oxfords or loafers

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