If you’re like a lot of men, you don’t get really dressed up too often. Perhaps you wear a suit and tie to work. Maybe you even wear a suit and a unique pair of cufflinks on the weekend, but chances are you’re more in lounge mode than formal dress.
In fact, many men really don’t quite understand how to dress in a truly formal fashion, but it is something that you need to know.
When it comes to men’s fashion tips, men’s formalwear is where a lot of guys need some real advice. After all, there are a ton of rules that come with black tie dress, lounge style and all of the other variations that can encompass formal men’s fashion.
However, what’s more important for most men, at least those that aren’t attending tons of black tie galas for charity events, is knowing the basic rules of looking good in men’s formalwear. Use these men’s fashion tips to help you learn everything you need to know about formal suits, shoes and accessories so you can look your absolute best.
Men’s Suit Styles
When it comes to men’s formalwear, you probably know if you’re going to be wearing a tuxedo or not. If you are, your best bet is to stick with something traditional and to keep your look simple. However, if you’re not going for a tuxedo, you have a few more options regarding what you’re going to wear to a formal event.
Most men’s fashion advice will tell you that you can’t really go wrong with a black suit for a formal event. While that might sound like classic advice, the truth is that fewer and fewer men are wearing black suits, and more people are seeing them as funeral attire instead of formal attire.
Instead of black, consider going with a color that’s still formal, but not quite as appropriate for a funeral or somber occasion. Examples include charcoal, navy blue, midnight blue or dark gray.
Some suits with patterned fabric can work in formal situations, but they should only be a very faint stripe or plaid pattern and should always be in a deep, dark color. Avoid suits with bold stripes or plaid patterns for more formal events.
In 2015, suits that are popular and coming down the runway still have a pretty slim look to them with a thinner lapel. Pants are tailored and straight, and while there’s some room for a fuller seat, slim still rules the roost and likely will for the next few years.
Slim fit suits are very popular, but if it isn’t your style, you can skip it and still keep some of the appointments like the slim lapel. Men that are in their 40s, 50s and 60s can easily get away with a fuller cut. Just tell your tailor you want a more traditional or English cut, but with a more modern styling.
A good tailor who knows what is happening in the world of fashion should be able to easily provide the suit you want.
When you’re buying men’s formalwear, you probably want a name brand that means something to you. While you may not require the designer label, you can rest assured you’ll be getting something stylish and of high quality.
Look for brands like Brioni, John Varvatos, Hickey Freeman, Jack Victor and Hugo Boss. You probably already know some of these brands because they are leaders in the industry. You can’t go wrong with any of these great brands, and if you’re not quite sure which one to pick, your tailor can help guide you toward the right suit based on your budget, desires and needs.
Don’t Skimp on Shoes
The shoes that you wear when you’re dressed in formal attire are an integral part of your wardrobe. While they might seem like they take a backseat to your suit, they’re actually going to command a lot of visual attention if you keep your look understated – something most tailors recommend doing when you’re dressed in formalwear.
Patent Leather Shoes
When you’re reading men’s fashion advice, you probably see people telling you to avoid shoes that take up a lot of attention. Patent leather shoes might seem like the antithesis of understated elegance, but if you’re wearing a tuxedo or a black suit to a very formal event they are the standard choice.
Make sure your patent leather shoes are well polished and in good shape. In general, you should only bring these out for the most formal occasions.
If you’re not going to be wearing a tuxedo for a formal event and you’re going with a more casual suit, you should skip the patent leather shoes. Instead, go with black calf Oxfords that lace up.
Choose a flat finish for these shoes so they’re not quite so bright and shiny. You’re looking for something clean and understated, not bold and bright.
Are Brown Shoes Okay?
A lot of men want to know whether or not they can wear brown shoes in formal occasion. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t immediately obvious and it really depends on how formal the event is going to be.
Traditional men’s fashion tips would tell you that you should always wear black shoes whenever you can in a formal situation. That’s a rule that you should stick with whenever possible.
The only exception to the rule is occasions where you’re wearing a suit but you aren’t required to dress beyond the lounge style. If that’s the case, you can wear brown shoes with a gray suit as long as you pick oxblood or a dark, deep brown.
Skip the dust-colored brown shoes you might wear with jeans. They’re wonderful for casual wear, but they just aren’t appropriate for formal suits and events.
Chose quality brands like Allen Edmunds or Cole Haan.
Accessories make your basic formalwear a bit more interesting, but when you’re going for an understated look, how are you supposed to pull them off? The answers are surprisingly simple for most men.
Match Your Metals!
One of the men’s fashion tips you should never, ever avoid is this one: match your metals. You need to do this formal menswear and in more casual clothing, but it’s really going to be noticeable when you mismatch metals in formal attire.
What does matching your metals mean? Make sure your cufflinks and your belt match, and if possible, your watch too. If you can’t match metals with watches, consider a watch with a black leather band instead.
This one of the men’s fashion tips you should never forget.
Bowtie vs. Regular Tie
Bowties are essential for tuxedos, and you need a black one. If you stick with quality brands like Carrot & Gibbs, you really can’t go wrong (even if you opt for one a little bit of texture). Let’s be honest, men’s fashion tips have never been clearer.
However, if you don’t need to wear a bowtie, the rules are a bit less clear. One rule you need to follow is to always make sure your tie is darker than your shirt by at least one or two shades.
You’ll also want to skip bold patterns for formal events.
Overall, when it comes to men’s fashion tips, it’s important to keep it up-to-date and simple.