A Blend of Style and Function

A gentlemen’s guide to dressing for events

With the Christmas function season rapidly approaching, the opportunity to cause a fashion faux-pas is hard to ignore. Here is a short guide on how to manoeuvre this potential minefield and look your best over the coming weeks.

Interpreting the invitation is your first job. While the term ‘black tie’ may seem to be the most straightforward of dress codes for gentlemen it is surprising how many people can get it wrong. Quite simply, don’t wear anything other than a black dinner suit – an ordinary black suit isn’t the same and browns and dark blues should certainly be avoided. Other than that you should pick a black bow-tie and cummerbund, if you feel so inclined, with the latter only being worn with a single breasted suit.

It is acceptable to wear a white jacket on occasions when you really want to stand out, but technically speaking that isn’t black tie.

Smart casual is another confusing term. I’d recommend a nice navy or black blazer with grey trousers and a well ironed shirt. A tie is a matter of taste and occasion, but a jacket is essential. On the feet, the choice of a dress shoe, brogues or loafers is a personal choice but be sure they are clean and the colours match the outfit.

If the invite suggests smart dress or a lounge suit, both still require a suit, despite the former’s vagueness. If you are going straight from work, at least change your shirt, perhaps to a more colourful option. Depending on the occasion I like to add a silk pochette or hankie in my top pocket. It doesn’t have to match the tie but it’s nice to have something colourful or patterned if desired, for example a silk paisley.

Hopefully this clarifies a few issues that you may encounter over the festive party season. The ladies, on the other hand, have countless options and quite often will be seen in show stopping full length dresses. I can guarantee you this though, they will be expecting their man to be lo

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