What are you going to wear? Sometimes it’s good to look at a few suggestions then add your own tweaks and ideas. That’s what these are for. So this is a weird one, but I’m willing to bet almost all of us have had one of these happen to us before, and thus, will have one again in the future.
The event in question is something decidedly dressy. A fundraising gala, a wedding, a cocktail party, or maybe it’s a nice dinner out meeting your significant other’s parents. But there’s no dress code stated, so it’s not specifically “black tie” only. It’s a little more down to earth than that. And someone (or many someones) attending won’t be dressed to the nines, and thus you don’t want to make them feel awkward. “Oh but I don’t care what other people think. I’M WEARING MY TUX.” Well then you’re a jerk. Because purposefully dressing in a way which makes others feel terrible is a real garbage move. Maybe it’s a future father in law. Or a groom. Or one of a hundred dudes in a dress shirt and slacks wondering how they got roped into going to this silent auction/chicken dinner fundraiser by their fancy-gown-wearing spouses. Bottom line: Here’s how to look great, but also not look like a hoity-toity arse-head. We’re in this together. Clothes have power. Wield style responsibly. (top photo credit)
The Suit: Suitsupply Dark Grey Italian Wool Suit – $499. Or whatever your go-to, well tailored, charcoal gray suit happens to be. Trying to use something most of us have, being that a dark gray “should” be the first suit you buy. Going for low contrast for the entire outfit. Here’s your foundation.
The Pocket Square: TheTieBar Line Art Floral Charcoal Pocket Square – $12. A little visual interest thanks to the floral pattern while still keeping it quiet and dark.
The Shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt Hampton Weave Steel Blue Shirt – $33.33 if you buy 3 shirts and/or polos for $99. Low contrast. It’s almost a chambray gray, with a hint of blue. A bright white shirt would draw a little too much attention. Something dark and muted helps keep you looking incredibly sharp/evening-ready, but also not so stiff. Also worth a mention would be Banana Republic’s Premium Poplin in Navy (chambray?) in case you got one during their recent 40% off sale, or this darker option for $49.99 via Men’s Wearhouse. The Mega Splurge Alternative: Ledbury Slate Blue Heather Milo Custom Shirt – $155. That is a really, really, really nice shirt. Takes a couple of weeks to make since their made-to-order, custom collar/more precise fit than off the rack. Suggestion would be to go with the semi spread since it looks both great with and without a tie, and you could then wear it with jeans, sportcoats, blazers, as well as tieless with your suit(s) for other occasions.
The Tie: Tie Bar 100% Woven Silk “Grenalux” – $22. Not smooth satin. That’s too lounge singer. Get something with a little bit of texture like Tie Bar’s “grenalux” line. Or, if you feel like spending some serious coin, Kent Wang’s made in Italy Grenadine Ties are fantastic. Those run $75. If you want to have a bit of fun? You could always go with a bow tie, and fully blend the suit/eveningwear thing. No need to take it all so seriously.
The Shoes: Allen Edmonds Carlyle Oxford – $395. The Carlyle manages to be simultaneously dead simple and eye-catchingly contemporary. That’s a neat trick. Whatever simple black oxfords you own will work here. The Less Expensive Option: Nordstrom’s House Brand Cap Toes to the rescue, for just $99.95 with free shipping. Review here.
The Watch: Orient 2nd Gen Bambino V III Automatic – $132. AKA the Bauhaus. Keep it slim and dressy. Shelve the chunky sport watch on a night like this.
The Belt: Marino Men’s Comfort Click Ratchet Belt in Dark Charcoal – $16.99. A ratchet belt that looks just like a regular belt. Comfortable. Dressy.
The Socks: Made in the USA Allen Edmonds Over The Calf Merino Blend Dress Socks – $22.50. Classic dress socks which will keep your feet comfortable as the night wears on. Made in the USA by Wigwam for AE.