Why Do We Even Have A Cocktail Dress Code?
Also known as the “after 5 dress code”, cocktail outfits were originally conceived as an easy “day to evening fashion” that people could change into after work and before dinner. The name “cocktail dress” came from the fact that people would usually wear these at after-work socials, which usually included light snacks and cocktail drinks. It was one of the earliest examples of business casual attire, since these socials were often done to celebrate the end of the long work day.
What Is The Cocktail Dress Code?
Cocktail outfits are above business casual but right below black tie. They can include weddings, anniversaries, business meetings, funerals, or other kinds of parties. If you want to play it safe, cocktail outfits are on roughly the same ‘formal level’ as business attire.
Tips For Choosing The Right Cocktail Attire For Men
Dress up, not down: Remember that cocktail parties are still formal occasions, so it’s much better to be overdressed than underdressed!
Opt for buttons: A small but significant thing that sets formalwear apart from casual is the presence of buttons! Think button-down shirts and two-piece suits.
Avoid tuxedos: These are classified as formal wear, but you should only wear them at events that ask that you wear one.
No black colours: Muted greys or soft pastel suits and jackets are acceptable. Never wear a black ensemble unless you’re invited to a funeral.
More accessories, more formal: Cufflinks, belts, and watches can all play a role in making your cocktail dress look a little more genteel. If you’re going to a work-related event, these are all excellent accessories to wear. If it’s a relaxed cocktail party with friends or people that you know, leave these at home.
When in doubt, consult the invitation or ask your hosts! They’ll always be more than happy to help you out regarding the dress code.
3 Essentials For Male Cocktail Dress
Dress Shoes Like Oxfords
Laceless shoes, sneakers, and trainers are a no-no. Oxford shoes are your best bet – they’re stylish, can be used for both formal and black tie events. Black dress shoes with leather soles are an excellent choice, but other colours like brown and grey are also acceptable.
A Tie Or A Bow Tie
Ties or bow ties set the formality of a cocktail outfit for men. Never attend a cocktail event without them – at least during the start of the night. As the party progresses, you can relax your outfit by taking it off.
Finally, a pocket square is a good way to add a little flair to your overall outfit without being too flashy. Choose a subtle colour that contrasts your shirt, jacket, and slacks – if you can get it to match with your tie, then you’ll be killing it! Remember that pocket squares are purely for show, so keeping a handkerchief in your back or inside suit pocket is still recommended.
If you’re ever confused about what proper cocktail attire is for men, start with wearing anything you’d wear to a business meeting and then build the outfit from there! Every man needs at least one outfit that they can use for cocktail parties.