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Tips for men - How to look trendy and elegant during a formal event

Getting ready for a formal occasion can be stressful in itself, but it’s worse when you’re unsure of what constitutes formal wear. For many men, choosing a trendy yet formal outfit is a constant struggle between being too formal and too casual. If this sounds like you, don’t worry – you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore how you can look trendy and elegant during a formal event, making it much easier for you to get dressed when the situation calls for it.

Know What You’re Dressing For

Before you can choose an outfit, you need to know what type of event you’re dressing for. For more formal events, your invite will usually specify how you should be dressed. This is especially true if you’re invited to a black tie or white tie event. These are the most formal of all dress codes and the events you’ll need to be most careful when dressing for.

Additionally, your invite should also provide a hint when it comes to weddings. Some wedding invites will specify the dress code, especially if it’s black tie or very casual. If the invite makes no specification, it’s best to assume a semi-formal dress code, as you’re least likely to stand out in such attire.

Finally, there’s the case of formal work events. Generally, these events call for a well-fitting suit. However, this is heavily dependent on the type of event in question. As it’s a work event, it’s best to know exactly the type of attire you should wear. If your invite makes no specifications, check with management to get clarity on how you should dress.

Make sure your clothes are well-fitting

There’s nothing worse than turning up in formal wear you’ve spent a good portion of your paycheck on – only to realise you’ve bought an ill-fitting outfit that makes you stand out just as starkly as an inappropriate dress would.

Your suits and tuxedos can be the most challenging to fit. As pointed out by the team at Generation Tux, renting these outfit pieces has become more common than ever. While this is a more affordable option, it also makes getting a well-fitting outfit more of a challenge than you would face with bespoke wear.

With rented and off-the-rack suits and tuxedos, the best thing to do is focus on the shoulders. The fit across the shoulders should be perfect, as baggy shoulders stand out and are easy to spot. Additionally, with rented pieces, be particular about the fit around your chest and waist. If the fit around these areas is poor, it will be extremely noticeable when you button up your suit/tuxedo jacket.

If possible, consider wearing your own shirt when renting a suit/tux. Shirts can be re-worn much more easily than suits and tuxedos and are less of an upfront expense. Additionally, buying your own shirts allows you to get them altered to fit you perfectly.

Consider your watch

While men aren’t required to wear as many accessories to formal events as women, this doesn’t mean you should show up completely accessory-less. An elegant dress watch can help take your outfit to the next level. It serves as an eye-catching focal point to your attire and can often work as a conversation starter as well.

That said, like your clothes, your watch should fit you well. Make sure it isn’t too loose or too tight around your wrist. If you can’t find a watch strap that fits your wrist well, consider looking for a custom one or asking the store attendants for help.

Additionally, the watch face shouldn’t be too large or too small. It should fit your wrist well, and it should be easy for you to tell the time when looking at it. For most people, a 40mm watch face works well, though you may prefer a different size depending on your wrist size.

Don’t forget pocket squares

Besides your watch, the other major accessory that most men wear with formal attire is a pocket square. Your pocket square is an opportunity to play with your clothes a little.

Depending on the type of event you’re attending, you can use your pocket square as a way to bring in a pop of color or a new pattern to your outfit. At the same time, make sure your pocket square isn’t too loud – it’s meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it completely.

Ultimately, the key to dressing well for a formal event is simply to be cognizant of where you’re going and what the people around you will be wearing. It may take a few events, but you’ll soon find that dressing formally is second nature and no longer something you spend hours considering.


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