Formal attire is an outfit that matches a certain dress code’s needs, appropriate for a particular formal occasion.
The dress code will usually be stated on the invite. Each event will have different dress code expectations. What people wear to an event helps shape its atmosphere and decorum.
Understanding what to wear for each type of event can be daunting. This guide will explain each dress code and the perfect garments to wear for each.
Understanding the Formal Attire Terms
Highly formal events such as white-tie and black-tie have specific dress code rules and details you should follow.
These dress codes have 200 years of history, so it’s important to respect them to make a good impression.
Some invites may state “black tie optional”. The word optional can be ominous because it suggests inclusivity but may neglect the host’s actual expectations or recurring guests.
Business formal dress codes are more relaxed than black-tie codes; you have more freedom to play with different colors and patterns.
In case you’ve received an invitation, and it only states that you need to wear formal attire, your best option is to wear your tuxedo. Plan B is to wear a suit appropriate for all formal events.
Remember as Veebi always says, "Your Look Is You". Therefore, It’s always better to be dressed up than underdressed. The same rule of thumb applies when no dress code is suggested at all.
White Tie Formal Attire
Just in case you become famous or presidential, you should know how to dress for a prestigious white tie evening. White tie dress codes are used for state dinners, galas, charity balls, and elite evening weddings.
It’s definitely the most formal attire of Western culture. Also called a full evening dress, a white tie dress suit is the epitome of formality. It abides by strict rules and is reserved for the most notable evening events.
A hand-tied white bow tie and evening tailcoat are the main pieces you’ll need for a white tie evening. In addition, your pants should be high-waisted with a build-in adjuster and two lines of decorative braid or satin piping down each leg.
You should wear a white stiff-fronted cotton tuxedo shirt with a pique bib. This shirt should have a soft detachable wingtip collar, French cuffs, and decorative studs. Finally, put on your cufflinks, and you are almost “white tie” ready.
The next step is either putting on your white waistcoat or pleated cummerbund under your tailcoat.
If you choose to wear a cummerbund, ensure that the pleats are facing upward. Also, hook your cummerbund into your pants to stay in place while you dance the night away.
The best shoes to pair with this ensemble are capless, patent leather oxfords or opera pumps with a grosgrain bow. Silk calf-high socks are mandatory, too.
White tie accessories to consider are a top hat, key chain, white gloves, or a white and black opera scarf. I think you’ll go for the scarf.
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