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What is Cocktail Attire for Men? As Jamie O’Neill, fashion director at The Bridal Finery, explains, cocktail attire for men is a formal way of dressing to an event with a certain amount of freedom. Unlike black tie, cocktail attire can vary in formality and occasion.
Cocktail attire has a wide range of formality, so a suit isn’t always required. For a wedding, however, unless the bride and groom specify casual cocktail attire, you should plan on wearing a suit with a dress shirt, dress shoes, and a tie or bow tie.
Some of the latest trends men are experimenting with include prints, textures, and use of color. For example, guys are going beyond the classic black or grey suit and opting for a bolder suit color (any of the blue hues would work) or playing with color with their accessories (such as burgundy or emerald green). All are rich and playful but still sophisticated.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few looks that would work for an event requiring cocktail attire:
It’s important to understand the difference between business, formal, festive, and casual cocktail attire.
But as O’Neill points out, these formalities may change due to location, region, or time of year. “From the weather to the region, there are many factors that would make the attire more or less formal,” she says.
Do dress to impress. Dress appropriately and be sure to never underdress.
Don’t wear casual shoes. Shoes can make or break an outfit. Don’t wear flip flops, sandals, or dirty sneakers.
Don’t wear a tuxedo. While you should never dress too casual or informal, you also don’t want to dress overly formal.
Do make sure everything fits. Whether you’re wearing a suit or just a blazer and slacks, make sure it is all well-tailored.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re not sure what to wear, feel free to ask a fellow guest or the groom for guidance.
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