Hey, nice tux!
But you’re only half the puzzle (if that).
Your date will more than likely have her whole look picked out before you even begin to consider what you’re wearing, but you never know. There is so much more that goes into putting together a lady’s classy look that yours and if your date isn’t the formalwear type and is new to the whole idea, then this one is for you. Be a dear and try to help her out. But be nice. And don’t talk her down. At all.
Before we really get started, please be reminded that if she looks good, she looks good. But if she’s new at this, you may stumble upon some red flags.
Sundresses are probably too casual. If it’s hot—tough luck, babe. Everyone’s going to be a little uncomfortable. With a tuxedo, her best bet is going to be a long evening gown, but a nice cocktail dress can be okay, too. Just as long as it is, in fact, a nice cocktail dress. Modest with the right fabrics. None of that off-the-corner stuff.
Color matters when it comes to dressing for an event, especially a wedding. If possible, try to be in the color palette of the event. This is absolutely not necessary, but it’s kind of fun to match the occasion.If you’re headed to a wedding, don’t let her wear white. This will create a death-match between her and the bride that you do not want to witness. Trust me on this one. Maybe avoid anything remotely related to white. So ivory and cream are off-limits, too.If you’re wearing a black tuxedo, it’ll look best if she’s not in black, too. This is okay for some kinds of events, but as a general rule of thumb, you don’t want to be too matchy-matchy.
She should avoid red, but there are exceptions. Stylecaster suggests women “choose red gowns that are made from rich silky fabrics like chiffon or organza, as opposed to shiny satin or anything too stretchy, and always keep embellishments to a minimum.”
This is where you can truly have an impact. Be the man behind the swag. When people inevitably ask about her gorgeous necklace, you don’t want her dancing around the fact her ex-dude gifted her 24 karat love. Power play it.
If you’re in a tux, she needs to match your elegance. Pearls, anything rose gold, anything big and bold will be welcomed. Don’t let her talk you into something subtle—especially if you’re playing it straight in a black tux. Remind her that you’re the basic-bitch foil to her brilliance.
Be loud and proud, but not too loud and proud, of course. This isn’t a costume party. Stand out, but don’t attract gawkers. Find a happy medium that fits her personality as well as the tone of the event.
As we briefly mentioned before, go long. In fact, longer the better. Trust us, she won’t look out of place at this black-tie affair in an evening gown. In fact, she’ll be a belle of the ball.
Lauren Frankfort from Brides.com says “the rule of thumb should be a floor-length dress or a very formal cocktail dress.” There’s more to it, Stylecaster.com points out a very important caveat: “if you do go this route, just make sure to keep the colors rich (black, jewel tones, chic metallics, brown) so as not to look too casual.”
There’s a time and a place for casual — this is not it.
Put it up! The shoulder and neck region should be reserved for the aforementioned gems. That’s jewelry’s real estate and you don’t want to crowd the neighborhood. Promise her neck action. Of course, certain dress necklines go great with long hair or half-up styles, but more often than not, a sleek chiffon or french twist can go a long way in the style department.
There you have it, our best tips for the perfect formal look. But please, please, please proceed with caution: your novice-level understanding of ballroom fashion will surely backfire if you don’t finesse your suggestions. Go the Jeopardy route and phrase everything in question form for survival’s sake.