Formal Means Formal

Photo Credit: www.buzzle.com

Photo Credit: http://www.buzzle.com

Although winter and fall are my favorite seasons, this time when winter turns to spring is always quite charming.  There are those March days that are full of snow and others can be so sunny that you think you may have to put on sun block. Mostly, it is a great time for a road trip.  This past weekend I took a short road trip to New England and down memory lane.  I attended a reunion of sorts, had a blast and looked fabulous while doing it! I suppose all reunions whether family, work, or college have their dress codes.  The one I attended was pretty fancy.  I know I wrote a post regarding wedding attire already, (Please see my October 15th post, “Formal Attire Requested”), but today’s post, although possibly redundant, is on the general topic of

FORMAL WEAR

When men go to weddings, proms, bar mitzvahs, christenings, funerals, and the like, they are a little more clued in concerning what to wear.  But when the only criteria for an event is  “formal”, men try to get away with the most horrible offense of all: under dressing.  Make no mistake about it; being under dressed is the worst!  I apologize if my hyperbole is jarring but under dressing should be deemed a sin.  At said reunion this weekend it was quite clear that it was to be a formal event, yet I still saw men wearing the wrong attire.  Here is a question I pose, “Why do men try to dress as casual as possible so often?”  For most men, dressing up is rare and fun

chance to radiate charisma.  Why dull yourself down when everyone else in the room is going to look like a shiny penny?  And I don’t tolerate the, “I want to be different excuse” that is absolute bullshit and pure laziness.  Below are some observations I caught this weekend that all men should never make:

  1.  It really does not matter how nice, sexy, fancy, or expensive your jeans are.  You can not pair them with a shirt, tie, and jacket and call it formal.  (Please see my January 30th post, “Change it up Cowboy”)
  2. As far as jewelry is concerned: We’ve talked about this! (Please see my December 8th Post, “The Power of Jewelry”)   Like most things, all in moderation.  But please, if you have a nice suit on, leave the ghetto chain at home!  You would not pair a rich Merlot with your Chilean Sea Bass would you?  NO! They clash…I hope you see my point here.
  3. A sweater, (Cashmere or not) over a dress shirt and tie does not equal formal attire.  Don’t be such a hippy and put on a jacket.
  4. To segue way into my next point, you must wear, or at least bring with you, a suit jacket.  Suit pants, a dress shirt, and a tie are not enough.  This would be  equivelant to a plate of food that consisted of fries, cole slaw and a pickle.  Incomplete to say the least.  Where’s the burger?
  5. You know how I feel about funky sneakers with suits so do not even get me started.  It is time to put your grown up shoes on. (Please see  my September 17th Post, “Weighing the Pros and Cons”)
  6. Also, you are an under dressed fool if you do not wear a tie.

I know I sound harsh, but the world of fashion shows no mercy.  It is the smallest mistakes that are always the most detrimental, so for your own sake and the sake of the date that has to be seen with you, don’t make them!

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

Formal Attire Requested

Photo Credit: Taken by Alicia Hemerlein

There’s nothing like a good wedding!  I was in attendance at my fourth wedding of the year this past weekend.  (Needless to say I have heard Corinthians 13:4 enough for a lifetime!)  This last wedding was a ton of fun but once again my critical fashion critiquing sense was in full effect.  There is no better time than now for me to write a blog post about wedding fashion etiquette.  So here it is men who are not always sure what to wear on a wedding day, my take for men on

WEDDING ATTIRE

First and foremost you must look for guidance from the invitation and take into consideration the time of day and year for each wedding event.  I can not stress how crucial this instruction is.  Make no mistake; this is not a suggestion it is a rule.  If the invitation states that the wedding is “Black Tie ,” “Black Tie Optional,” or “Formal Attire Requested” you better put on your Sunday Best.  If the invitation does not indicate any of the three aforementioned options, you may want to ere on the side of caution and ask the bride or groom what they recommend.  (Do not call them up the day before or even days before and ask them what to wear, they will be too busy to talk to you!)  The most important aspect to consider is that you do not want to in any way upstage the bride and groom.  You need to dress appropriately and conservative.  If you show up under dressed or over dressed you will be directly insulting your hosts.  Below are a few simple rules to consider when preparing your wardrobe for a wedding.

  1. Don’t be afraid to match your date.  If your date is wearing a red dress maybe you want to wear a red vest or tie and so on.
  2. Unless you are the groom you are not wearing a tuxedo or black suit before 6PM
  3. No one wears cumber buns anymore so don’t even think about it
  4. Whether you are the groom or not, white jackets are only for the summer, dressing seasonally inappropriate is a major fashion Faux Pas
  5. While you never want to take away from the happy couple, have fun with vests, cuff links, and suspenders.  These pieces will allow your personality to shine through without making a spectacle of yourself.
  6. If you wear a silk or satin scarf with your suit, you are a real class act
  7. Never wear a short sleeved collared shirt under your suit jacket…NEVER
  8. If you get hot and want to take your jacket off or roll up your sleeves a bit at the reception, that is OK, but that’s it.  Do not take off your shirt or do anything drunk and funky like that.  Remember you will be looking at the photos taken that night for the rest of your life and the photographers catch everything!  Don’t do anything you’ll regret.
  9. Unless given to you by the hosts, do not take it upon yourself to wear a boutonniere
  10. Don’t even think about wearing jeans, sneakers, or hats, I don’t care how much you can dress them up
  11. Although I understand that servicemen have a dress uniform, if you wear it you are going to stand out and take attention away from the groom.  Save your dress blues for the next Military Ball.
  12. Other people’s weddings are never the time for you to be fashionably experimental.  You may not be invited to another event from the new couple again if you do so.
Formal Daytime Evening
Morning   suit; conservative shirt and tie. (Ascot Optional) Tuxedo   or Black suit.
Semi-formal Daytime Evening
Dark   suit or Dark Blazer with grey or light colored dress pants. Dark   suit.
Informal Daytime Evening
Sports   jacket or blazer paired with a dress shirt and slacks (tie optional) Sports jacket or blazer paired   with a collared button down shirt and dress slacks (tie optional)

The above chart is a short and simple breakdown.  If all else fails, get yourself over to a Men’s Warehouse, Brooks Brothers or even a Jos A. Bank and let the sales people guide you. And for you New Yorkers out there, check out this link.

Quick Aside:  Special thanks to RM and RJM for their guidance and input for this post