Dress Code Simplified

In the world of dress code, every man should have general idea of what's expected of him. Weather it's wedding attire or interview attire, knowing WHAT is appropriate and WHEN it's appropriate will not only ensure you are well dressed for the occasion but will also demonstrate your respect for the events host and participants. Below is an oversimplified outline of dress code for men.

Formal Attire

Events such as weddings, formal parties, dinners, balls or dances require formal wear. Codes for formal events govern acceptable attire for such events. The following four categories define a mans dress requirements for differing formal events ranging from daytime semi-formal to evening formal.

  • White Tie: The most formal. White Tie invitations indicate "formal attire" and/or specifically state white tie as a dress requirement. If your invited to a formal event scheduled after 6pm then traditionally appropriate dress will be white tie
  • Black Tie: Black Tie dress or otherwise known as the Tuxedo is the expected dress for semi-formal events after 6pm.
  • Morning Dress: Morning Dress is the formal dress equivalent for the white tie but will be worn to daytime formal events. So for formal events, white after 6pm, Morning dress before 6pm
  • Stroller: The Stroller is the daytime equivalent to the the tuxedo. Semi-Formal events scheduled prior to 6pm have traditional expectations of the Stroller. Modern daytime semi-formal dress is more appropriately a dark suit & tie

In-Formal Attire

The dress expectation for "Informal" is often misunderstood. The word informal by definition is "not" formal but the intention of this word suggests only that mens dress requirement are simply not white tie or not black tie. Informal attire however remains somewhat structured and explicit.

The standard for mens informal dress is commonly known today as business attire and is appropriate dress for informal social events, conventions, business meetings, job interviews and daily business settings in industries such as banking, law, sales etc. The components of business attire are listed below for more details see our business attire page.

  • Suit Jacket: The suit jacket is typically single or double breasted with two, three or four buttons. some double breasted jackets have six to eight button. The suit jacket will be cut of the same fabric as the trousers.
  • Trousers: Mens suit trousers are cut from the same cloth as the suit jacket. If this is not the case, any trousers paired with a jacket of differing fabric will not meet "in-formal" dress expectations and is technically not a business suit. Combinations of jackets and trousers of differing fabrics are classed a business causual or smart casual the the jacket becomes a blazer or sport coat.
  • Vest/Waist Coat: The vest or waist coat is a less frequently found element of mens business attire. They have been in less favor over the past 1-2 decades but when worn appropriately can add an elegant touch to a mans business suit.
  • Dress Shirt: The dress shirt is a critical component to informal attire and can allow a man to express his style in many ways. The dress shirt appropriate for business attire is cotton with a turn down collar (not button down).
  • Necktie: The necktie completes the business attire ensemble and is a wonderful addition to most mens in-formal wear. Like the dress shirt, the tie can provide a gentleman countless ways to express own style while still adhereing to the structure of the in-formal mens dress code.

Casual Attire

Casual wear is the category of mens dress code that becomes far less rigid and defined. There are however over the years definitions that have become standard subsets to the casual code which should be understood. Below each category is listed but more detailed information on casual dress and definitions can be found throughout our Casual Wear pages.

Mens Trousers

Ahh the debate, pleats or flat front, cuffs or no cuffs. Learn all you need to know about mens trousers... Mens Trousers

Mandarin Suit

Inspired by the lines of menswear in the east, this suit style might not be what you would choose for a highly formal occasion, but it has its place in many a savvy dresser's wardrobe.... Mandarin Suit

Tailored Suits

How should a tailored suit fit? Proper suit fit is one priority in a man's life that requires his astute attention. Failing to ensure a proper suit fit can be detrimental to even the highest quality suit... Tailored Suits

Loafers with Suits?

Shirt Collar

Sport Coats vs. Blazers?

Clothing Colors

...Red used appropriately in men's business attire can represent strength & leadership... Meaning of Colors

Mens Wingtip Shoes

Wingtip shoes are a type of mens dress shoe that have pointed decorative toe-boxes. Wingtips are often brogue (brogue refers to decorative perforations adorning the toe-box and/or leather upper)... More about Wingtips