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.
Should I Wear A Suit?
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.
Men’s Cocktail Attire Style in 2020
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.
Looks We Love for Cocktail Attire
Not sure where to start? Here are a few looks that would work for an event requiring cocktail attire:
Postman Blue Notch Lapel Suit
Slate Blue Notch Lapel Suit
Cement Gray Notch Lapel Suit
Indigo Blue Notch Lapel Suit
Light Gray Plaid Notch Lapel Suit
Levels of Formality
It’s important to understand the difference between business, formal, festive, and casual cocktail attire.
- Business: This could simply be a suit that you would wear to the office, with or without your tie.
- Formal: Formal cocktail attire should be more on the conservative side. Think of a dark suit, a patterned necktie or bowtie, pocket square, dress shirt, and dress shoes.
- Festive: This type of event allows you to get a bit more creative with your look, including a vibrant suit color or a bold tie.
- Casual: This calls for a more laid-back vibe, so you should be able to show up in a blazer, slacks, or even a dark pair of jeans.
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’s and Don’ts of Cocktail Attire for Men
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.
- Jamie O’Neill, The Bridal Finery