One of the most common preconceptions in the gender divide is that men have it easy when it comes to dressing for special events. Sure, women have way more different styles, cuts, colors, and options to choose from and, as we all know, a choice is not the kind luxury we always believe it to be. But that doesn’t mean men have it easy.
There is a wide-range of special events we get invited to – or feel obliged to attend – and that means there is a whole spectrum of appropriate dress to carefully consider and plan. As such, we plan to address each of these special events and confirm what it considered to be appropriate etiquette when it comes to dressing ourselves.
There are certain unwritten rules that men have to know about, and far more reading between the lines than women tend to acknowledge. For example, there is a big difference between an event that is black tie and an event that states black tie is optional, and so we are going to unblur that line for you.
Your First Date
This has to be one of the most nerve-wracking moments in any man’s life, and that is because you want everything to go perfectly while acknowledging that there are a million and one things that are outside of your control. Chances are you know a bit about each other, and like the bits that you have seen, but that was in a different context to now, that was before you asked the other person on a date and before you put your every decision under the spotlight. Basically, it doesn’t matter how many reviews you read, you may not pick the right restaurant. She may not get your sense of humor. Going to the cinema may have been the worst and most cliched idea ever. There is so much that can come into play. But one thing that you have total control over is your appearance.
As such, there are three golden rules that you must follow; wear clothes that fit you properly, wear clothes that show off your best assets and show off hints of your personality. That last point is critical. Yes, you want to wear a pair of nice-fitting jeans and a white button-down shirt that accentuates your chest, possibly paired with a smart jacket and Oxford brogues. But don’t do this just because this is what style blogs tell you to do. Make sure you also show off your personality.
Wear fun socks that are a bright color or a little nerdy. If you got given a new Frost NYC bracelet for Christmas that you love, then wear it and wear it with confidence. The worst thing you can do on a date is trying to be someone else. You have to be you, so be you. Just make sure you show off the best you.
Too baggy and you will hide your shape. Too tight and you will be uncomfortable. As such, try on some different outfits in the mirror and go with whichever one you feel most confident in, and that is because confidence is going to be the most attractive thing you can wear. Trust us on that one.
If if it is you that is graduating, then chances are you will be wearing a gown. That means most of your will be covered for most of the day. So wear a well-fitted suit, a newly ironed shirt, and a smart tie. However, these are not the most important areas to consider, because the most exposed part of you will be your lower half.
As such, you need to carefully consider your shoes, socks, and trousers. This can be a tricky thing to consider, which is why you need to remember that how you look now will be remembered forever because your picture is going to hang on the wall of your family home. That means dress conservatively and timelessly. So for shoes, wear a pair of classic brogues, like Oxford’s, with well-polished leather. Consider what color socks to wear, perhaps the university colors will be the safest bet. And make sure your suit is a dark color and that the trousers sit at the right length.
Another thing to consider is the weather. Most graduation ceremonies take place in the summer months, so make sure you know what the weather is likely to be doing and plan accordingly. If it is going to be a heatwave, then consider a lighter material. However, if it tends to be cold – even in the summer – then go with something thicker.
Lastly, don’t wear a jacket under your robe. This will make you look unusually bulky in the official photographs and make your sweat. However, make sure someone has your jacket with them for the family photographs afterward. You don’t want to be jacketless for these.
If you are not graduating, but attending the graduation ceremony – your child or sibling perhaps – then always follow this rule: dress with respect for those being honored. You may think the ceremony is all about the person graduating, but you would be wrong because it is a landmark celebration for everyone. It is a day where everyone will want to celebrate this achievement and show their pride. It is a day where everyone will be photographed together.
Your Job Interview
First impressions count for everything, and most employers will make a judgment call on you within the first eight seconds. That means how you are dressed is critical, and that means doing your research on the company is too.
As a rule, it is far better to be overdressed than it is to be underdressed. You can always adapt your attire and style once you have landed the role, but until then you need to fit the bill. You need to be what they are looking for. If you are applying for a creative company, then you will have a little more leeway when it comes to personality. However, this still means you should arrive in a suit or at least a jacket. The little quirks of personality will be allowed to come out in the smaller details, such as the lining, the socks, the watch and the shoes. But be mindful and don’t take risks. You don’t want to lose the position because you took a risk on your appearance.
If you are applying for a role within a professional capacity, then you should always dress like you are in the job you want to be in, not the job you are applying for. Dress like you are the CEO. Be so smart and professional that you make the panels mind up before evening saying, “Good afternoon.” To do this, you should wear a well-fitted suit, and don’t be afraid to go with a three-piece. Make sure your shirt is white and ironed, and your tie is a single block color. Your shoes are important as well, so ensure they are buffed and shiny. Accessories are not typically welcome here, so keep them to a belt, a dress watch, and a tie pin. That is your maximum.
The rest is down to your handshake, your manners, how clear you speak and how well you articulate your answers. But remember, within eight seconds, you can have them on your side.
Your Friend’s Wedding
Most wedding invites will state a dress code, so make sure you stay within those parameters and that you are dressed as smart as possible. This is not your day, it is someone else’s, and so you need to make sure you are smart but understated. You are there to pay respects to the couple, not upstage them. As such, accessories and adornments should be avoided unless you are in the wedding party and there is an instruction to wear a matching accessory, such as a band, pocketwatch, timepiece or anything else.
While there is usually a dress code, most weddings fall into the category of black tie or business casual. However, if it is not stated, then it is your responsibility to consider the time of day, the location, and the invitation itself. All of these will give you clues and allow you to better prepare your dress.
The time of day is important because if it is an evening wedding then you can expect to wear black tie, which is because day weddings tend to be a little less formal.
If the wedding is taking place on a beach or in a forest glade, then you can be a little more liberal with your attire, but phone around first and see what other guests will be wearing. If it is, however, in a Cathedral in Rome, then you can make a safe bet that you will need to be on best form and that means dressing to your best too.
As for the invitation, the style in which it is designed and the paper on which it is printed can tell you whether they expect you to be pulling on your most formal suit, or whether you can wear a linen number. Of course, any uncertainties should be checked with the bridal party because it is not worth running the risk.