Saturday, January 17, 2015

Men's Clothing Explained

Black Tie
Men can wear whatever they like as long as they are wearing a black tie around their neck. It does not stipulate whether this has to be a bow tie or a straight tie. Does it absolutely have to be black? I have seen white or silver ties at such events and the gentlemen are looking equally dapper. What about matching the tie with the cummerbund? Sky blue or maroon were popular in the ‘70s. Military dress uniform is also considered appropriate – only if you do or did serve in the military. It is not the time to visit the local costume hire shop. Same rule applies with wearing a kilt and being of Scottish heritage.

Or is it code for dressing as a Chippendale dancer, and ONLY wearing a black tie. If this is the case it might influence whose actually receives an invitation.

Smart Casual
The challenge here is the combination of words. Casual I think everyone can manage, but smart casual. What makes someone look smart? Should men be dressing like science or maths professors? Could we just wear glasses? Do guests need to pass a short exam/quiz before entering the event? It definitely rules out baseball caps, particularly those worn askew. It implies a collar of some description either on the shirt or jacket or both.

Not to be confused with Neat Casual, this is a much simpler requirement. Casual clothes that are neat. Washed and wrinkle free. If you could wear the same clothes for an afternoon of gardening you have mastered the “casual” but failed disastrously on the “neat”.

Like most men’s attire, a cocktail outfit is really another code word for “suit”. There is flexibility however to accommodate fashion and personality. Neck wear is to be included, whether it be long tie, cravat or cowboy style strings with toggle.

Evening wear
Confusingly is not pyjamas and slippers. It is a suit. Surprise! Yes, I know the cut of most men’s pyjamas replicate a single-breasted suit including pockets, collar and lapels.

Office wear

For men this appears to be the most boring and possibly the suit possible you can find. Collared shirt is also a must. Ties seem to be going by the wayside, in attempt to appear more approachable by colleagues, subordinates and customers alike. Casual Friday puts a fly in the ointment. Particular as casual wear currently incorporates a lot of low slung pants allowing for maximum exposure of underwear. The only briefs you should be revealing in an office are those typed, double spaced on company letterhead. The other thing to remember is no-one wants to smell your feet. So keep the sock on regardless of your choice of shoe and make sure you are wearing a covered shoe. Sandals and flipflops have no place at work unless you work as a lifeguard.

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