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The Gentleman and Formal Occasions

Gentlemen let’s take a moment to recognize that our lives are and always will be filled with special occasions, these events will require you to look dapper. Every man needs to have a basic understanding of how to dress formal and properly for the right occasion. A true gentleman knows that the way he dresses is not just about him, but his family and especially for those he is attending each special occasion with. If you stick with these guidelines that I am providing you with, you can’t ever go wrong.

The Invitation. Guys don’t just open an invitation and scan it quickly looking for a calendar date and time. Take a few moments to actually observe the entire invitation. The proper information you will need to know will be found within the contents of the invitation. Generally invitations will have some general terminology for the appropriate attire. Let’s break these terms down.

Black Tie. Simply put…you are required to wear a tuxedo. A few examples of these occasions where you might be asked to wear a tuxedo would be weddings, balls, charity dinners, galas, and government or a public relations gathering.



Black Tie Optional. This means that either a tuxedo or dark colored suit is acceptable. If you own a solid quality suit, then don’t waste your money renting a tuxedo. Use that money to invest into a great tie for the occasion that compliments your suit.

 Blacktie optional

Ralph Lauren Black Tie Optional

Semi-formal.No tuxedos are expected for this event. This will require you to wear a dark suit without any powerful patterns or designs, a well-pressed dress shirt, and a tie that doesn’t distract people from your eyes.

Business Casual.A dress shirt and dress trousers are required. The suit jacket and tie are optional. I personally would encourage you to wear a suit jacket or sports coat.


Business Casual

Casual. There is no need for dress trousers or dress shirts. Shorts, jeans or a pair of chinos are acceptable. Make sure that your cloths fit properly and that the cuffs are not frayed and your pants are free of holes and rips. A collared shirt will be presentable, but t-shirts should be reserved for a sporting event.

In the case that the invitation does not specify the dress attire, please call or email the host and ask.   No let’s talk about those special occasions.

Graduations. It’s hard to believe but only in a matter of a month, men from all over the United States will be called upon to attend a graduation ceremony. First off if you’re graduating, think about your wardrobe. I know you’re wearing a gown, but I have seen way too many pairs of jeans and sneakers under a young man’s robe. Plainly stated…it looks trashy…not dapper. For those of you who aregraduation young men, set the tone for the rest of your classmates and wear a nice pressed shirt, pressed trousers, and a pair of well-shined shoes under your robe. You’ll thank me for it late. Trust me. If you’re attending the graduation ceremony and you’re the parent or a faculty member I recommend you wear a suit and tie. If you’re a friend of the family or graduate, I suggest you wear some dress trousers, a dress shirt, and a sports coat or blazer with the proper foot wear.

Weddings. O.K. gentlemen. Let’s keep in mind that a wedding is all about the bride and groom that day. This means that your choice of attire needs to within the boundaries of their desires. A guest attending a wedding should not “out dress” the bride and groom. Be considerate of what you wear Weddingsand how you present yourself. The dress code for a wedding will be a dark or charcoal grey suit with a muted tie and proper dress shoes. Side note: Everyone’s definition of “casual dress” will vary. If you receive an invitation stating the attire will be “casual dress” use caution. You can always wear a sports jacket or blazer with the option in mind of taking it off and still looking appropriate.

Funerals.Once again guys attending a funeral has a similar mindset. You are there for those who are grieving and to honor those who have passed. Keep a few things in mind for your wardrobe. I personally am a huge fan of the pocket square, but in this particular case don’t rock one. It draws the attention toward you instead of away from you. Second, your suit doesn’t have to be black. It can be a navy blue too. Third, make sure you always arrive early, don’t draw attention to yourself, and say a final word to the grieving and leave quietly.

Parties.Eventually you will be invited to a cocktail party or some form of reception. The dress attire for these types of parties will always range from casual to business casual. To play it on the safe side, plan on dressing business casual. Keep in mind that you can wear a sports jacket or blazer and if you’re overdressed, you can remove the jacket without looking too casual.



Religious Services. In today’s society the proper attire for attending a religious service will vary from wearing jeans to a three-piece suit. If you have never attended a religious service before, always dress business causal the first time. This keeps you in the “safe zone.” You are not over-dressed and at the same time you are not under-dressed for the occasion.

O.K. gentlemen. I encourage you to follow these guidelines every time and you won’t have a problem being prepared for the occasion. Later this week I will be posting an article on “First Dates and Prom” attire for the gentleman.

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