The Guide: Satisfying Dress Codes

Last week, we received an invite for a company awards night where the dress code was identified as "formal glam". Puzzled by this new category of dressing, my officemates and I huddled together and tried to decipher what it meant. One of them then suggested that I write a post about dress codes. A good idea, I think, because more often than not, aren't we all puzzled about what to wear given certain codes?

What does smart casual mean? What does semi-formal require? What does formal connote? All these questions I will hope to answer in this post, to finally have a standard when it comes to compliance. To tell you the truth, what secretly irks me is seeing someone at a formal event in a long-sleeved shirt without a coat, or god forbid, in jeans. The dress codes are there for a reason: to respect the sanctity of an event, people. So here we go, the general guidelines I follow in complying with dress codes.

Smart Casual
The least confusing among all the looks. Just throw on a casual button-down (oxfords are best), khaki pants or jeans (no fades!), and a dressier shoe (think loafers, boat shoes, or bucks; no sneakers please!) and you're all set. No need to complicate things 'ere, so move on.

Now you need a bit more effort. My typical foolproof combo are slacks (no other pair will do!), a quality dress shirt, a tie, and some swanky shoes. Grab those oxfords and wingtips and leave the coat at home. You don't need that added layer just yet. And oh, no jeans please! Don't give me that "formal up top, and semi down low" argument!

Now, you can go ahead and grab that coat. Take that necktie or bow tie too while you're at it. This is basically the semi-formal look on steroids. What you need to pay attention to are the accessories. I already mentioned the neckwear, but if you're game, throw in that pocket square in there for some added swagger.

Black Tie
Damn, this is the event where the suit just won't do. Bust out that tuxedo, swanky bow tie and the most luxurious lace-ups you have and party the night away. You were invited to a black tie with all those richie-poos after all!

So there you have it. I hope this all helps us to dress appropriately for the events we will be invited too. That said, I still don't know what in the blue hell "formal glam" is. Heck, the event's over and I still don't know what it is. Needless to say, I won't even try including it in this list, for your sake and mine. All other codes, do me proud, gents!

Photos courtesy of GQ and Ralph Lauren


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