Formal Wear

Dress to impress for any occasion

The term formal wear or formal dress wear refers to clothing suitable for formal social occasions such as a wedding, formal garden party, dinner, ball or race.

Dressing for a formal event can be a daunting prospect, with dress codes varying from black tie, white tuxedo, morning suits to white tie events.

We can help you select the appropriate choice of suit for your event.

With a range of options available from designing a bespoke piece to a wide range of hire garments for those one off events.

Whatever you chose we can help you feel confident, stylish and comfortable in a perfectly fitting garment.

Black tie

Think James Bond. The term black tie refers to the type of dress, but more specifically, the garment itself is known as a Dinner Jacket.

These are worn as a suit for formal dinners, formal parties and balls. In America, it’s known as a Tuxedo; the name originated (they say) in the Tuxedo Club in New York where the garment is first said to be worn, without the usual tails, in 1886.

Although in England, the Tuxedo is more likely to be a reference to the White Dinner Jacket, i.e. White Tuxedo. A White Dress Shirt and a self-tie black bow tie is essential. Patent black leather shoes or loafers complete the picture.

It is easy to make mistakes with black tie. Don’t leave it to chance. 

Morning Suits

 

This is formal daywear. For weddings, formal garden parties, race meetings and at funerals. The morning coat is black or grey. If in doubt wear black. They used to be called ‘cut away’ coats, because they are frock coats with the corners cut away.

Black morning coats are worn with grey striped or hound tooth trousers, although sometimes more colourful variations can be seen; always without turn ups. Light grey morning coats have to be worn with matching trousers and preferably with a matching vest; although, at a wedding for the groom, a different waistcoat is acceptable.

With a morning coat, a vest must always be worn. This can be single or double breasted; traditionally dove grey, but increasingly, colourful vests are becoming more popular. A colourful shirt with white collar can be an interesting addition.

A top hat in black or grey is often worn, but at a funeral, it must be black. The tie should be plain grey, but colourful ties can be acceptable, depending on the occasion. Shoes should be black oxfords.

 

White tuxedo

A white tuxedo is a good way to give your evening wear a crisp update, often worn in warmer climates or on a cruise.

The jacket is usually ivory, can be double or single rested, but should be with a peaked lapel, unless it has a shawl collar.

A White Tuxedo should always be worn with a white dress shirt and a black bow tie. As with a black Dinner Jacket, shoes should be black patent leather, or black loafers.

Becoming quite a style trend, notable wearers in the last few years have been David Beckham and Ryan Gosling wearing a superb shawl-collar at the Golden Globes.

smoking jackets

Originally worn for smoking after dinner; when gentlemen would retire to a smoking area, if ladies were present, the Smoking Jacket was brought more into the public eye by men like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

As they partied and performed in Las Vegas, they would begin wearing their smoking jackets both on and off the stage. 

Smoking Jackets today are worn as a casual dinner jacket, more typically in England, to parties in homes, especially by the host, less formal ‘black tie’ parties and country balls. They should be worn with dinner trousers, dress shirt, black bow tie, patent shoes or velvet slippers.

 

White tie

The most formal evening attire for a gentleman; Full Evening Dress. Also known as Evening Tails.

The tailcoat must be black and cannot be buttoned up. White Tie should always be worn with a white waistcoat, made from cotton pique, white dress shirt with a wing collar and bib; and matching white bow tie.

The matching trousers have double silk braids on the outside seams and are never worn with turn-ups. The trousers have to have a high waistband to ensure that the waistcoat covers them, so they are supported by braces.

White tie is traditionally worn to balls, the opera, the ballet and state banquets. If you are lucky enough to be invited to an event which requires you to wear white tie, make sure you get it right. No doubt it will be an exclusive occasion; you’ll want to feel confident in your attire, rather than out of place.

It also makes the most wonderful Wedding Suit, for an evening wedding; exceptionally elegant and glamorous. 

accessories

The right accessories can make a crucial difference; and there are so many options available. Choose with care and if in doubt, be understated rather than bold; but sometimes, bold is the only way to go.

We offer a wide variety of luxurious bow ties, ties, cravats, cufflinks, hats.

We have a range of items to choose from and for that truly bespoke item we can create from scratch, to perfect the harmony with your garment.

Book an Appointment

Do you have an event in the calendar? Call snd have a chat about your dress code and suiting requirements and see how we can help.

Book an appointment today.