Men’s Formal Wear Trends Guide


After this year’s Golden Globe awards where all the celebrities are supposed to be in their finest formal attire, it really hit home that some men need help in this area. If our beloved celebrities who have designers and stylists to advise them can’t get men’s formal wear right for the red carpet, how do we expect the average man to unerringly pick the right attire and more importantly, how to wear it?

One of the things noticed on the red carpet is the lack of wearing attire appropriately. Loose ties, ill-fitting tuxedos, unbuttoned collars and a generally unkempt appearance are prime examples of what not to do when sporting formal wear. If you are going to the trouble of getting all dressed up in formal ensemble, comb your hair, shave, tighten the tie and look amazing.  If you look elegant, you’ll feel elegant and have a much better time at your formal occasion.

There are several components to a tuxedo. This season, the classic bow tie was used frequently as well as the cravat. Dolce & Gabbana used silk cravats almost exclusively throughout the collection. Still popular are the long ties and band ties but not so much as the classic bow tie.  No white ties or other colors for formal outfit. Go with classic black in silk or velvet.

Dress shirts should be either white or black. Crisp, smooth lines with pleats or without are the favored style. Choose point or cut away collars. Using silk in the shirt choice is a great way to add a bit more sparkle to your outfit. Roberto Cavalli used silk frequently in his collection. Avoid ruffles this season. Keep the shirt simple and elegant. Use a brooch to play it up a bit.

Don’t get caught wearing a cummerbund. Instead, opt for a vest to match either the pants or the jacket, but either is acceptable. Best option for formal wear is a sharp, tailored look. If you choose to pair the vest with your pants, choose the same color and fabric. If you match it with the jacket, use the same color but you may use different fabrics. Silk, brocade and velvet were featured often and look dashingly elegant.

Formal jackets are showing a lot of flair this season, using fun fabrics and trimmings. Although we do still see a smattering of shawl lapels, peaked is by far the preferred choice. Single and double-breasted are both very much in style. Your body type should dictate which one to choose. Double breasted suits will generally make you look larger, single breasted suits will give the illusion of longer lines and a slimming appearance. If you are lucky bastard with a perfect body, either will suit.  Velvet is big this year with silk or even fur-trimmed lapels.

Pants are black or grey using velvet or brocade. Piping in silk portrays a young, sexy image. Ensure a perfectly tailored look for your attire. Do not go with a too tight or too baggy look. Flat front with front seam down the leg was widely seen.  Belts with ornate buckles give the pants a bit of personality.

As with most clothing trends this season, formal wear is designed predominantly in dark colors. Black is the most prevalent with charcoal grey coming in a close second.  We see some colorful accents but mostly black on black, black on white and charcoal and black combinations are seen. Silk, velvet and brocade are the fabrics used most often to give some luster to the clothes and lend a sultry appeal.  Fur trimmings, broaches and ornate buckles gave some ensembles a bit of splash but most often seen was a highly tailored, sophisticated, monochromatic look. That’s what formal wear should be after all. How each piece is combined defines your personal style.

Charcoal brocade pants with matching vest, white shirt with black cravat and black jacket with velvet trimmed lapels show a classic look with a bit of individuality. Black pants with silk piping, single-breasted jacket, black shirt with either black bow tie or cravat radiates the monochromatic look. Black velvet double-breasted jacket paired with velvet pants with silk piping, white shirt and black bow tie evoke a classic but fun appearance.

Whatever options suits your style, show some personality by opting for the use of today’s fabrics. Although the trend is black, the use of accessories and fabrics give it just enough drama to be fun. A neat, clean, tailored look is what you should always aim for in formal wear. Show up at your next black tie event sporting the latest in formal fashions to get the red carpet treatment you deserve.