Today, I'm going to be going over five dress codes for men. These are dress codes that you're going to see out there on wedding invitations, at business events, and I want to make sure that you understand what they mean.
We're going to go over the classical meaning of these dress codes, and then I'm going to talk about real world applications.
I'm also going to give you three guiding rules on how to make a decision when you're a little bit unsure.
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Number one, formal dress codes, what does that mean?
You see that on an invitation. If something is formal, what it means — in the evening, that means white tie. During the day, it's going to actually mean morning dress, so what exactly are they? This is the morning dress. This is white tie. Now, I'm going to go over these pretty quickly.
1. White Tie
This is the classic definition of formal. You will rarely, if ever, see this in the United States. If you do, you're probably not watching this video.
Now, there's literally — I think it's 1% or less than 1% of men in this country will ever wear white tie or wear something like morning dress, and really it's because you're only going to see it — some musicians pull this off and then there are others in certain areas of society in which they actually are going to events in which this is required, but for the vast majority of us, it's really not applicable.
If you want more information on either of these, go over to my friend, Raphael, who's at the Gentleman's Gazette. His website is amazing.
I've consistently ranked it either the number one or number two site in my rankings over at Real Men Real Style, great website. He's going to go into more detail about what is formal attire.
This is something that we do see in the United States, and for many of us, it's often the highest level that we will ever get dressed up, and that is black tie, a.k.a. the tuxedo.
I've got an entire infographic which breaks out the details of black tie, so I'm going to link over to the infographic.
Now, during the day, what's the equivalent? It is the stroller. Stroller, rarely ever seen, I wouldn't worry about it unless you're going to get elected President of the United States. I think that would be a great time. The last president that wore a stroller was Ronald Reagan, so yeah, you have to go back quite a bit of time to see somebody actually wearing a stroller.
It's pretty simple. Business is going to be a dark-colored suit, usually solid, although pinstripe is okay for certain business areas. We can also look at a light-colored shirt.
Now, you want to go with white, but light blue is okay, maybe a very slight pattern or a white fabric with a very small, a very minimally seen pattern is going to be okay. A conservative tie, you do want to have a necktie, and your shoes will be black oxfords or something very close to that. You can go with a few variations, but really what we're looking for is a dark colored suit.
This is something you could wear to a funeral. Maybe you will wear it probably at many weddings throughout the United States. This is all about you not drawing attention to your self and showing respect, so that's what business is aimed towards. Some companies are going to maybe change this up just a bit and maybe you'll be able to bring in a little bit more colorful of a shirt or a neck-tie.
I would say that if you want to have fun with business attire, maybe keep it to the pocket square, your lapel pins. Maybe have a little bit of fun with your shoes, but be careful here because business is all about not — well, in this case, when they put out a business dress code, it's about basically showing respect.
4. Business Casual
A lot of guys think business casual is a dress shirt with a tie in trousers. No, that's not business casual. A lot of guys will wear that on college campuses. I say you need to consider a jacket. You don't have to wear a jacket.
You can dress business casual with a well-fitted pair of trousers and a really nice shirt, and that could work if you've got the body for it, but for most men, they're going to be complemented by a nice sports jacket, not going with anything too eccentric, or going with a blazer, so blazer, sports jacket, basically an odd jacket along with an odd pair of trousers.
What do I mean by odd? I mean, non-matching, so you're not going for a suit look here.
You can also in certain areas bring in some very dark-colored denim. This is a recent introduction. It's a modern classic though now and in the last ten years, I've seen dark denim make its way in the business casual, worn with a jacket, a nice shirt.
Neckties here, you don't really have to wear them, although you can wear a woven necktie. You can wear one that maybe is a little bit more fun if neckties are your thing.
Bowties, by the way, can be worn in place of neckties. They're just as formal as neckties, although our society looks at colorful bowties as much more playful and something that will probably go well in business casual.
For a lot of guys, casual — well, let's just be honest. They think it means sloppy. Just look at the way they dress. Casual is not sloppy. Casual simply means that you have a bit more freedom in the sense of jacket now is totally optional.
You can wear a wide variety of shirts. I do like when men are still dressed in casual that they actually still tuck things in, so tucking your shirt unless it's a guayabera or something like that, although you can wear an untucked, very nice-looking shirt and you're going to be perfectly fine especially in hot weather.
Go with an odd pair of trousers. Chinos are okay, but they are getting ultra casual, and then make sure the shoes — this is where you can have a lot of fun with shoes, slip-on, loafers, deck shoe, anything that really — you have to make sure it works with the trouser.
Two last things I'm going to talk about. Let's talk about optional versus preferred.
You're going to see this in some of the dress codes. They're going to have in front of business perhaps optional business or optional formal.
I like to see preferred, and this is why. Optional, basically, they put that there in case some men can't afford to buy or to rent black tie, or they don't own a suit, and so they want to give men the option.
I like preferred because what preferred says is if you actually have a black tie outfit, it is preferred that you wear it. Now, if you don't have it, simply wear a suit. So if you're out there making an invitation, try to use preferred, not optional.
Optional may find that a guy that actually does dress formally, he'll show up or semi-formally in the black tie, and he'll be the only one.
It's kind of embarrassing for him, but you had optional semi-formal there. I would prefer — and I think to eliminate confusion — go with preferred black tie.
All right. Okay. Hopefully you found this useful. I will see you guys in the next video. If you want more information, you know I've got a free 47-page e-book over at Real Men Real Style, a lot of great information there. I get emails every single day, people telling me they really like it and that it basically changes their lives, so if you haven't grabbed it, make sure to do that.
Take care. I'll see you in the next video. Bye-bye.
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