For those of us who only find themselves at a handful of fancy dress functions throughout the year, assembling a suit and tie is no big deal. A change of colour here, a new accessory there...there isn't much you need to do with your suit if it's only going to see the outside of the wardrobe on the odd special occasion. However, those lucky enough to constantly be in a state of formal wear will often find it difficult to turn up with the same old garb - by then it may as well be its own work suit!
No one wants to compromise their smart attire for the sake of reinvention, so it can be hard to know what little changes might take your evening wear to far too casual realms. Aside from the always strict black tie event, the following 6 smart alternative suit and tie choices should offer enough leeway for individuality, without earning you the title of 'worst dressed guest':
Both a colour and a style motif all its own, the Burgundy Suit is increasingly establishing itself as one of the most popular new shades for men to show up in. Whilst still not anywhere near as popular as grey or black suits, it's arguably more eye-catching, versatile and far more friendly to dressing down with the likes of denim or polo necks. If your dress code allows it, take a page from Ryan Gosling
or Robert Pattinson's
book and give burgundy a try.
Tropical Weight Wool
Summer weather can throw a serious style wrench in any man's suit selection, but luckily there's plenty of alternative suit and tie choices to keep you cool. Whilst these can be limited to just white coloured suits or dressing down, tropical weight wool is widely regarded as the best fabric of choice
for your best breezy suit. The term actually describes the weave of the wool, not its weight, with a unique arrangement that allows body heat to escape and the outside air to cool. Though it is expensive to manufacture, tropical weight wool weaves are as comfortable as plain cotton in humid heat, and is available in different fine-levels to best match the temperature.
Always gorgeous to look at, velvet can be quite overpowering if worn head to toe, but luckily it's a very flexible choice of dress that can be easily matched to dark denim and plenty of other items. Velvet is arguably a symbol of how far men's fashion has come; whilst it was previously the source of many an Austin Powers joke back in the day, now if worn correctly or sparingly (e.g. a velvet waistcoat) it can land you just the right amount of attention...excluding all the people who'll want to touch it.
Knitted Silk Tie
Possibly the most rebellious choice of knitted menswear, this niche novelty of the tie community is a simple yet supremely beautiful alternative to a simple flat. Easy to tie in a simple four-in-hand knot
with a traditional square tip, the knitted silk tie can turn any item of evening wear or even the everyday work suit into a powerful statement. If a strict formal dress code is getting you down, the knitted silk tie can be the best maverick move.
Ethnic Formal Dress
When the occasion is casual enough, and the crowd quite inviting, trying on one of the breathtaking items of formal dress from around the world can be a new experience for both you and the other guests. Whilst a full formal gown or robe might be a bit too much for someone not part of its culture, certain ethnic formal items have already had a tenure in the West, such as the Nehru jacke
t (popularised by Mod culture, the Monkees and The Beatles) or the Icelandic Hátíðarbúningur
Also known as 'Madrasi Checks', this particular form of tartan like, lightweight cotton fabric originated in the city of Chennai, India, and is a must for those who want to wear something both archaic and cutting edge. A profoundly preppy item of clothing that works well with black trousers, the vibrant plaids, stripes and patchwork patterns
of Madras suits not only help define a statement piece, but they also keep you light and breezy in the summer heat.
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