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What to wear to a cocktail party: The men’s guide

March 27th, 2017


Figuring out what to wear to a party is hard.

There are a million things you have to think about – the theme, the occasion, how you’re getting home – will you Uber or try to carpool?

Knowing how to navigate through the etiquette of cocktail party dressing is a skill, an art form, it’s serious stuff.

If the idea of going to a cocktail party is anxiety inducing – no worries, we will walk you through the confusing expectations of cocktail party attire.

#1. The shirt must be clean, ironed, and classic.

A cocktail party isn’t the time to bring out your favourite Hawaiian shirt.

And you can put away the flanno – that is most certainly not cocktail-appropriate attire.

Our top tips for cocktail shirts –

  • Choose simple, classic colours – navy, white, pale blue or even a pastel colour (think lavender, baby pink, even mint green). If you want to be fancy, try a pattern – but don’t make it too loud.
  • Make sure the shirt matches the suit. Never pair a mint green shirt with navy suit pants. Just don’t.
  • Iron the shirt and jazz it up with some cool cufflinks for extra style points with the ladies.

Above all – iron. Wearing a wrinkled shirt gives off the vibe that you’re lazy, or can’t be bothered making the effort.

#2. The perfect cocktail party pants – pick a plain colour

Every man should own at least one nice suit.

And two pairs of nice pants.

Navy, grey and black are the classic colours. These staples will match most coloured shirts.

Invest in well-fitting pants, straight leg cuts, and please leave the skinny jeans at home – you can show off your calves another day.

Chinos can be acceptable at cocktail parties – but they must be ironed and they have to be paired with a long-sleeve shirt and tie. If you’re going to have casual pants, make up for it with accessories.

You can leave the jacket at home for a cocktail party unless the host stipulates more formal attire. If you’re not sure – just ask.

#3. Accessorise or be boring – your choice

Everyone thinks accessorising is just for women, or incredibly well dressed men.

Not true.

Every man can have a couple of classy belts, snazzy cufflinks and the essential patterned socks.

Nice watches are certainly an added bonus.

Depending on whether the cocktail event is more formal, or if you’re wearing more casual pants – a suit jacket or tie is a must.

#4 Choose the right shoe and dance up a storm

Shoes are often an afterthought in the dressing process – after all, you’ve probably been waiting around an hour for your partner to get ready, and when they’re ready it’s all guns blazing towards the door. No time for shoe deliberation, when you’re ready it’s a don’t pass go, don’t mention your need to go to the bathroom and above all don’t forget your wallet type of scenario.

There will be hell to pay if you are tying up your laces or searching for your wallet while your partner is tapping their foot, keys in hand, Uber at the door.

Footwear is definitely the finishing piece in a timeless cocktail outfit and menswear brand Mr Porter has a really helpful guide on dress shoes. Read and learn, gentlemen.

Our top tips for cocktail party shoes

  • Wear something comfortable and classic – now is not the time to be breaking in your brogues
  • Choose a classic black or tan shoe, leave anything bright for a different occasion
  • Make sure the shoes match the colour of the accessories. Brown belt + black shoes = no go.

Above all, don’t forget to have fun. Don’t stress too much about what you’re wearing – unless you’re the host you won’t be the centre of attention at the party – so just relax, grab a nice cool beverage and strap yourself in for a good time.

If you’re looking to host a cocktail party that will impress your friends and family – contact Hunter294. We have a variety of spaces available to suit any event.

Image Source: Pexels