There is nothing more handsome, classic and festive than a man in a tuxedo for the holidays. Whether it’s for a big New Year’s Eve blow out, an end of year gala or a winter wedding, it’s often this time of year that people get excited about dressing up. And no I’m not referring to the tuxedo that’s been hanging in the back of your closet for ten years. I’m talking about a well-made, perfectly styled, classic yet modern tuxedo or cocktail blazer that fits like a glove. You know, the one that will make the ladies swoon.
So if you don’t have a go-to tuxedo or formal blazer, then now is the perfect time to indulge. Read on for tips on how to be the best-dressed man at the party.
Black, blue or white?
“When guys come in looking for a tuxedo they want to go traditional as they know this will be the only tuxedo they will need and they want it to last,” says Cory Sylvester, VP of Operations at Michael Andrews Bespoke. “They generally think they want black, which always looks good, but I like to remind them that midnight blue is also a very classy option.”
Actually the first tuxedo ever made was midnight blue, not black, when it was first commissioned by Edward VII way back in 1861. The reason it looks sharp is the subtle contrast of the black satin lapel against the very dark blue, which gives an incredible depth of contrast that photographs well.
And then there’s always the option of a white dinner jacket, for a very Sean Connery James Bond look.
The style details
The majority of Sylvester’s clients opt for a peak lapel and he suggests they go for a slightly fuller, wider lapel than they might wear with a regular suit. The lapel itself can be a smooth duchess satin, a slightly textured grosgrain, or velvet which looks very distinct during the holiday season.
The jacket should always be single button (unless you’re going for a more fashion forward, slim-fitting double breasted like Zack Posen), jetted (aka straight) pockets with no flaps – which are too casual for formalwear.
As for vents at the back of the jacket, while the most classic look is ventless for a tuxedo, two side vents is often a more flattering look. It creates a higher leg line and is more functional and comfortable for a slim fit.
Below the belt
A light break is preferable when it comes to formal trousers (meaning the trouser leg just hits the top of your shoe). If you’re wearing a tux there’s a good chance you’ll be getting your picture taken standing up, especially at a wedding, most definitely if you are the groom, so you never want to see the trouser leg bunched up at the shoe.
The cocktail blazer
If you want to dress up but want to take an alternate route to the traditional tux, then you can’t go wrong with a cocktail blazer. Alex Wilcox, owner of the quirky and luxurious Lord Willy’s in Soho, offers a different, limited edition formal blazer around the holidays each year and his clients love the opportunity to stand out from the crown. This year it’s a dark navy plaid cocktail jacket.
“I suggest that the gentleman wear it with a classic dinner shirt, a midnight-blue bowtie and black or navy pants,” says Wilcox. “The look allows the man to be extroverted in his style, while still maintaining the rules of a formal affair.”
And the best part is that once the holidays are over, the blazer can be worn in more casual setting with grey trousers.
The Extras: Shirts and shoes and bowties
The most modern but still classic look for a tuxedo shirt is a white textured fabric, classic semi-spread collar and always French cuffs – no bibs or pleats necessary unless you really want to remain traditional. You can opt for four stud holes or, for a more minimal look, a covered placket where a smooth strip of fabric covers the buttons completely.
Ferragamo makes an excellent formal shoe in black velvet or patent leather – patent leather is a more year-round and versatile look.
And for bowties, hand tied, please, but you knew that already, right?