“Clothes do not make the monk” says the famous proverb, this is true, but personally I want to say that I do not agree, since clothes always play a very important role in our society and in in any case appearance affects us a lot in evaluating people. The clothes and the way we dress is our first “visual” business card.
In this regard, on different occasions, we must stick to well-defined and precise “dress codes”. “Dress codes” are formulas and rules that define clothing for a particular event or ceremony. Usually the type of dress code required is stated in the invitation itself. Depending on the situation, it is good practice and a sign of care to present yourself with the right clothing for the circumstances.
Smart Casual: It is a formal but at the same time informal, elegant but always practical and relaxed way of dressing. It is the dress code most appreciated by contemporary men because it is versatile and suitable for various occasions. Just avoiding the tie and replacing the pants with a pair of stylish jeans transforms formal wear into casual wear. The shirt should preferably be in solid tint, and to give a more personal touch, you can opt for a shirt with “delicate” patterns (not in the Hawaiian style), but in this case, it is reminded to absolutely avoid the tie. Even the T-shirt or polo shirt can be included in this type of clothing, provided that they are basic in both the colors and the model. The shoes can be very varied – avoid shiny shoes and those with patterns too eccentric to remain always elegant.
Business Casual: The watchword here is “professional and relaxed“, that is, to dress formally and feel comfortable. The tie disappears, the shirts are preferably plain and can be worn with houndstooth pants. Even regular patterned or herringbone or linear shirts find their place here and maybe even a sweater.
During the summer, T-shirts are absolutely not allowed, although some companies accept polo shirts, which I always recommend in neutral colors. Shoes are preferable in leather, possibly with laces and always elegant. Sneakers are prohibited. The preferred colors for casual business are all gray, blue, brown and black. It is however advisable to inquire as the casual dress code may vary from one company to another.
Full Business: This is the most formal dress code, that is, to be clear, from the banking, insurance and management sectors. The suit with tie is compulsory, the shirt, preferably white, can also be accepted in very soft colors, obviously in combination with the suit. Shoes should always be elegant. The rear length of the pants should fall onto the shoe leaving the heel outside. The visible hems are not suitable for this type of pants.
At the wedding
During a wedding, there are dress rules to respect. The first thing to check is the location of the event (cottage or castle) which should guide you in choosing a simpler or more formal garment, always respecting the canons provided.
The clothes must be sober and in no way eccentric so as not to steal the show from the newlyweds. Absolutely no tuxedo, unless the groom requests it. The colors absolutely to avoid for wedding guests are: Total White (only if it’s a beach wedding), Total Black, red, purple, metallic colors (gold and silver).
My advice is based on a dark color suit (fall and winter) or a lighter color in shades of blue, gray and possibly brown. Even the “broken pattern” (different jacket from the pants) can be a solution as long as a certain harmony is maintained, for example a plaid jacket over elegant plain pants in combination with the jacket. The shirt must never be dark blue or black. The shoes must be elegant, possibly made of leather and match the same color as the belt. Sports sneakers are prohibited. The accessories should not be too flashy but be a nice detail.
Remember that if slightly more informal clothing is allowed, you should not wear bright colors or sportswear anyway.
At the funeral
The first color to think of is black, but the black shirt should be avoided. So black suit, white shirt (or very pale color) and strictly black tie, however all neutral colors, brown, dark blue and gray are allowed. For obvious reasons, not all bright colors, even in outfits, are accepted. Depending on the kinship with the deceased, you can evolve towards a casual dress by always respecting the colors indicated. Jeans are also allowed as long as they remain elegant, not washed out, torn or overly decorated. Elegant shoes, also in a sporty version, must be worn with strictly black or anthracite socks. Short socks and sneakers should be avoided, as well as bare feet with sandals. Common sense also teaches us that Bermuda shorts and shorts are not allowed.
At the theatre
At the premiere, you must always present yourself in a black suit with a tie. For other evening or afternoon sessions, you can opt for a simpler and more casual style, but still elegant: a shirt in neutral tones and a dark jacket combined with elegant jeans (neither faded nor ripped). Shoes can be casual, but not athletic. Even a long-sleeved polo shirt in combination with elegant pants can be accepted as long as you always stay on neutral colors. I recommend that shoes and belt should always be combined.
Cocktail after five o’clock
This code requires a certain elegance and refinement without being too formal as in the “Black tie” dress code. A suit or a broken suit, preferably in dark tones, with a white shirt or in light tones are ideal for these aperitifs before dinner. The tie is not compulsory but optional. A tuxedo would really be out of place.
This is the first of the dress codes for gala evenings and would literally mean “black tie”. The code refers to an event after 6 pm and is characterized by a black or dark blue tuxedo. But be careful not to confuse a black suit with a tuxedo. The latter has a “lapel” (collar lapel) in satin unlike the classic jacket. The pants must be tapered and without cuffs. It must fall on the shoe leaving only the heel uncovered. It must also have a side seam bordered by a satin band (gallon). The shirt should be white with a (pointed) butterfly collar and rigorously complemented by a black bow tie and elegant cufflinks clearly visible. The suspenders must replace a belt. If the lapel of the collar is pointed, it is advisable to wear a waistcoat, while if it is in a shawl, a “tuxedo belt”, a wide satin belt with pleats covering the waist must be worn.
The shoes must be in shiny leather or in strictly black patent leather and the socks absolutely long and black.
In this case, elegance is always required, but without the rigor of the Black-tie. You can replace the tuxedo with a dark suit, a printed tie or a bow tie. The white shirt and tie are however compulsory, and the shoes must be possibly shiny black and with laces. “Broken pattern” costumes and light costumes are not allowed.
The base is still the black tie, however, with the variant that you can indulge yourself with a little more imagination by playing with the color of the waistcoat and the wide satin belt but always staying in the same tone. The mistake not to make is to let go with colorful sneakers with the intention of giving modernity to the whole.
As for the Black-tie dress code, we have here the maximum formality. We are talking about an event of a certain notoriety with noble guests, members of royalty or high society.
In this case, you are asked to wear the tail coat, the most formal costume par excellence. The costume consists of a jacket with pointed cuffs and a shawl. The white shirt with a butterfly collar must have large cuff links and may be normal or pleated. The white bow tie and the same color vest are mandatory. The lace-up shoes must be in black leather.
This is a summary. However, the important thing is to have a fairly versatile wardrobe with clothes that reflect your personality. It is then up to us to know how to adapt them in the right way and according to events. In case of doubts and uncertainties about what to do, I always advise to bring a few more clothes, at the risk of not wearing them.