Guide to Men’s Cocktail Attire & Dress Code

When you receive an invitation nowadays, it could put in a dress code such as Cocktail Attire, Dark Tie up Optional, Semi-Formal Dress or Formal Dress, but just what does which means that?

Back in your day, things were simpler: clothes code was either Dark Tie up for less specialized night events or White Tie up to get more specialized ones. Women’s dresses were chosen appropriately. Today, for most men the tuxedo is the most specialized garment they’ll ever wear, which is often rented. In the next, I wish to clarify what Cocktail Attire for Men is focused on and what options you have for wedding ceremonies, parties or occasions when you obtain an invitation that requests it.

Despite the fact that times have transformed and style is now ever more informal, if a dress code is necessary, you must do your very best to stay with it because dressing properly is an indicator of respect for the sponsor and the function. Cocktail attire may very well be one of the most frequent dress rules most men face since it falls in the center of informal and formal, but additionally it is one of the very most convenient since it comprises of clothing and accessories that a lot of men likely already own.

Cocktail dress is also flexible for the reason that when in a pinch, you can wear a cocktail dress with a dark suit rather than a tuxedo when dark tie is necessary as clothes code. It’s also befitting funerals and other solemn events when formality is necessary. In cases like this, a good dark navy or charcoal suit can be worn if you don’t own a dark one, as well as your accessories should be muted, like a black grenadine tie up, dark leather oxford dress shoes, and a good white shirt. Even though you wear smart informal or jeans on the daily basis, it will pay to have at least one cocktail dress clothing ready in your wardrobe for brief notice events.

When To Wear Cocktail Attire

In the event that you were asked to a meeting or special event, then there could be a dress code included on the invitation. Certainly, if the invitation claims “cocktail dress, ” then you should follow the invitation.

However, there are numerous events that implicitly demand cocktail dress even if it’s not explicitly mentioned on the invitation or in the case details.

In most cases of thumb, it’s always easier to be considered a little overdressed for a celebration than it is usually to be underdressed. To paraphrase the past due, great, Glenn O’Brien, “You can always inform people you have someplace to go later on.”

We discuss a few of the most typical occasions that demand cocktail dress including other events, anniversaries, traditional sports and wedding ceremonies.

Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties range from holiday celebrations, office get-togethers, fundraisers, and similar occasions. These will typically be kept at night, so it’s better to choose the more traditional options we point out above, but and then a level. Give yourself some leeway in conditions of color and design of your accessories. That is fun, in the end.


Wedding ceremonies can be complicated as it pertains to cocktail apparel. Sometimes the reception will be kept soon after the wedding ceremony, and sometimes there’s a rest of a couple of hours in between every part of the wedding.

The invitation must have the information you will need in that respect, but if it doesn’t, contact either the bride-to-be or groom to verify.

As the limelight should be on the groom and bride, it’s recommended to maintain your cocktail apparel on the noiseless side. Having said that, if you understand the groom and bride to be fun-loving party pets, have a blast with your cocktail apparel. If you know these to be a little more staid, decide on a more conventional look.

For a thorough introduction from what to wear to a marriage, see our guide to wedding ceremonies.


When people reach milestone anniversaries (typically starting at a decade of relationship, with additional markers at 25, 40, and 50+ years), they will throw celebrations, or their children will toss celebrations in their honor. While it’s still important to allow few take the limelight in the sartorial sense, a good guideline is the inverse-anniversary guideline: the greater years being celebrated, the less flashily you should dress.

Some Sports

There are many equestrian events which have dress rules, and cocktail apparel is one of the gown codes you might see if participating in one. Here, it’s a good idea to let some colors and patterns journey if you’re so willing.

Other Semi-Formal & Formal Occasions

Engagement celebrations and garden celebrations are various other cocktail attire-driven occasions that you’ll want to make certain you’re properly dressed up for. You’ll want to dress a little more silently for engagement celebrations, whereas a garden party demands even more daring in your clothing options.

Please be aware that truly semi-formal or traditional occasions do not demand cocktail apparel. They require a tuxedo or white link and tails, respectively.

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