Get the look: how to dress for a cocktail party

As summer returns, so does the desire to go out, spend time with friends and enjoy a glass of wine or a nice cocktail. Summer nights are perfect for cocktail parties and aperitivi during which to get away from everyday concerns. What is the right way to dress for a cocktail party? What accessories should you choose for a truly flawless look?

We asked one of the Style Advisors from our Paris store, Alexis, for his style advice and suggestions for a spotless and distinctive cocktail party outfit. A true ambassador for made-to-measure and elegance, Alexis shared a few sartorial secrets and combinations you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

What do you suggest wearing to a cocktail party with an elegant dress code?

“My advice is to go for a blue suit, not necessarily too dark, and pair it with a white shirt to create a nice contrast. Even better if the shirt sports a subtle stripe. The pocket square should be on the lighter side as well, to match the shirt. I would suggest choosing a white pocket square with a contrasting embroidered trim so as to create a nice harmony and a coherent palette.”

What are some must-wear accessories?

“To complete the look, I would suggest a micro-pattern tie: brown with burgundy motifs or burgundy with blue motifs. I would suggest adding an Oxford-style brown shoe for a classic look, or a pair of Belgian loafers for a more distinctive kind of elegance. I would avoid black shoes, which are definitely too formal for this kind of event. One last noteworthy detail for those who like to wear a belt: it needs to match the shoes, and should therefore be brown. You might also opt for a side closure belt.”

What is the best thing to wear to a poolside cocktail party? 

“For this kind of occasion, I would go for a light-hued linen suit, preferably ecru or beige. Since everything is a matter of contrasts, the shirt should be darker than the suit. Blue is ideal, preferably in a darker tone, with a matching pocket square. Considering this is a more laidback occasion, there is no need for a tie in my opinion.”

What shoes would you suggest to wear it with?

“To those who like to keep it classic, I would suggest wearing a nice pair of brown penny or tassel loafers. I personally like a slightly bolder twist, and I would therefore choose a blue suede tassel loafer or a pair of blue Friulane slippers to match the shirt. Last but not least, as previously suggested, I wouldn’t underestimate the power of Belgian loafers. They are definitely the right option in this scenario.”

What is the perfect look for a casual aperitivo with friends? 

“For cocktails with friends, a pair of chinos and a shirt are just perfect. Considering this is an informal setting, adding a blazer is optional. I would suggest a striped shirt, which is highly elegant and just as versatile. I would opt for a red or brick hue, and pair it with darker chinos, potentially in petroleum, to stand out while keeping it effortless.

I would suggest brown suede loafers, preferably tassel loafers. If you prefer penny loafers, I would consider adding a brown suede belt. Elegance goes hand-in-hand with coherence.”

Do you have one last style advice for a truly flawless look?

“The only thing that will make your outfit truly flawless… is yourself! Elegance is synonymous with nonchalance. You need to feel truly comfortable in the clothes you wear; it isn’t so much about fit and measurements but about confidence. You might wear the most precisely tailored garment in the world, but you will not be elegant unless you are confident. My advice? Take inspiration from iconic actors like Marcello Mastroianni or Toni Servillo in “La Grande Bellezza” and emulate their innate nonchalance.”