Cocktail attire for men: the ultimate dress code guide

When you receive an invitation it may read Black tie formal, Black tie optional or, as in this case, Cocktail attire. But what exactly does that mean? Is it a suit? Is it a broken suit with blazer and trousers? Is anything cocktail attire, as long as you have a cocktail in your hand while you’re wearing it? Well, not exactly.

These days, knowing what you can wear on an event, and mastering looks, is essential knowledge for every modern gent. So, in this article we’ll explain you what Cocktail attire for men is all about and what options you have for parties, weddings or events when you receive an invitation that asks for it.

Cocktail Attire Definition 

Known as “late afternoon” and conceived in the 20s and 30s, Cocktail attire emerged as the dress code that legitimised semi-formal apparel for public events. At the intersection of effortless day looks and formal evening traditionalism, Cocktail attire is a dress code which is easily perfected by incorporating simple and classic pieces.

Cocktail parties are supposed to be relaxed occasions, so obviously more classic business suits are probably a bit too formal. A cool Cocktail attire should always be balanced, offering a refined link with the past but also portraying a contemporary sartorial heritage. Maintaining a balance between formal and casual aesthetics should not prove too difficult and the staples needed for this attire are adaptable and could stay in your closet forever.

If the party is during the day or in the afternoon, you can add more color and patterns to your outfit, even if basic looks are great as well. In the evening, you can simply wear darker suits, less patterns, and more muted colours. For extremely casual occasions, go with more colorful accessories (such as pocket squares or socks), skip the tie and just wear a combination with a dark jacket and lighter colored trousers.

Do’s & Dont’s

  • Go for something tailored.
  • Don’t wear a tuxedo, that would be overdressed.
  • Don’t upstage the guest of honour. If you’re attending any occasion in which the spotlight is meant to be on someone specific, leave flashy accessories at home. This is not your time to be the centre of attention.
  • Add personal touches, but consider them carefully.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the hosts. If you’re ever unsure about what constitutes appropriate attire for an event, ask the person throwing it. They are, after all, the most invested in avoiding confusion and uncomfortable situations.
  • Make sure you are clean shaven and you have a proper hair cut.

What To Wear: Style Advisor Tips

Cocktail Attire

Blue Denim Hemp Wool Jacket | Havana Hopsack Trousers | Icon White Poplin Shirt

“For a more formal attire I suggest a great classic: one of our blue jackets (our hemp and wool one is really amazing) with beige tailored trousers (maybe the Havana Hopsack) and a simple white dress shirt. For a more casual occasion, I have to say it, I really like blue jackets matched with our chic Marsala Microdots trousers, or a light-blue shirt and white linen trousers with our Pompeian red blazer.”

Cesare, Style Advisor Rome

Untitled design (100) (1)

Dark Navy Blue Jacket | Rosso Marsala Microdots Trousers | Light Blue Denim Zephyr Cotton Shirt