Men's Guide: How to determine the formality of an outfit
It's good to be able to dress as the occasion demands. You definitely cannot wear your black-tie event outfits for a beach outing with friends. Occasions can be formal or informal. To prevent the confusion of what suits a formal and casual event, we present this guide to you.
When you want to examine the texture of an outfit, look at the shine on the fabric. Fabrics with more shine and smoothness are formal. That is why a corduroy is better suited for casual and not dress pants. The texture rule applies in ties too. However, for material like satin, it is suited for dinner events. The roughness of the Oxford Cloth Button Down shirt also makes it more casual with its patch pocket and rough texture.
You must have observed that you don't find men going for formal events in very bright colors. That's because somber colors are more appropriate for formal environments and bright colors often find themselves in casual outfits. That is why you'll mostly see colors like charcoal gray and navy blue.
The more structure an outfit has, the more formal it tends to be. If a suit has more lining, it tends to be accepted as more formal wear. Unstructured clothes like jackets and sports coats are usually worn by those who want to; have fun rather than the business part. That is why you'll see stiff collar shirts and interlined ties worn for formal events.
You may have observed that with clothes having informal settings, they hardly have patterns. Patterned outfits are best suited for casual menswear. The more visible the pattern, the more casual it tends to be. However, this can be forgiven in ties and pocket squares where patterns are acceptable, with smaller patterns being more formal. Notwithstanding, ties with solid colors are also considered formal wear.
You'll find some outfits have a story behind them. Clothes with country origin are better suited to be worn as casuals.
A formal and casual jacket is distinguished by the pocket style they have. Pocket styles on jackets range from the patch style to flapped and jetted pockets. Flap pockets appear hidden on the surface of the jacket and can be found in business suits and sport coats. However, the patch pocket style appears in more casual jackets. The jetted pockets, which are somewhat similar to the flap pockets but have a slit and a minimal look, are more formal than the flapped and patch-style pockets.
You can also assess how formal a jacket is based on the type of label it has on it. There are various types of lapels. A notched lapel is a least formal type, while the peaked lapel and the shawl collar lapel are more formal. However, the shawl collar is more casual than a peak lapel.
Creases can help distinguish formal pants from casual pants. Pants with sharp creases in front are formally inclined.
The most casual collar style is the button-down, while the semi-spread and spread style collars are office-appropriate. Tab collars are also considered formal even, more when a tie pin is used with it, while the sing collar is the most formal collar style.
This one is simple. There aren't too many types of cuffs, with the least formal cuff with button style, while the one requiring cufflinks is more formal.
Most ties come as silk materials. The ones with more texture that appear as knitted silks are perfect for casual tailoring, while the shininess of grenadines makes them better suited for business wear.
You may want to consider the color, shine, and texture of the shoes. The formality of a shoe is determined by its decoration and structure. Structured loafers can be more suited for formal outfits based on the suede and leather it's made of.
Here's to hoping that this has been enlightening enough to help you decide for your next formal event.
What are the things you look out for to determine that an outfit is more suited for a formal event? Please share with us in the comment section.
Here is a list of loafers for both casual and formal outings