#SuitUp: Gentlemen, Here’s How to do Formal Wear for Different Occasions

Formal wear for men
PC: Tailormenow

With plenty of mix-and-match options, formal looks for men include so much more than just suits and ties. And gentlemen, as most of you would agree, different formal occasions call for different types of dress clothes (so who says girls should have all the sartorial fun? 😉 ).

Without getting into too many intricacies of what works and what doesn’t, here we break down classic formal looks for you, our fashion-savvy men.

Job Interview

Before dressing up for a job interview, find out what the company’s dress code is and incorporate that into your interview look. It’s always good to go up a notch higher than the acceptable dress code.

Dress codes for men
Dress according to your office dress code. PC: Wfashionmall.com

So for example, if smart casual is the norm, you can follow the business casual dress code for your interview.

A typical business casual ensemble would include a navy blue blazer, light blue or white point-collar shirt and light gray or beige-colored trousers. Suede shoes will still be a no-no with this look – instead, you can opt for sleek leather moccasins or cap-toes.

formal wear for job interview
Add a pocket square to your look to hint that you’re a detail-oriented man. PC: Pinterest

When in doubt, remember Barney Stinson’s famous words, “Suits are full of joy. They’re the sartorial equivalent of a baby’s smile.”

Barney Stinson Thumbs up
PC: Theodysseyonline

For a job interview, it is safe to opt for suits in either navy, black or dark gray. Make sure you appropriately color match your shoes with suits. You can follow this handy guide below to be fool-proof.

PC: TheIdleMan.com
PC: TheIdleMan.com

And yes, ensure that your socks are of the same color as your shoes. You can also add a pocket square to your jacket/coat to show that you are a man who pays attention to details.

 Daily Office wear

Adhere to your office dress code and if you are doubtful about something, it is always a good idea to check with your HR. You can also observe your fashionable seniors and peers for style inspiration.

Men at work
Observe your fashionable peers and bosses for style inspiration. PC: CNN.com

If you’re working in the government or in departments like client servicing, finance, information technology, and sales, typically you may have a traditional dress code where there’s not much to play around with but on the flip side, it will save you from thinking too hard about your wardrobe choices ;). For a conservative dress code, a button-down collar shirt in solids or in small scale versions of stripes, checks or gingham worn with neutral trousers is a good bet. For a dressier effect and depending on your office AC, you can layer up your look with a simple herringbone tweed or a corduroy jacket.

Men's Formal Wear Style Inspiration for Work
Men’s Formal Wear Style Inspiration for Work. PC: pcsschools

Wear appropriate formal shoes with this look.

PC: Stylebyjeann
PC: Stylebyjeann


Creative jobs in media, advertising, event management etc., allow you a more variable closet. However, let not more options lead to more confusion by planning right. You can go in for khaki suits or separates, club-collar shirts, T-shirts, denims, tweed blazers, loafers and so much more in your regular casual style.

Casuals for men
PC: Stylehitz.com

But no matter how laid-back your office dress code is, ripped jeans and slang/abuse filled graphic T-shirts are some things you must still steer clear of always.

Business meetings/Client meetings

When it comes to business meetings, you must pay extra attention to attain a look of formal perfection. A tailored business suit is your best bet here. Make sure the fabric and color of the trousers match that of the coat. A three-button suit looks good on most body types but if you would like a taller or slimmer appearance, go for a two-button suit.

PC: Premiersuit.com
PC: Premiersuit.com

Avoid the one-button suits for more official dos. Appropriately color-coordinated formal shoes, a neck tie that either complements the color of your suit or is in the same shade and a turndown collar shirt would complete this look.

Black-Tie event

 Though a black-tie event refers to a semi-formal evening event which takes place after 6 PM, it is simply stated as a dress code for several ceremonial and official functions. For most men, a black-tie event would be the most formal event they would attend in their lifetime. The ensemble here would consist of a single-breasted dinner jacket/tuxedo (in midnight blue or black) with a peaked or shawl lapel, matching pants with a silk stripe on the side seams and a white dress shirt with turndown or winged standing collar.

Midnight blue tuxedo
Midnight blue is one of the most dazzling shades for a tux. PC:moattarimenswear.com

Since the single-breasted jacket is usually worn unbuttoned, wearing a low-cut waistcoat or cummerbund underneath is required. Complete this attire with a black silk bow-tie/regular tie, a white pocket square, and black leather oxfords or derby shoes.

As with all attires but more so with formal wear, the fit is extremely important. Make sure you buy clothes that are neither too tight nor too loose.

For more style inspiration, you can check out this video by Outfit Ideas HQ. Not all the looks are appropriate for formal wear here, so use your discretion.


Hope these tips help you in picking the perfect formal ensemble for yourself. If you have any doubts or suggestions about buying dress clothes, do let us know in the comments below!





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Aparna Ghildiyal
I’m a true blue gypsy at heart. YES is my buzzword. Planning a travel adventure? You can always count me in. Treat me to good food, and you can be my friend forever. Fashion has been my guilty pleasure ever since I was a little girl who loved poring over the sparkling jewels and opulent gowns of Disney princesses. Keeping fit and showing love to my body is what keeps me feeling good. I LOVE those looooong discussions and stimulating experiences concerning spirituality, religion, and things beyond – the explorer in me is forever fascinated by these. A neuroscientist-turned-writer-turned-online marketer, my little 5-year-old career has seen me wearing multiple hats. In my world, there are no rules chiefly because I ain’t got no motivation to make or break ‘em.

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