Men’s Dress Codes: What to Wear for Different Occasions

men fashion

Men’s fashion can be confusing sometimes. While fashion trends come and go, men’s dress codes is tied to long-standing traditions with rules and expectations that are often obscure. Discover four tips for selecting when to wear what types of clothing and why some fashion expressions make men’s couture a little more accessible.

Men’s Dress Codes for Different Occasions

Understanding the nuances of men’s dress codes is essential. Let us explore what to wear for various occasions, providing you with valuable insights and tips to ensure you always make a lasting impression.

Black Tie Events

Black tie events are typically formal affairs such as wedding receptions or galas where guests should wear tuxedos or dark suits with ties. Men should opt for classic black shoes rather than sneakers or sandals and avoid wearing bright colors such as red or yellow which can be too informal for this type of event.

Men may have few reasons to own their own tuxedos, but every man should have at least one good suit. For those looking for a classic and versatile option, men’s black suits can be a perfect choice. A three-piece suit is appropriate for many “semi-formal” (“black-tie”) occasions.

White Tie Events

White tie events require even more formality than black-tie ones; they call upon guests to don tailcoats (also known as “full-dress coats”) along with white bowties over starched collared shirts paired with pleated trousers tucked into socks matching one’s footwear color (black patent leather shoes).

Accessories like gloves might also be worn if desired. But generally speaking only plain gold/silver watches would suffice here. Since any flashy pieces could draw attention away from the outfit itself.

Thus creating an imbalance between formality & informality within its appearance overall. Something which must always be avoided when attending these kinds of functions.

Business Formal

Business formal attire is required in many professional settings including board meetings and interviews. So, you want to make sure you look polished yet not overly dressed up when going out on business related errands/events.

Think tailored suit jackets matched up against crisp white button-down shirts together perhaps topped off by subtle patterned ties all put together without being too showy about things either way.

Shoe-wise loafers seem like good go-to options although oxfords could work simply fine here too if preferred – again though no distracting patterns allowed anywhere near them please otherwise you will risk looking unprofessional instead!

Business Casual

You see this dress code at businesses such as tech companies. It is also favored by Hollywood executives and producers and in other, primarily youth-oriented, industries. Depending on where you work, blue jeans may be discouraged and you may still be expected to wear dress shoes.

Khakis and a buttoned shirt, generally without a tie, typically define business casual. The style of the shirt dictates whether or not you should tuck it in, as either a tucked or untucked shirt is acceptable.

Smart Casual

Smart casual is slightly more dressed up than business casual but still not quite at “formal” level yet. Think collared shirt tucked into tailored trousers along with leather shoes & belts if desired. Blazers can also be worn overtop to add some extra sophistication if needed.

Accessories such as pocket squares may also come into play here depending upon occasion and personal preference. Although these would likely only appear once one has reached higher levels within this particular category.


“Casual” refers to everyday wear — how we all dress outside of work when we are running errands, lounging around the house, or enjoying occasions when we are not expected to be dressed in any specific fashion. A T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes are typical items of casual dress.

In many cases, a sweater or change of footwear is all you need to “class it up.” Unless you personally prefer otherwise, shirts are left untucked for comfort. In fact, unless you have a habit of wearing button-down shirts around the house, almost all casual shirts are no-tuck shirts.

Outdoor Event

Dress appropriately depending on whether it is daytime vs nighttime; however regardless opt for lightweight fabrics like cotton blends which will keep you cool while looking stylish too.

Shorts might be appropriate during daytime hours but switch them out for trousers when evening falls – just remember to wear closed toe shoes no matter what.

Cocktail Party

Cocktail parties usually call upon guests to dress semi-formally so go ahead and break out those suits & ties.

Have fun experimenting by mixing patterns & colors together until they complement each other nicely. This way your outfit will not blend into the background yet still looks sophisticated enough not offend anyone else present either.

Date Night

For date night, you want to look your best while still being comfortable in your own skin. Opt for a classic outfit such as dark jeans with an oxford shirt or polo paired with loafers or desert boots depending on the occasion.

This will make sure that you look sharp without overdoing it! If it is more of an upscale event then switch out the jeans for chinos and add a blazer into the mix too.


You should aim towards being comfortable at the time of attending concerts. After all these events often involve lots of standing around so comfort is key!

A great way to achieve this goal is by wearing slim fit jeans (preferably darker colors) along with t-shirts featuring interesting prints such as band logos etc.

Topped off by sneakers in canvas material and if needed add layers such as denim jackets when temperatures drop during nighttime hours.

Winter Holiday Party

Winter holiday parties call for something special – try going all out in terms of color & texture by wearing velvet trousers matched up with wool sweaters layered underneath corduroy jackets.

Complete this ensemble by pairing suede Chelsea boots together as well (or alternatively choose between monk straps). It will not only stay warm during colder months but also look dapper from head-to-toe thanks to its festive vibes.

Graduation Ceremony

If you are attending someone else’s graduation ceremony then opt towards something semi-formal yet still relatively youthful. Think chinos instead of trousers combined together with shirts in light colors (white/off white).

To complete the look, choose shoes which match the formality level required by attendees. For example, Oxford brogues rather than trainers plus do not forget about accessories like ties & pocket squares which help elevate any ensemble significantly.

Job Interview

For job interviews or other professional settings such as meetings with potential clients or business partners, men should always opt for something that looks polished and sophisticated.

A suit in black or navy blue is typically your best bet; however, if you want something more modern go with gray instead. Make sure you choose well-fitted pieces that are free from wrinkles and stains – nothing says unprofessional like an ill-fitting ensemble!

Other important details include wearing leather shoes (not sneakers), choosing neutral colors like white or light blue when selecting shirts/ties/pocket squares etc., making sure socks match trousers in color & pattern etc.


When attending weddings as either a guest of honor (groom) or simply someone invited by the couple themselves – dressing up smartly will show respect towards them on their special day.

Suits are preferred over tuxedos since they tend to be less formal than tuxedos but still look sharp enough without being too overdone. Try sticking with classic colors such as grey & navy blues which never fail no matter the occasion type.

Additionally accessorize tastefully by opting subtle elements like pocket squares/lapel pins etc., not forgetting good quality leather shoes which complete any outfit perfectly.

Formal Gala

Formal galas require even more attention when it comes to dressing appropriately. Opting darker hues such as midnight blues /black would work great alongside crisp white shirt paired off well-tailored trousers.

Adding subtle accessories alongside this combo helps elevate overall appearance further. Finally, do not forget about footwear – patent leather brogues /loafers could do wonders here.

Beach Event

Beachwear requires a different set of clothing rules, as comfort and practicality are paramount.

Opt for lightweight linen or cotton shirts and stylish shorts in vibrant colors or pattern. Don’t forget your flip-flops or boat shoes. Ensure they are the right length and fit for your body type.

Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun with sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunscreen. Beach casual is perfect for beach weddings, barbecues, and tropical vacations.

Sports Event

For sports and outdoor activities, practicality is key. Choose moisture-wicking sports attire, such as athletic shorts and performance t-shirts.

Ensure you have proper footwear for the activity, be it running shoes, hiking boots, or cleats.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and stay hydrated. This dress code is perfect for everything from golfing to hiking to playing team sports.


While men’s fashion has trends like any other area of life, conventions related to attire rarely change. Inappropriate attire is often overlooked except in situations where a specific dress code is expected. Funerals, weddings, and job interviews are examples of occasions when casual dress is unacceptable. When in doubt, check online, wear nice shoes and khakis, and keep that shirt tucked in.