If you’ve got a formal event such as a wedding, awarding ceremony, or banquet lined up anytime soon, you’d better suit up (literally)—because at these events, style is key. Looking neat, clean, and dapper serves as an acknowledgment of sorts: that you’re aware that the invitation is an honor, and that you’re well-prepared to engage in the festivities.
Some of the core essentials that you should have ready for a formal event are a well-fitted suit of quality material, a crisp dress shirt, a tie or bow tie of an appropriate color, and dress shoes such as classic leather wingtips or double monk straps.
But if you really want to level up and stand out among the guests, without looking too ostentatious, add a special touch with your accessories. Even small additions to your repertoire of accessories can totally transform the whole look. If you want to know where to start, here’s our list of five must-haves to mix and match.
- Your best watch. Perhaps among all other accessories, the watch remains a staple in a gentleman’s wardrobe, and is one of the primary indicators of class and good taste. Make sure to bring out the timepiece that goes best with your chosen outfit—and trust us, even if you feel like you’re the only one looking at it, it’ll make a huge difference to the overall look.
- A lapel pin. Lapel pins and boutonnieres made of mesh, silk, or metal are a go-to nowadays, and with good reason. Wearing a lapel pin is a great way to express solidarity with the event’s celebrants, such as in the cases of a guest color-coordinating the pin to the event’s theme, or groomsmen all wearing the same pin to distinguish them as a group. At the same time, the lapel pin can convey the creativity and unique character of its wearer, and is thus a welcome little pop of color to the ensemble.3. A hardy belt. Though it may not necessarily be the scene-stealer in your outfit, a good leather belt is another valuable addition to your repertoire—a way to spell out understated elegance. We recommend classic black or brown, and matching the belt and buckle with the color of your dress shoes and watch.
- A pocket square. Another classy and creative accessory for your suit is a colorful pocket square. There are endless possibilities to mix and match in terms of color, pattern, material, and fold. There aren’t any rules except to see what really goes with the outfit—whether it’s matching the color and pattern of your tie, or a refreshing and eye-popping contrast to it. You don’t even need to limit your perspective to a cloth pocket square, as alternatives such as wooden pocket squares are now widely available in the market. Lastly, you can opt for a classic fold, or experiment with new and shapes and lines.
- Some unique cufflinks. With cufflinks on your dress shirt, you can look good at the event even with your coat off, and showcase a little playfulness at the same time. A wide variety of cufflinks are now sold in conventional shapes, such as circular pegs with stone embedding—or more adventurous and themed designs, even with the image of your favorite comic book or TV characters. The sky’s the limit on these accessories; they can be worn as an element to enhance the colors in the outfit, or a coy, minimal way to stay in-theme with the event.
Additional Tips on Looking Ready for the Red Carpet
Accessories are only one important dimension of your look; other things that go a long way are good grooming and a sensitivity to the dress code. One need not underestimate the importance of a good cut-and-shave; have a quick trim, keep your beard or mustache neat, and maybe lather on a little pomade. Iron out your clothes, shine your shoes, take a good look or two in the mirror—and perhaps you’ll be good to go.
Lastly, see if your outfit is appropriate for the event in terms of colors, material, and the like. You don’t want to be known either as the guy who outshone the celebrant, or the one who looked totally lost or out of place in the crowd. “Clothes make the man,” as the saying goes—and with how much a difference it all makes, you better believe it!