Introduction

With the coming of the sun, we have already covered in inevitable summer balls/proms and weddings that will follow in its wake. However, there is another event that is just as unavoidable as the rest; the work do. For some of the guys out there I am sure it is the worst one of them all.

It’s understandable why. When it comes to formal events such as the ones we have already covered, there is an inherent dress code attached – generally a suit or something of a tailored nature. But with a work event, very rarely do you see ‘black tie’ attached to the e-vite. In fact, more often than not, no guidance or advice is given at all. To top it all off, it’s going to involve all the people you work with; your loud stupid neighbour, the woman from other side of the office you flirt with in the cafeteria line and your boss. Great.

But luckily, this is where FashionBeans comes in. As most of these events will be occurring during the evening, we can assume that leaving your bright pink chino shorts at home is a good idea. Sticking with neutral colours with accents of colour as a foundation is a good start for anyone whether you are a casual, formal or creative dresser.

Casual

Now the key to these events, regardless of what kind of style you have, is to be comfortable in your clothes. Once you’re comfortable, you will naturally be more confident which is the key, right? So if you are a casual dresser why not stick to what you know best by pairing you’re usual pieces with a few other formal items.

Usually head out to town in a pair of slim dark jeans, polo shirt and trainers? Why not throw on a tailored blazer in navy or grey? Maybe swap those trainers for some black laces ups instead? Or you could skip the blazer all together and go for a fitted cardigan instead and add a pinch of style with some brown penny loafers.

Either way the key here is to still use the clothes that make you feel at ease but to add a more fitted, formal element into the mix. This way you can show your colleagues that you know how to relax and how to step it up at the same time.

  • OFF WHITE CORD POLO T-SHIRT
  • Fred Perry Tipped Pique Cardigan
  • ASOS Slim Fit Cutaway Black Blazer
  • WESC Slim Jeans
  • H BY HUDSON Nickel Black Calf Leather Shoes
  • Grenson Brown Leather Tassel Clifford Loafers
Formal

If you’re the guy who always turns up to work in a suit and tie no matter the day, weather or occasion, the above looks may not be your cup of tea. But you can still take a leaf out of the casual mans book. After all, the people you work with see you in your formal get up every day; it’s time to loosen up and have a few drinks!

That favourite navy suit of yours is still fine to wear out but why not lose the tie, undo your top button and go belt-less? You’ll be surprised at how much more casual you will instantly look. You can also take this opportunity to add a bit of fun into your outfit. Any kind of neutral suit (not just navy) can be an anchor for a more adventurous dress shirt. Sure you can go for a light blue and pink version but why not try contrasting colours in yellow, green and purple.

Check out my articles on colour to understand which colours to opt for and remember the suit will pull the whole thing together. Alternatively, you could chose to swap your suit trousers out for some coloured chinos. Due to the event usually being held in the evening, try to stick to darker tones in olive, khaki and burgundy and you can’t go wrong.

  • NAVY TONIC DEBUT SKINNY SUIT
  • James and James Plain Navy Suit
  • zegna sartorial Micro-stripe wool suit
  • LILAC SMART LONG SLEEVE SHIRT
  • LEMON WASHED OXFORD SHIRT
  • Jil Sander Stretch Fit Cotton Shirt
  • Farah Vintage Walker Slim Fit Chinos
  • ASOS Slim Fit Chinos
  • paul smith Slim fit cotton chino trousers
Creative

But what about if you’re the renowned fashionable one in the office? The one with a penchant for pocket squares, braces, denim shirts and outlandish footwear. Well, there are still plenty of options for you as well.

Take this opportunity to experiment with fabrics and patterns. Why not invest in a pair of plaid suit trousers and partner them with a light blue shirt and navy cardigan combination? Alternatively, a neutral pair of chinos in grey or black with a dark fitted chambray shirt will look just as good. This outfit would look particularly polished with a bow tie.

Or finally, why not put a new spin on double denim with a look I have been using a lot recently. With your trusty pair of slim fit dark jeans pull on a fitted denim shirt but make sure that it has some colour to it. For example, I like to use a red chambray shirt that I picked up cheap at H&M and finish it off with some brown desert boots. The perfect balance of smart and casual.

  • BLUE VERTICAL STRIPED SHIRT
  • Navy Toggle Shawl Neck Cardigan
  • Pendleton Meets Opening Ceremony Plaid Suit Trousers
  • Polo Jeans Ralph Lauren Chambray Shirt
  • marc by marc jacobs Beach cotton chino trousers
  • Dockers Black Stretch Twill D0 Skinny Chinos
  • Grey Spotted Jersey Bow Tie
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Custom-Fit Rustic Chambray
  • Simon Spurr Straight Leg Selvage Denim Jeans

So there you have it guys, some ideas of what to wear when the next work do looms it’s ugly head. If you have any other tips or suggestions, feel free to share them below!

Next week we deal with the job interview.

Matt Allinson