Men’s Party Season Style Boosts

Just like clockwork, the party season is once again upon us as we wind down to enjoy the festive period. It’s that time of year for getting suited, booted and suitably inebriated – and we’re here to ensure you’re the best-dressed guy in the room, even when the liquor has gone down a little too well (and you think a strand of neon tinsel is a fitting accessory).

In a sea full of suits, it can often be a challenge to subtly stand out. Resorting to a full-blown festive statement can come across a little too abrasive, especially at formal occasions where peacocking is at best passè, and at worst poor taste. Aside from nailing the basics – perfect fit, polished shoes, well-proportioned tie knot etc. – a touch of creativity and some considered attention to detail will elevate your style above bog standard tailoring.

In this feature, we’re giving you three ways to boost your festive season style that are easy to implement yet so often overlooked or simply not thought of…

1. Tuxedo Separates

With designers increasingly blurring the lines between classic formal wear and casual wear, the tuxedo jacket has evolved from a black tie exclusive to a serious suiting option. After a few years as the reserve of renters, the dinner jacket is now worth welcoming into your wardrobe full-time. Having shaken off its strictly formal status, this blazer now works just as well with its matching trousers as it does a slim-fit t-shirt and jeans combination.

Step up your party attire by applying your suit separates know-how to your tux. Mix things up by pairing your black or navy jacket with grey trousers or make a more daring move with an unconventional dinner jacket – burgundy would certainly be my personal recommendation here; velvet also makes for a timelessly sophisticated choice – anchored with more unassuming legwear.

Breaking the dinner suit down into its constituent parts may be sacrilege for some but this is the office party we’re talking here, not a white tie dinner with the Queen. If the dress code is more smart-casual than full formal, consider coupling your tuxedo jacket with denim, preferably dark, for an eye-catching high-low combination.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Tuxedo/Dinner Jackets Paired With Non-Matching Trousers and Jeans

avva ss13suitsupplyunknownhouse of fraser aw14mango man winter 2014dunhill aw14hugo boss aw14sarar black tie aw14sarar black tie aw14Americana Manhasset Holiday 2014Gieves & Hawkes aw13reiss aw14
Key Pieces
  • Topman Navy Jaquard Skinny TuxedoTopman Navy Jaquard Skinny Tuxedo
  • Ben Sherman Black Watch Velvet Camden Fit BlazerBen Sherman Black Watch Velvet Camden Fit Blazer
  • Reiss Jenson Slim-fit Velvet Blazer BordeauxReiss Jenson Slim-fit Velvet Blazer Bordeaux
  • He By Mango Textured Satin Tuxedo BlazerHe By Mango Textured Satin Tuxedo Blazer
  • Reiss Maynard Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket MidnightReiss Maynard Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket Midnight
  • He By Mango Applique Velvet Tailored BlazerHe By Mango Applique Velvet Tailored Blazer
  • John Lewis Velvet Peak Lapel Jacket BrownJohn Lewis Velvet Peak Lapel Jacket Brown
  • River Island White Two-tone Tux BlazerRiver Island White Two-tone Tux Blazer
  • Wooyoungmi Navy Slim-fit Wool-blend Suit JacketWooyoungmi Navy Slim-fit Wool-blend Suit Jacket
2. Patterned Trousers

Tailoring has moved away from block-colour monotony of late with pinstripes staging a comeback and checks redefining the smarter side of our wardrobes. A check suit would certainly be worth some consideration for standing out during the upcoming party season but, equally, you can swap in separates for less formal event and occasions.

There are several ways of trying your hand at this one, depending on just how comfortable and confident you are with experimenting. The easiest way to wear patterned legwear would be to team some Prince of Wales or windowpane check trousers with a complementary, neutral-coloured blazer – grey and navy, and black and grey, are two colour combinations that every man can pull off effortlessly.

Alternatively, you could opt for some on-trend tartan or a similarly colourful check to create a bolder ensemble. As always, aim for a pleasing contrast with a jacket in a more classic, less attention-grabbing block-colour that complements the palette of your trousers.

Striped designs are another option, but can prove a little more difficult to pull off as a separate in comparison to checked styles. To better your chances of success, go for a full-blown chalk-stripe to make it look as deliberate as possible, and pair with a strongly contrasting but complementary coloured blazer.

Polka dots, camo print, paisley and flecked designs are also available on the current market and well worth considering if you wish to make more of a statement. However, it’s important to always bear in mind the dress code and expected formality of the occasion – these are perhaps best saved for a Christmas night out.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Patterned Trousers - Party/Night Out Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

ramsey aw14zara aw12ravazzolo aw13el burgues aw14suitsupply 2014river island aw13hugo boss sportswear aw14drykorn aw13urban outfittersted baker aw14gant holiday 2012topman aw14
Key Pieces
  • Selected Tartan Cropped Trousers In Skinny FitSelected Tartan Cropped Trousers In Skinny Fit
  • Topman Grey Window Pane Check Suit TrousersTopman Grey Window Pane Check Suit Trousers
  • Asos Slim Fit Suit Trousers In Fine StripeAsos Slim Fit Suit Trousers In Fine Stripe
  • He By Mango Pleated Printed ChinosHe By Mango Pleated Printed Chinos
  • Topman Light Grey And Burgundy Check Suit TrousersTopman Light Grey And Burgundy Check Suit Trousers
  • Ted Baker Flortro Floral Paisley ChinoTed Baker Flortro Floral Paisley Chino
  • Suitsupply Orange Blue TrousersSuitsupply Orange Blue Trousers
  • Austin Reed Viyella Tartan Wool TrousersAustin Reed Viyella Tartan Wool Trousers
  • Beams Plus Checked Cotton TrousersBeams Plus Checked Cotton Trousers
3. Fine-tuning Accessories

Attention to detail is so often the mark of a discerning man who knows his way around a wardrobe – and nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to formal dressing.

Unlike female partygoers, we don’t have the same breadth of formal options, so standing out depends on those little nuances that make a big difference when everyone is wearing the same two-button, notched lapel navy suit.

That said, accessorising with care is crucial to taking your party tailoring up a level. Pile on too much and it comes across affected and try-hard. As well as a tie and pocket square, consider finishing your festive party look with these two game-changing additions:

The Cardholder

Too often overlooked and underappreciated, the wallet is an afterthought for many of us, prized for its function rather than form. Stuffed with receipts and loyalty cards and weighed down with unnecessary mounds of change, it’s rare that we think about the effect these receptacles have on our overall look.

Large, overfull wallets ruin slim lines by billowing out our trouser or jacket pockets with unnecessary bulges. Is all that excessive baggage really needed in the day to day (let alone when attending a party)? It’s time to ditch the bulky billfold and invest in a slim, stylish cardholder to carry your evening essentials.

Leather really is the leader when it comes to picking a style, so choose a smooth or grain leather version in black, brown or tan if you’re a classicist, or try a coloured option for something more contemporary.

  • Asos Leather Cardholder – Made In EnglandAsos Leather Cardholder - Made In England
  • He By Mango Leather CardholderHe By Mango Leather Cardholder
  • Reiss Adriano Textured Card Holder RedReiss Adriano Textured Card Holder Red
  • Smythson Mens Blue Panama Grained Leather Card HolderSmythson Mens Blue Panama Grained Leather Card Holder
  • Fred Perry Scotch Grain Cardholder In BrownFred Perry Scotch Grain Cardholder In Brown
  • Herschel Charlie Card Holder In TweedHerschel Charlie Card Holder In Tweed
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Grained-leather CardholderPolo Ralph Lauren Grained-leather Cardholder
  • Mulberry Cross-grain Leather CardholderMulberry Cross-grain Leather Cardholder
  • Richard James Ombre Leather CardholderRichard James Ombre Leather Cardholder
The Silk Scarf

A riskier style statement than any of our other suggested party season tips, the silk scarf is all about aesthetics. Given that its practical benefits are pretty much nil, choosing to incorporate a silk scarf is a style statement in the truest sense, so be sure to take no prisoners if you want to make this one fly. When pulled off with panache, it adds a genuine touch of class to your ensemble.

There are numerous ways to wear one and you may have to experiment a bit to find out which works best for you and your particular party look. Firstly, there’s the option of simply draping it over your shoulders, tuxedo style. Alternatively, you could wrap it around your neck and slip it under your jacket so that it peaks out next to your lapel for a more subtle effect, or go tie-less and tie it like an Ascot under your shirt for an old-school approach.

A couple of other considerations are colour and pattern. Black is a popular choice, and other neutrals like light grey and off-white work well, too. If you’re feeling ballsy enough for a printed design, polka dot is a good place to start, given that it stands out without screaming.

For those intent on properly pulling out all the style stops, plump for a colourful paisley or something particularly contemporary like dark camo or subdued florals, which are sure to see you soar above the competition.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Silk Scarves Party/Night Out Outfit Inspiration Lookbook

j lindebergel burgues aw14dolce & gabbana aw14dolce & gabbana aw14digel aw14Canali aw13avva aw14angelo nardelli aw14j crew aw14asos christmas 2014Canali aw13river island christmas 2013
  • Ted Baker Mrcal Silk & Velvet ScarfTed Baker Mrcal Silk & Velvet Scarf
  • Reiss Bobby Spotted Silk Scarf BordeauxReiss Bobby Spotted Silk Scarf Bordeaux
  • Black Silk Printed ScarfBlack Silk Printed Scarf
  • Duchamp Geometric Silk ScarfDuchamp Geometric Silk Scarf
  • Austin Reed Black/cream Spot Silk ScarfAustin Reed Black/cream Spot Silk Scarf
  • Moss 1851 Black Silk Dress ScarfMoss 1851 Black Silk Dress Scarf
  • Gucci Horsebit-print Silk Scarf 216087Gucci Horsebit-print Silk Scarf 216087
  • Ted Baker Rivton Printed Silk ScarfTed Baker Rivton Printed Silk Scarf
  • Brooks Brothers Fringed Silk-jacquard ScarfBrooks Brothers Fringed Silk-jacquard Scarf
Final Word

Dressing for black tie parties and other formal occasions can quickly become tedious and monotonous. After all, at first glance, it may seem like there’s not a huge amount of scope for interpreting these dress codes. But armed with these three simple solutions, you’re sure to have some fresh ideas to put into practice when the invites come flooding in this time around.

Will you be taking on board any of these suggestions this year? How do you like to stand out during party season?

Let us know your thoughts below…