1. Suit With A Twist

It’s galling dropping money that’s earmarked for presents on an outfit you only give a couple of annual outings. Instead, use luxe accessories to make everyday looks party-ready, with less outlay.

First, take your darkest suit and an equally shadowy shirt. Then, layer a silk scarf beneath the jacket. Muted tones pop against inky tailoring and, allied with contrasting fabrics, elevate your workwear for cocktail hour.

Subtle patterns lift things further, says Austin Reed buying manager Clotilde Blanc, who recommends geometric or pinpoint designs. Just stick to jewel tones to avoid dazzling the other guests.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - Dark Suit With A Silk ScarfDavid Naman AW14

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Dark Suit With A Silk Scarf


2. Black No Tie

By now the air tie should be a regular element in your tailoring rotation. But it can cross over over into your formalwear, too, if your tuxedo is pin-sharp.

Ditching the dickie exudes rock ‘n’ roll loucheness – Mark Ronson and Yeezy are no-bow proponents – so the slimmer and darker your tux, the better. It also pushes things casual, so tone down the rest of your look to suit; a shawl collar beats peak lapels, rich velvet trumps shiny wool, and don’t be tempted by studs or wing tip collars.

For extra frontman points, go all-black, from shirt to patent leather shoes.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - All Black TuxedoReiss AW15

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Velvet Shawl Blazer With Black Shirt

M&S AUTOGRAPH Pure Cotton Tailored Velvet Jacket - click to buyBurton Black Slim Smart Shirt - click to buy

3. The Tuxedo That Sticks Its Neck Out

Wherever you can avoid a bow tie, you should. Enlist instead your wardrobe’s most versatile piece, the roll neck, and you can take some dress code liberties.

Double-down on the 1970s ski lodge aesthetic with a touch of colour; if your roll neck is black and slim fitting, a burgundy or midnight blue dinner jacket has enough space to do its thing. Especially if it’s made from our old friend velvet, which lends your look some depth.

Couple with velvet slippers, says Suitsupply vice president Nish de Gruiter. Black and embroidered pulls top and bottom together, while offering a traditional touch to lower your host’s eyebrows.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - Blazer and Roll NeckHouse of Fraser AW14

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Men's Velvet Blazer and Roll Neck

Mango VELVET SHAWL BLAZER - click to buyUniqlo Extra Fine Merino Polo Neck Sweater - click to buy

4. Divide And Conquer

You can get more mileage from your tux without being the guy who treats Christmas Eve drinks like a Hollywood premiere. Deploy top and bottom separately and you inject some smarts into casual pieces, but avoid being overbearing. You’re at the Dog and Duck, not Mann’s Chinese Theater.

Tuxedo trousers dress up a white button-down, says Rosamund Ward, menswear designer at Whistles. “Try something like a crisp white Oxford shirt. By just doing your top button up you can turn it from casual to more formal.”

Alternatively, take a leaf from Balmain boss Olivier Rousteing’s book with a dinner jacket worn open over a white tee and jeans. It’s worth stealing his metal buttons and subtly coloured velvet, which nails that dressy-casual balance. The scoop-neck tie and brocade, less so.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - White Button-Down and Black Tux TrousersMango Man AW15

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White Button-Down and Black Tux Trousers

Whistles Panelled Shirt - click to buySuitsupplt Black Jort Smoking Trousers - click to buy

5. Licence To Chill

There’s an important, but too often ignored, distinction between taking inspiration from one of cinema’s most enduringly stylish characters, and dressing in a James Bond outfit. So expect an infestation of white tuxedos at this year’s Christmas do.

Avoid the Spectre homage with a nod, not a costume, by losing the bow tie and boutonniere in favour of a slim-fit mock roll neck (in black, naturally) and an off-white, double-breasted jacket. Pair with black trousers and chunky-soled black lace-ups and your look tacks away from fancy dress.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - White Blazer and Black TrousersZara Winter 2015

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White Blazer and Black Trousers

zara VELVET BLAZER - click to buyGEORGE T SLIM-FIT TROUSERS BLACK - click to buy

6. No Sweat

The ignominy of a snowman-emblazoned jumper is trumped only by being tarred a Scrooge on Christmas jumper day (it is for charity, after all). But you can allay the fun police without falling foul of their colleagues on the style beat.

Look for patterns that act as festive Rorschach blots; abstract to most, but which become a snowflake once accessorised with a Christmas hat. A white shirt draws the eye to your neckline (and away from the design), then finish with a denim or coach jacket that’s lightweight enough for indoors, to obscure what’s across your chest. And which you can button up in the real world.

Men's Go-To Party Season Outfit - Christmas Jumper and White ShirtASOS

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Christmas Jumper and White Shirt

ASOS Lambswool Rich Christmas Jumper with Snowflakes - click to buyASOS Skinny Oxford Shirt in White with Long Sleeves - click to buy