Time to showcase some sartorial prowess, gentlemen. It’s party season and the only way to go is head-turningly sharp. From top tips on wearing a tux, to a rundown on formal footwear, below is our guide to looking good – nay, excellent – for the festivities of Christmas and New Year.
So whether you’re headed to a strictly black tie ball or need to whip your smartwear into shape for a work do, these are the top five pieces to survive the season in style.
If the onset of Christmas sees your inbox overflow with invites to classy parties and chic soirées, then the highest of fives to you, sir, because here lies an opportunity to step out looking swish in a perennial menswear classic: the tuxedo.
Every man – no matter what your occupation – will need to call on the peerless style of a tux at one point or another. So, if you don’t already have one of these hanging in your wardrobe, now’s the time to invest.
When it comes to selecting a tuxedo, there are three key options to choose from: notch, peak and shawl lapels. Peak styles add welcome breadth to beanpole frames, while shawl lapels streamline the more heavily set. Notch styles are perhaps the safest option; sitting somewhere in the middle, they work well for the majority of body types.
As for colour, steer conservative: black is timeless, while midnight blue offers plenty of personality and a subtle point of difference (but probably won’t fit quite as many dress codes as the former).
For a slim and super smooth silhouette, make yours an all-black number with a satin shawl lapel. It’s a classic and its shape is flattering enough to shave a few pounds off your midsection, if you’re carrying some festive heft. Go all-out and pair yours with some patent leather shoes, a proper self-tie bow tie and a white Marcella shirt with a wing or turndown collar.
You’ll find first-in-class options (with first-in-class price tags to match) at Gieves & Hawkes and Tom Ford (Bond’s current brand of choice), but, mercifully, the high street is loaded with smart, yet relatively low cost styles, leaving you with plenty of leftover cash to splurge on a bottle of Moët to accessorise your look with.
- Asos Slim Fit Tuxedo Suit
- Satin Lapel Tuxedo
- Next Black Signature Tuxedo
- Suitsupply Smoking Black Plain
- Gieves & Hawkes Midnight-blue Faille-trimmed Wool-twill Tuxedo
- Tom Ford Black Slim-fit Mohair And Wool-blend Tuxedo
- Austin Reed Plain Notch Collar Classic Fit Tuxedo
- Reiss Mayfair Peak Lapel Tuxedo Black
- Midnight Blue Slim Fit Shawl Collar Tuxedo
To coincide with the forthcoming season of mulled everything, the likes of River Island, M&S, Reiss and SuitSupply have stacked their shelves with a slew of handsome velvet jackets for the more sartorially intrepid partygoer. Not only are they a statement-making alternative to a sober dinner jacket – in a sharply tailored fit, they’re also surprisingly versatile.
On the topic of fit, finding the right one here is the difference between looking like Golden Era Hollywood royalty and a Hugh Hefner-meets-Austin Powers hybrid. Find a style that’s cut slim rather than boxy and fits you as well as any other of your suit jackets: sleeves not too long or short, nipped just right at the waist, not too broad or restrictively narrow through the upper back and shoulders.
If you’re a card-carrying party season peacock, opt for a jewel colour like purple, amber or emerald. Alternatively, if you’re looking to strike a more classic tone, then go for one in black, navy or burgundy. Wear yours as a straight swap for your tuxedo or suit jacket. You can also dress one of these down for a shindig that doesn’t dictate a super strict dress code by pulling it over a roll neck and teaming with black denim.
- Ps Paul Smith Velvet Blazer
- Etro Velvet Blazer
- Ted Baker Velveto Velvet Jacket Navy
- Reiss Magnum Velvet Blazer Grey
- Haider Ackermann Petrol Velvet Blazer
- Burberry London Dark-purple Slim-fit Velvet Blazer
- Richard James Seishin Velvet Blazer
- Noose And Monkey Green Velvet Blazer
- Autograph New Pure Cotton Slim Fit Buttonsafe 2 Button Velvet Jacket
- River Island Brown Velvet Slim Fit Blazer
- Zara Velvet Blazer
- Suitsupply Dinner Jacket Blue Plain
Injecting your look with little idiosyncrasies is what party season is all about, not to mention a simple way of asserting your status as the best dressed man in the room.
To wit, we’re recommending patterned trousers – from subtle checks to houndstooth and paisley options almost as spirited as you after a few sherries. These styles can be swapped in as a lively alternative to your normal neutrals, injecting your festive season looks with some serious flair.
As with all statement pieces, you’ll want to keep the rest of your look low-key by comparison – so try your checked trews with a crisp white dress shirt and some smart shoes in black or dark brown. As for the fit of your trousers, for the smartest effect, ensure there’s minimal break and that they’re slim without being overly skinny. That way, you’ll also be able to put them to work on a more casual bent with a tucked-in black or white T-shirt and some loafers.
As ever, household names ASOS, Zara and H&M all do a cracking turn in patterned pants. But for expertly constructed pairs in killer Prince of Wales checks, look no further than Ted Baker and Hardy Amies at the mid to upper end of the spectrum.
- Suitsupply Blue Trousers
- Hardy Amies Brinsley Fit Check Trousers
- Reiss Stryker T Tonal Check Trousers Navy
- Etro Slim-fit Checked Wool-blend Trousers
- Missoni Slim-fit Checked Wool-blend Boucle Trousers
- River Island Navy Vito Check Trousers
- Austin Reed Signature Contemporary Fit Blue Stripe Trousers
- Christopher Kane Slim-fit Cube Jacquard Trousers
- Club Monaco Connor Slim-fit Printed Cotton Chinos
- Alexander Mcqueen Tailored Floral-jacquard Trousers
- Saint Laurent Pinstripe Trousers
- Kenzo Dots & Stripes Trousers
Traditionally speaking, a pair of patent leather lace-up dress shoes is the only footwear to consider for black or white tie events. Exceptionally elegant, the hallmarks of a classic pair of dress shoes include a slim, sleek silhouette and a thin leather sole. Nothing beats them when it comes to styling out a tuxedo.
In the interest of versatility, however, it’s worth considering your options. Nowadays, there are fresher, more contemporary styles in patent that put a modern spin on the traditional dress shoe. For instance, a pair of Derbies, Oxfords, wingtip brogues or buckled monk-straps look the business in high shine leather and bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary styling brilliantly – though you’ll want to deploy the latter two cautiously, as details plus patent can sometimes equal overkill.
Whichever style you plump for, pulling them off is all about the polish. Which means regularly cleaning and polishing them with a specially formulated patent leather cleaner, or some mineral oil or Vaseline if in a pinch.
As for recommend purveyors, British shoemakers Grenson have the strongest options – literally, the brand’s Goodyear-welted range are built to last and are worth the initial outlay.
- Aldo Berarien Leather Dress Slippers
- Grenson Sid Brogues
- Reiss Christopher Patent Leather Shoes Black
- Tods Leather Monk Strap Shoes
- Brioni Patent-leather Loafers
- H By Hudson Dawlish Patent Derby Shoes
- Oliver Sweeney London Buxhall Patent Brogue Derby Shoes
- River Island Black Patent Leather Slipper Shoes
- River Island Black Smart Patent Shoes
In a perfect party season world, you’d be stepping out in a tailor-made tux or suit. But unless you got your Christmas bonus early this year, chances are you’ll be buying something off-the-peg instead. No harm – that’s what accessories are for. Carefully selected peripherals have the power to transform an inexpensive suit, and they’ll lend premium tailoring a lift too. Here are some of the key accents you should consider.
There’s no shame in buying a pre-tied bow tie, given the never-guess nature of some styles nowadays. Marks & Spencer has a solid fake neckwear selection, as does T.M.Lewin.
But if you’re ready to embrace 007-levels of sophistication, check out Reiss, Drake’s and Hugo Boss for some of the best DIY versions you can buy.
S. Cohen AW14
- Reiss Roco Silk Dotted Bow Tie Navy
- Brioni Silk Self-tie Bow Tie
- Metallic Effect Textured Bow Tie
- Big Bow Tie By Hugo
- Suitsupply Black Bow Tie
- Kingsman + Drakes Silk-faille Bow Tie
Not just good for keeping your sleeves from fluttering 1700s-style, cufflinks are also ideal for injecting some personality into your party looks.
Paul Smith is king of stripes and spots when it comes to accessories, so check him out for always on-point wristwear. Or try Aspinal of London if you’re looking for something more classic.
Alice Made This AW15
- Engraved Double Domed Sterling Silver Cufflinks
- Paul Smith Mens Crocodile Skin Pattern Circular Cufflinks
- Paul Smith Mens Signature Stripe Cufflinks
- Alice Made This Oliver Stainless Steel Cufflinks
- Turnbull & Asser Silver And Mother-of-pearl Button Cufflinks
- Tateossian Rhodium-plated Howlite Cufflinks
Silk Pocket Squares
Sometimes form trumps function, so despite the fact that a pocket square is as useful as a carpet fitter’s ladder, it elevates your look from average to on-point instantly.
Try ASOS’ Reclaimed Vintage styles if you want bang for your buck, or pore over Drake’s beautifully crafted selection if you’re ready to splurge.
- Turnbull & Asser Silk Pocket Square
- Kingsman + Drakes Silk Pocket Square
- White Evening Silk Pocket Square
- Drakes Paisley Silk Pocket Square
- Reclaimed Vintage Polkadot Pocket Square
- Reiss Griggs Silk Pocket Square Emerald
Like the ability to saber a bottle of champagne, a well-placed silk scarf separates the men from the boys. Loosely drape one of these around you as the last you thing you do before you jump in your Uber and you’re in for an evening of congratulatory back pats.
Hackett and Charles Tyrwhitt have your bases covered – from plain colour to paisley.
- Jigsaw Silk Wool Houndstooth Scarf
- Austin Reed Spot Print Silk Scarf
- Hackett Silk Evening Scarf
- Moss 1851 White Silk Dress Scarf
- Ted Baker Paisley Silk Scarf
- Black And White Reversible Silk Scarf
As is the case with cufflinks, lapel pins prove standing out needn’t always mean loud statements. Add one of these to your chest for some colour contrast or a well-placed talking point.
Add Hawes & Curtis to your hit list to pick up one of these.
- Denison Boston Skimm Lapel Pin
- M&s Collection Rose Lapel Pin
- Hawes & Curtis Mens White Flower Lapel Pin
- Reclaimed Vintage Fleur De Lis Lapel Pin
- Reiss Fabio Pin Domed Lapel Pin Silver
- River Island Blue Textured Flower Lapel Pin
Ensure the above pieces are accounted for in your party season line-up and you’ll avoid any last-minute panic. The month-long hangover, however, we regrettably can’t help you with.
What’s your go-to festive party look? And how do you keep it personal while adhering to dress codes?
Let us know below.