Home Men Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Attire for Men to Dress the Right Way

Ultimate Guide to Cocktail Attire for Men to Dress the Right Way


So, you’re going to attend a cocktail party soon. Do you have to follow any dress code? Cocktail attire for men are not so tough to pin down. Shopping or assembling the items beforehand while following certain dressing rules will give you a smart and dashing look.

Don’t get too hot under the collar reading the lines ‘Dress code required for cocktail attire’. I’m here to help you out. When you don’t have clear information about how to dress formally or casually, people can surely notice the confusion. From shoes to shirts to season-based outfits, everything is explained in detail to help you get either well-equipped or shopping-inspo.

Table of Contents

1. What is Cocktail Attire for Men?

2. History of Cocktail Attire

3. When to Wear Cocktail Attire?

4. What Shoes to Wear?

5. What Suits to Buy?

6. Shirts for Cocktail Events

7. Pants for Cocktail Parties

8. Accessories to Match

9. Ties

10. Belts

11. Wedding Cocktail Dress

12. Business Cocktail Attire

13. Casual Cocktail Attire

14. Garden Cocktail Attire

15. Summer Cocktail Dress Code

16. Winter Cocktail Dress

17. Is Wearing Jacket Important?

18. Dos and Don’ts

19. Additional Tips

20. Conclusion

What is Cocktail Attire for Men?

The actual definition of cocktail attire for men can set even an expert thinking. Generally, cocktail dress codes are somewhat formal, though not like a business attire. Precisely said, it falls in the ‘Semi-formal’ category. All you need to consider is to show your uniqueness.

When it concerns dressing up for a cocktail event, avoid items that make you look too dressy. Definitely, it’s not the event to show off with your tuxedos. Rather, consider the formality of the occasion. Pick something classy and sophisticated. Make sure the selected items are going with your personality.

What’s the History of Cocktail Attire?

Elite classes in the early 20th century often used to organize mid-afternoon get-together party to have fun and drink boozy beverages. People preferred to wear appropriate clothes to attend such events. From this urge to dress properly, ‘cocktail attire’ comes into play. Later, it took the shape of a formal look.

As time flies, cocktail attire for men started to indicate a semi-formal style. The attire took inspiration from modern way of fashion. However, the purpose of going to the party didn’t change. It gives people the opportunity to dress properly to get the eyeballs.

When to Wear Cocktail Attire?

This question may first puzzle you after getting a cocktail party invitation card. The host or hostess of the event may not consider it important to mention ‘Cocktail attire is required.’ However, it doesn’t mean that you should go completely casual.

Any official invitations like fundraising events, weddings, social get-together, and funerals requires you to dress cocktail-worthy. Moreover, if you’re getting paid for attending there, dress according to the code.

What Shoes to Wear?

Needless to say, you’re definitely not going to wear your sleepers. Shoes always tells about the personality of its wearer. Therefore, you should be picky in shoes’ selection. Some of the good picked shoes for cocktail events are:

Monk strap shoes

Round toe leather soled Oxfords

Suede or tasseled loafers

Try to wear loafers in navy, black, and brown color.

Oxford shoes with traditional round toe leather are sophisticated and timeless. Monk strap shoes can also satisfy the cocktail purists. Avoid wearing sneakers. They may be OK for casual events. But, they’re definitely not a good choice for cocktail parties.

Whatever shoes you’re going to wear, make sure they’re cleaned and polished. If your favorite suede shoes have scuffs,remove stains from your suede shoes with these tips.

What Suits to Buy?

A well-fitted suit with a trouser can complement your look. Your suit should have minimal patterns. Pinstripes or windowpanes patterns are failsafe options. Some of the most classic colors for suits are:

  • Charcoal grey
  • Muted grey
  • Subdued cobalt
  • Dark brown
  • Dusky navy

Love to show your individuality? Choose something smart than a standard suit. Smart trousers and flamboyant jacket sometimes draw more attention. Wear a jacket that has an uncommon detailing. Keep the common patterned jackets for hanging out with friends.

Shirts for Cocktail Attire

Layer up your shirt with a blazer to harmonize it. Shirts’ colors to wear with striped or checked jacket:

  • Grey
  • White
  • Blue

Well-tailored button down shirts with bright patterns can give a new dimension to the traditional way of dressing. Put on suits that contrast the color of your shirt. Also, pay attention to the collar. Avoid wearing shirts with limp or floppy collars. Don’t go for French cuffs for daytime cocktail invitations. Conversely, keep those shirts aside for a dapper look at evening soirees.

Pants for Cocktail Parties

Match the color of your pant with the shirt or blazer. Playing with colors can give the entire look a fun-twist. But, it won’t make you look funny. Iron your pants properly to avoid crimpling. The hemming should be just above your ankle. Instead of wearing loose pants, opt for well-tailored pants to get the sleek and polished refinement for your overall appeal.

If the event is casual, you can wear jeans with a shirt. However, stay away from jeans if the occasion is formal.

Accessories to Match

A cocktail invitation is the best time to wear accessories without looking too flashy. If you’ve been thinking about going with a pocket square, this is the best event for that. Adding a silk neck scarf with polka dots is also in for a smart and fashionable look. Wear smart watch. Outstanding cufflinks are also a popular face in the genre of cocktail attire for men.


For semi-formal occasions, button-down shirts without ties is preferable for a relaxed look. However, for formal occasions, a slim tie is important to dress effortlessly for cocktail event. Look for silk or crocheted ties that have a modern appeal. Bright blue, green, and red ties can be your pick.


When it comes to belts, focus on classics. Buy belts you can choose to wear on different occasions. These types of belts may be expensive, but they really worth the money. As for instance, you can consider suede or leather belts as they are durable.

Wedding Cocktail Attire

Most of the weddings encourage men to wear cocktail dress codes. Such events are good for elegant and neutral colored dresses. If it’s a beach destination wedding, go for linen suits of bright colors. Stick to simple patterns. Pocket squares are what you can consider for these types of events.

Dress Code for Business Cocktail Party

It’s not necessary to wear suit for business parties. Definitely, it will help you look your best. Dark navy blue suit or shirt with charcoal grey trouser helps you stay conservative. Add a slim tie. Wear a leather strap watch with it. Finish off the look with dark brown leather or suede shoes.

Casual Cocktail Attire

Casual cocktail attire

Casual cocktail parties aren’t the events to dress too formal. Sports jackets or blazers paired with jeans are perfect for casual events. If you want to have a laidback style, ditch your Oxford or suede shoes. Rather, swap those for leather sneakers.

A button down navy blue or black shirt also can go with well-fitted jeans. Above all, this outfit will give you a relaxed look while making you cocktail-worthy at the same time.

Outfit for Garden Cocktail Parties

Light colored shirts or suits are good for garden cocktail parties at daytime. If you’ve waist coat in your wardrobe, take it out this time. Wear it over a light colored shirt. A striped pattern waist coat looks superb. Match it with the trouser. Add metal strap or leather watch, a sunglass, a pair of leather or suede shoes, and a bow tie or necktie to draw the eyes on you.

Summer Cocktail Dress

A white properly ironed button-up shirt should be your first choice. It’s not essential that you’ve to wear white shirts only. But, light colored shirts are surefire ways to dress nicely and appropriately. Wear contrasting colored trousers such as navy blue, black, or dark brown. Wear suede or leather Oxford shoes.  Complete the look with a brown color leather belt. Put on a sunglass if it’s a daytime event.

Find out shirts with spread collar. Especially if you’re going to wear a tie. Shirts with spread collars will help you to show off your tie. However, stay away from spread collared shirts if you’ve a big neck.

Winter Cocktail Dress

Blazer and jacket are excellent options for wintertime cocktail events. Moreover, you’re free to play with colors at this time of the year (because even if you wear dark colors, the absorbed heat won’t make you sweat). Or, simply wear shirts with heavy fabric. The same goes for the pants too.

Mind it, when it concerns pattern, bold patterns can come into play. But, choose to go with subtle prints like herringbone and windowpane.

Is Wearing Jacket Important for Cocktail Parties?

Always, keep in mind the purpose of occasion while dressing up. Jackets look good. But, there’s no rule that you’ve to wear it. On the contrary, you can ditch them to attend a casual event. If the temperature falls, wearing a jacket will help you to keep yourself warm.

Dos and Don’ts

Dos Don’ts
Wear colors that either contrast or matches each other. Never wear colors like orange, maroon, deep green for formal events.
Tie clip, pocket squares, and suede shoes can add personal touches to the outfit. Don’t always follow the traditional cocktail attire sign. Rather show off your uniqueness.
Choose shirts and pants that are well-fitted and are not crimpled. Avoid wearing chinos, polo-shirts, and tees as they’re for more casual occasions.
A classic slim-fit shirt with a dark suit is good to go for evening events. Don’t pair up a shirt with your work suit if you want to skip the tie.
Match the color of your belt with shoes. Wearing watches with cloth straps can harm your overall look.

Additional Tips to Look Perfect for Cocktail Event

1. Keep the host in mind. If the host or hostess is more modern, dress in a modern way.

2.Match the color of your socks with trousers.

3.Spray on your signature perfume before stepping out.

4.If you’re confused, wear a tie.

5.Wear calf-length socks.

6.A pair of cufflinks can be an excellent statement piece.

7.If your tie has a bold pattern, pair it up with a simple pocket square, and vice versa.

8.Navy and grey colored suits are seasonless. So, you can wear them at any time of the year.


Now, you know how to dress rightly for cocktail events at different seasons and occasions. Add a splash of color if you’re ready to go bold. But, make sure those colors aren’t making you look ridiculous.

Let me know your comments on the article.

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