New Year In Style: How To Bend The Rules of Eveningwear

New Year In Style: How To Bend The Rules of Eveningwear

Say the word 'eveningwear' to most guys and they instantly conjure up images of tuxedos or velvet dinner jackets. The mental jump to formality is ingrained in us, but it needn't be. Of course there are plenty of occasions when only black tie will do, but whatever everything else in between - the dinner parties, the birthdays, the New Year's celebrations? For these types of gigs, you want to make a special effort, but one that isn't a huge departure from your regular wardrobe. So if you're looking to break up something special for New Year's Eve or convivial events in 2024, here's a little primer on how to nail down the tone...

Mansfield Jacket Bilson Brown

Mansfield Jacket
Bilson Brown

New York Special Shirt Abbingdon Charcoal

New York Special Shirt
Abbingdon Charcoal

Silk Knitted Tie Navy/Blue Stripe

Silk Knitted Tie
Navy/Blue Stripe

Tailoring, Only Relax It

Keep your tuxedo in its suit bag for now, and instead reach for a tailored jacket that demands respect, only without the formality. A quick way to dial down the dressed-up factor is to opt for an unstructured jacket, that is, one without any internal structure such as padding or canvassing. The result is a jacket that drapes more naturally and by design, looks more casual. It still has all the same sartorial elements, but is just that bit more off-duty. Single-breasted styles are preferable to double-breasted, since they are typically more versatile but don't rule out a great DB, just make sure it fits well in the length as there's nothing worse than a short DB.

 Mansfield Jacket Melrose Cord Green

Mansfield Jacket
Melrose Cord Green

Treviscoe Shirt Hudson Cord Green

Treviscoe Shirt
Hudson Cord Green

A Touch of Texture

Texture is everything when it comes to making a stylish statement, especially when you're talking tailoring. A flat high-twist merino wool cloth might be perfect for an everyday business suit, but it simply won't cut it for special nights out. That's where unique textures come in. Fabrics such as velvet and corduroy are perfect party suit materials, lending your look a bit of tactile glamour, while still being perfectly comfortable and even a touch bohemian. They can be styled with a simple white dress shirt for smart vibes, or a rollneck sweater for a more laid-back look. Your other option is to incorporate a jacket with pattern, such as a Prince of Wales check. You don't have to go wild either - a subtle houndstooth or tonal plaid can really elevate a tailored look.

Super Separates 

While a great suit is hard to beat, adopting a separates approach gives you much more flexibility when it comes to putting different looks together. That said, having a velvet, corduroy or plaid suit in your arsenal is a great starting place, because each of the jackets will lend themselves to being styled with different trousers. A simple pair of black dress trousers will turn each of the jackets into pseudo tuxedo jackets for smarter events for example, whereas a pair of well-tailored plaid trousers are a great foil for rollneck jumpers and blazers. Velvet jackets are also excellent dance partners with tapered denim jeans, providing a sophisticated bohemian look without trying too hard.

Mansfield Jacket Velvet Burgundy

Mansfield Jacket
Velvet Burgundy

Fishtail Trousers Velvet Burgundy

Fishtail Trousers
Velvet Burgundy

Conduit Classic Shirt Abbott White

Conduit Classic
Shirt Abbott White

Shirts and Ties

Whereas traditional formal eveningwear would ask for a stiff-collared dress shirt and bow-tie combination as non-negotiable, the much more relaxed option is to drop both and instead opt for a shirt with a soft-roll collar with or without a tie. If you're not of the tie persuasion, then an open collar shirt can still be an excellent accomplice to the tailored jacket. Contrasting textures and tones can be a strong look - for example, pairing a denim shirt with a racing green velvet jacket, or complementing an understated plaid jacket with a more vibrant check shirt. If you do like wearing a tie for special occasions but are aware that a classic Italian silk number might be too formal, then the silk knitted tie is the perfect go-between. You get the all the utility of a traditional tie, but with a more modern squared-off finish, and of course a tonne of texture from the knit. If you want to ditch the shirt altogether, then a fine-gauge rollneck or crew-neck jumper can also be brought into the fold. Dark tones are more easily assimilated into eveningwear wardrobes (such as wearing a black rollneck beneath a burgundy velvet jacket for example) but don't be afraid to mix it up with a bolder contrast tone in the knit so long as the suit or separates are muted.

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