Formal party wear


Never let it be said that we’re not contrary sorts at ShortList. Just a few weeks ago there we were lamenting the proliferation of pointless rules in sport, and by Jove we stand by what we said too.

However, not all rules are arbitrary constructs designed to preserve the status quo at the expense of the working man – oops, sorry, thought we were at our revolutionary Tuesday night meetings for a sec.

No, some rules work. Some rules actually enhance one’s life. Take style for instance. With the winter party season fast approaching it’s prudent to bear the following dress code pointers in mind. After all, we don’t want you getting your black tie contemporary look all mixed up with your black tie traditional. Talk about a faux pas…

  • Formal  party wear

    Cocktail Traditional

    The Rules:

    -Peaked lapel ‘smoking’ jacket in a statement fabric

    -Formal white shirt with a cut-away collar

    -Formal black gabardine trousers

    -Velvet or satin bow tie and matching cummerbund

    -Patent or velvet pumps

    Floral print jacket with peaked lapels £2,120; white dress shirt £375; trousers £1,020; pocket square £90; black satin bow tie £120 and black satin cummerbund £250 all by TOM FORD AT HARRODS 020-7730 1234

  • Formal  party wear 1

    Cocktail contemporary

    Blue velvet blazer with peaked lapels £486 by TIM SOAR; shirt with bib front £34.99 by LANVIN + H&M,; pink silk pocket square£40 by JOHN LEWIS 08456-049 049

  • Formal  party wear 2

    Black tie traditional

    The rules:

    - Shawl collar or peaked lapel SB black tuxedo suit

    - Contrast fabric satin collars and side stripe for trousers

    - Wing-collared and bib-fronted white shirt

    - Black satin bow tie and matching cummerbund

    - Presidential-fold white pocket square

    - Black patent pumps or leather Oxford shoes

    Black tuxedo with shawl collar £495; white dress shirt £95; black bow tie £45 all by GIEVES & HAWKES; white pocket square £5 by JOHN LEWIS 08456-049049; Tank Americaine LM watch in white gold on black crocodile skin strap £8,800 by CARTIER

  • Formal  party wear 3

    Black tie contemporary

    Midnight blue tuxedo with black lapels (sold as separates) £114.98 by LANVIN + H&M; white shirt £45 by BANANA REPUBLIC; black tie £9.50 by MARKS & SPENCER; Tank Americaine LM watch in white gold on black crocodile skin strap £8,800 by CARTIER

  • Formal  party wear 4

    White tie contemporary

    Black mohair tuxedo with peaked lapels £885 by RICHARD JAMES; white dress shirt £40 by JOHN LEWIS 08456-049049; white silk polka-dot ascot scarf £19.50 by MARKS & SPENCER

  • Formal  party wear 5

    White tie traditional

    The rules:

    - Black tailcoat

    - Wing-collared white shirt with studs and cuff links

    - White cotton pique waistcoat

    - White satin bow tie

    - Black tuxedo trousers with cotton satin side-stripe

    - Black patent pumps or shoes

    Black tailcoat £495; trousers £225; white dress shirt £115; detachable shirt collar £7.25; white dress waistcoat £75; black enamel shirt studs £65; white satin bow tie £29.50 all by EDE & RAVENSCROFT

  • Formal  party wear 6

    The late look

    White dress shirt 40 by JOHN LEWIS, 08456-049049; black bow tie £9.50 by MARKS & SPENCER,


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