What Is Cocktail Attire for Men | 2023 Guide & Styling Tips

Cocktail can be one of the easiest and most fun formal dress rules for both men and women to follow. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to miss the point on this one. Even though it’s not as vague as “semi-formal,” it can still be hard to find the right look. You want to get this right, whether you’re the guy at your wedding or a guest at a party. You’re lucky that you have expert tailors on your side at Oliver Wicks.

This guide will help you figure out exactly what Cocktail Attire is, so you can look great and have fun. Whether you have a cocktail in your hand or not, the guidelines and tips here will help you make the right impact at any event.

Cocktail Attire Dress Code: What You Need to Know


“Cocktail attire” is a very broad term for clothes that people used to wear to social gatherings in the afternoon or evening when they wanted to relax and talk. Today, this dress code is used in a number of places and can be worn on a number of different events.

Cocktail Attire is in the middle of the range of dress codes. It is more formal than Business Casual but not as formal as Black Tie. It is on par with Business Attire, so it looks a lot like an outfit you would wear to the office or to a job. This makes it a great piece of cocktail attire. Basically, Cocktail Attire is in the same middle ground between Formal and Semi-Formal.

In fact, Cocktail Attire is meant to fill the fashion gap between these two categories. It combines the elegance and harmony of more formal outfits with the creativity and room for self-expression of more casual ones.

Cocktail Attire Clothings

Cocktail Attire Jackets

Cocktail Attire Jackets

Dressing for any event starts with a well-fitted suit jacket or coat. (No rush.) Broecker says, “You will never feel out of place in a jacket.” You can always go with your old favorite, but this is also a good place to try out new colors and fabrics.

The days when all dress pants looked the same are over. If you’re not sure, choose a style that looks good on your body type and make sure to have them tailored. Ryan Gosling likes his legs to be curved, but more and more men are getting straight, relaxed cuts that look better on their bodies. 

Cocktail Attire Ideas for Weddings

Cocktail Attire Ideas for Weddings

You should look good, but not too good, if you’re going to a wedding. For example, loud colors, a Magic Eye-style mix of patterns, or a style choice that is too sure of itself can throw off the mood or draw attention away from someone else’s big day. You can still be yourself, but you have to choose your fights. The good news is that men’s cocktail wear gives them plenty of chances to fight it out.

Shoes for Cocktail Attire Clothings 

You can’t go wrong with a simple brown or black leather lace-up shoe. You don’t have to wear socks to a summer wedding or an event on a hot fall day. Men can go to a cocktail party without socks, but if you’re not sure, you should cover your legs.

Cocktail Attire Suit Ideas

Cocktail Attire suit Ideas

As was already said, the charcoal party suit is not your typical 9-to-5 suit. You’ll want something with more personality and flair, but that still looks professional. Since you’ll probably be wearing it to evening events, darker colors are better. Burgundy, dark green, black, and blue are all good choices that can be worn with a lot of things.

Choose materials that go with the season when you can. In the summer, linen has a beautiful feel, while in the fall and winter, corduroy, velvet, and wool flannel are good choices.

In terms of suit style, a jacket with a wider peak lapel in the classic Neapolitan style has more style than a jacket with a notch lapel, but a jacket with a slimmer peak or notch lapel will do for a smart, modern party look.

You can also be a little more creative with the types of fabric you choose. Try patterns like herringbone and checks, but stay away from pinstripes because they remind people of bankers and stuffy corporate offices.

Cocktail Attire Shirts

Cocktail Attire Shirts

A classic, crisp button-down shirt is a great choice for a shirt to wear to a cocktail party. Don’t make the rookie mistake of not steaming or smoothing your wrinkled clothes before you leave. During the cooler months, a nice knit may be worn instead of a dress shirt. “A turtleneck is always the best way to finish off a suit,” says McGenuine. “It makes you look more put-together.”

Cocktail Attire Neckwear

Men’s cocktail wear, especially for less formal parties, looks good when it has different textures and patterns, like knit silk, linen, and seersucker. If you’re feeling it, throw us some curves on the color wheel or shake things up with a bow tie. Live mas!

Cocktail Attire Simple Pocket Square

With a pocket square, as with a necktie, less is often more. Instead of choosing something flashy, you will get more out of a simple pocket square in a nice solid color or a classic design like paisley, medallions, or tasteful graphics.

For elegance and flexibility, choose a pocket square with muted, classic colors that will brighten up your outfit without making it look too loud. So, your pocket square will make the other parts of your outfit stand out without taking away from them.

Cocktail Attire Accessories

Think of items as the finishing touches to your outfit. Where will it happen? How do you want to feel? Eyeglasses that look good on your face, a cool watch, socks with your name on them, and a belt that ties everything together are all things that people will notice. McGuine says, “Personal style is a reflection of who you are or who you want to become.”

Cocktail Attire Pants

The pants are easy because, if your jacket is bold, your pants should be more subtle. If you want to go for a better, more classic look, flat-fronted styles with a flattering taper are a good choice. Single- and double-pleated styles are a bit more casual, which isn’t a bad thing.

The safest color to choose is black (or white in the summer), but if you want to mix things up, different shades of grey will also work well. Just keep in mind that if your jacket is loud, your pants shouldn’t be heard and shouldn’t even be seen.

Also Read:
Western Wear: The Perfect Blend of Fashion and Function
+15 Coolest Edgar Cuts for Men


In the end, if you know how to dress for a cocktail party and are good at it, you can make a fashion statement at any social event or special occasion. If you follow the rules and think about the specific dress code requirements, you can put together a mature and stylish look that fits the event.

Remember to wear clothes that look good on your body and show off your own style within the limits of the dress code. Pay attention to details like the quality of the fabric, the right length of the dress, and matching accessories. Whether you choose the classic elegance of a little black dress or the classic appeal of a well-tailored suit, the key to the perfect party attire is to feel confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Cocktail Attire

Q: Can I wear pants to an event that calls for cocktail wear?

A: Jeans are usually not appropriate for parties that call for cocktail wear. It’s best to choose clothes that are more serious and stylish.

Q: Can I go to an afternoon event in a cocktail dress?

A: For daytime cocktail parties, it’s best to choose something lighter and more casual, like a knee-length dress made of a summery material or a stylish jumpsuit.

Q: Is there a certain way to pick out accessories?

A: When choosing decorations, look for pieces that look good together. Don’t wear too many accessories. Instead, choose pieces that add to your outfit without taking over.

Q: Can guys wear bow ties with cocktail attire?

A: Yes, a bow tie can look good on a man at a dinner party, especially when worn with a well-fitted suit. But make sure it fits with the rest of your outfit and the level of seriousness of the event.

Q: What should I do if I don’t know what to wear?

A: If you don’t know what to wear, it’s always better to dress a little more formally than too casually. You can also ask the event leaders or hosts for more information to make sure you’re dressed right.

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