Style and fashion have been a considerable preoccupation of man since he first donned the skin of a sabre toothed tiger and admired his reflection in the prehistoric glacier.
Quite some time has passed and much has since been said on the topic!
Men's attire is not just about looking sharp for any occasion, it’s about expressing personality and feeling great.
The suit reigns supreme and we wouldn't have it any other way! Mens fashion is experiencing something of a dressing down of formality in recent years but one thing that remains a staple in any savvy mans wardrobe is a good suit! Even with less formal attire taking the lead, there remain occasions where jeans or athleisure just wont suffice! We are talking about formal events, parties, weddings and the like. So although many people enjoy the hybrid nature of men's tailoring, especially pairing elements of a suit with striking trainers and/or casual layers, sometimes a really beautiful suit is the best option...but formal doesn't mean boring!
With the festive season upon us, The Henley House is here to give you the run down of men's attire for this party season, we will layout the rules...then show you how to smash them with style!
Dress for the event
Works christmas party
You may ask yourself “why are they telling me about work Christmas parties mid-December?” - Well many businesses are now opting to hold Christmas parties in January to spread the cheer out for longer, beat the January blues and often the run up to Christmas is so busy it just makes more since! So whether you are already thinking ahead to Christmas 2020, you are revisiting us [welcome back] or you are one of many who have late Christmas parties...this section is for you!
Christmas parties can be a stressful time when planning an outfit, especially if you work in an industry where you wear a suit or uniform on the daily. As a general rule, work do’s should err on the formal side without going so far as to be black tie - unless of course it's a black tie event!
The trick with work parties is to keep it simple. You don't need a tie pin, collar bar, pocket square, braces, pocket watch and elaborate cigarette case to look put together. Pare your look back and let a quality and well fitting suit do the job. If a full suit is overkill for the venue then consider a mismatched suit trouser and jacket combo with casual elements pulling your look together.
A shirt is a good call but leave the tie at home, especially if your work Christmas do is likely to descend into dancing. A general rule would be that if you wear a tie to the office and want to wear one at the Christmas party then consider something a little different to what you would wear to work, go bold with colour or texture - It is Christmas after all! In terms of colour palettes, if you are looking to add some oomph to your look try matching different trousers to your jacket or choose an alternative to a navy or grey suit. Burgundy and sapphire blues are a great choice or go all out with an emerald green velvet jacket!
Night out with friends
This is the time of year old friends come back into town, everyone gets together for a few drinks and a catch up but what to wear! If you are looking for more than jeans and a Christmas jumper then a partially tailored look can make you stand out from the crowd and make a statement.
The age old debate here is whether trainers can be worn with a suit...lets lay that to rest here and now - Absolutely! The trick when wearing trainers with suit elements is to tone things down, go for a more casual suit or coordinates with suit trousers and a blazer. A top tip here is ditch the shirt, go for a t-shirt if you're planning to wear a jacket, or a lightweight knit. Oh and the trainers should be relatively low-key! Probably not the best time to rock the Air Jordans...however a crisp white Nike Air Force 1 is a strong look!
There is something to be said that if you're breaking the ‘rules’ by pairing trainers with suit trousers why not go whole hog and go for a statement trainer in a bold colour! If thats more your level then consider a monochromatic vibe across the rest of your look - not necessarily black and white but perhaps shades of blues, browns or greens.
If the night could take you out into the cold between locations, statement outerwear can be a great way to stay warm and still look sharp rather than throwing on your old parker over your carefully considered outfit.
So, you've got a haircut and trimmed your beard so Aunty Margaret doesn't compare you to ‘the bloke who sits outside Poundstretchers’ but what to wear! In much the same way that gatherings with friends has a certain amount of playfulness to it, family parties are often a more casual affair but being the good son, uncle, dad, brother, nephew that you are, you want to elevate your look from your everyday casual wear. A great way to do this without feeling too formal is to style suit trousers with smart knitwear. Choose a fine gauge knit for a sleeker, more put together look - crew neck or roll neck are excellent choices.
With this look you can afford to go a bit wilder with your choice of trousers, perhaps a check pattern or bold colour? Have fun with it, but if you go more extravagant with your trousers keep your upper half more neutral.
If you are lucky enough to have a ball to attend during the festive season then this is the perfect opportunity to go all out with a tuxedo or dinner suit! Why not eh!
Unlike a standard suit, a tuxedo features contrasting lapels, which can be peak or shawl style, and often a side stripe down the outer seam of the trousers. Choose classic black of navy for an effortlessly cool look or for a statement look we really rate this burgundy option.
It is generally accepted that balls and similar formal events require a waistcoat but this is not a hard and fast rule. Having said that, there is something about a waistcoat that pulls together a more formal look. Contrasting waistcoats can add a dynamic element to your tux or by choosing a three piece suit and styling with Brogues or Oxfords and coordinated accessories such as a pocket square and cufflinks you can (in most instances) get away with a semi-formal suit as opposed to a tux if that's more your speed. A three piece suit gives off an air of sophistication but still allows you to express your own personal style with the myriad options available at The Henley House. We like to play hard and fast with the guidebook here so if in doubt a classic tuxedo is sure to be a hit.
New Years Eve
It's the end of a decade and there's sure to be some epic celebrations on the horizon so why not go all out! Depending on the type of event you will be ringing the new year at, any of the above suggestions could work but this could also be the opportunity to go for something a bit special. We have been absolutely loving our range of velvet jackets in the most stunning jewel tones which could be styled down with some slacks or dressed all the way up to the heavens! They are a very wearable statement piece which would suit any number of personal styles. Another way to make an impression is with a bold pattern like paisley or check.
We are calling it now though, 2020 is the year of the pinstripe, so why not begin the new year at the height of style, channeling the prohibition elite of the last 20’s decade?
Forget the rules!
Many people think of pomp and tradition when they think of mens attire, tailoring, suits and evening wear but hopefully we have introduced you to some ways you can bring an element of personality to your finery and leave behind any ideas of dated style rules. So whether you are feeling full James Bond or a little more James Dean there is a ‘suit’ option that works for you this festive season. Remember: Style isn’t just about what you wear, but it’s a good starting point!