We’re fans of sartorial experimentation, and while we encourage dipping your toe into more outre waters, there are times when even the most forward-thinking among us wants to impose Hardy Amies’ ‘ABC of Men’s Fashion’ as required reading. First in line at the correctional facility will be men who take the black-tie tuxedo and wear it sans shirt: we’re looking at you, Lewis Hamilton. Yes, without shirt, heavage out, Fred Astaire in his top ‘n’ tails turning in his grave.
That said, the tried-and-tested tuxedo is due a rethink.
While we might hold up James Bond as the pinnacle of masculine after-dark allure, in an era when men are turning their back on formal suiting the tuxedo in its traditional full regalia can seem a touch dated. And as we enter party season proper, it’s worth looking at how your evening attire can be updated for the 21st century.
Be more Gosling
This should be applied to most avenues of life in general, but Ryan Gosling’s style on the red carpet is something many a man would do well to take note of. Gosling has fun with his evening wear: a frilly Eighties prom shirt here, a plush velvet tux there. Note the white jacket — very Connery’s Bond — but the buttoned-up shirt, without a tie, gives a cleaner, sharper feel.
Do away with the bib-front dress shirt
No one is disputing the ceremonial beauty of a handsome dress shirt; donning dress studs and cufflinks is the closest most men get to a sense of decoration, and the effect is pleasing. Oliver Spencer, who runs Favourbrook, makers of morning dress and sumptuous tuxedos, always recommends sporting a less formal shirt with your tux.
Be a polo player
This evening-wear option has been bubbling away for a while now, but polo necks with a sleek evening jacket can look debonair without being too “done-up” — see Zayn Malik in minimalist greys, or Andrew Garfield and Armie Hammer in similar variants. It is polished, a bit retro and very cool — although admittedly can be a little Marmite. Attempt it, but accept that you may fall foul of some dated Milk Tray man humour.
Give it the slip(per)
I’m on a one-man mission to bring back the evening slipper; Noel Coward was on to something. A pair of slippers might seem impossibly dandyish, but hear me out: if Prince William can get away with velvet slippers with black tie, so can you. His are from London brand Arthur Sleep; we’d recommend going sockless, unlike the Prince. They add a touch of sprezzatura to the most standard of black suits.
Go for it
It’s Christmas, it’s the time of glorious excess, and lord knows men can be safe enough. Perhaps the festive time is to rip up the rules and have fun. ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman eschewed the suit at this year’s Oscars in favour of an embroidered coat. A colleague’s fiance stands by his red and green bauble-print suit (from novelty site OppoSuits), so who are we to stand in the way of his festive joy? Or if the current awareness of gender fluidity has hit a nerve, why not go the full Ezra Miller in a black Moncler puffer dress/coat hybrid. A little bit Voldemort, a lot cosy. Who doesn’t want the power of that sartorial combination?