Dress codes are basically a language in and of itself. What exactly is the difference between black-tie and formal wear? Or cocktail and semiformal? Whether you have been invited to a wedding or are preparing for an upcoming job interview, it can be difficult to determine what is too much and what isn't enough. Don't panic though. Our team of stylists have compiled a concise guide to help you crack any menswear dress code so you can look and feel your absolute best! 


If the invite says Black Tie, then you need to ditch the suit and power-up to a tuxedo and invest in a pair of cufflinks. But if the invite says Black Tie optional, creative Black Tie, or formal wear, that's when things start to get complicated. Or so it seems. What this actually means is you have more room to play. Branch away from the traditional black suit with hues of ivory, navy, charcoal and even brown. Don't shy away from a pop of colour either. Spice things up with a bold pocket square, pair of socks, and (or) tie.  



Cocktail attire, also referred to as semiformal and smart casual, is the same suit you would wear to an important meeting or work event but with a proper dress shirt. Solids are always a safe bet but we encourage you to try a classic plaid or checkered print for an elevated, European flare. You can also use this as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on your accessories. Opt for a tie clip, a pocket square, and a lapel pin



Surprisingly, formal wear in the summertime is perhaps the most daunting of dress codes. How do you avoid sweating in a suit? Are baseball caps acceptable? Ditch the board shorts and flip flops for linen, lighter-hued suits, and tailored shorts. If the event is a formal wedding, we recommend a great pastel or khaki base, a bright tie, your favourite watch, and a bold pocket square. But, if it is a casual poolside dinner party then the tie instantly becomes optional and you are free to ditch your socks. Leave your watch on, maybe stack on a few bracelets, and if you are feeling yourself a new patterned dress shirt. 



Feeling uninspired or having trouble identifying your unique style? With 15+ plus years of combined styling experience, we can help you elevate your wardrobe for any occasion — from business events to first dates or special occasions. Our expertise lies in creating unique and personalized outfits that not only make you look great but feel even better! Personal Shopping at Adesso means extraordinary service and attention to your needs in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Located in Calgary, Alberta we offer in-store and in-home consultations but are also available virtually or over the phone. Click here to learn more. 


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