Our 'Cocktail' Dress Code 101

Frequently used, rarely understood. 

The cocktail dress code has been confusing party goers for the better part of a century, and possibly never more so than right now. As we all emerge from our pandemic stupor and events return with a vengeance the mere mention of a dress code can feel like a lot of pressure…

But it shouldn’t. Getting dressed should be a delight! And to ensure it’s just that, we’re providing a fool proof 101 guide to cocktail dressing to ensure that you can make the most of the silly season and all the jolly it brings. 

The foundation: a tailored suit 

Designed to compliment your form, a made-to-measure suit is an effortless way to add finesse to any occasion. For parties, we advise softer shades like navy, grey or brown that clearly delineate this suit from your regular corporate attire. Depending on the venue, you might even consider a paler shade like taupe in a linen silk blend. 

And regardless of your choice, ensure that the suit tailoring is done to your specifications. While seemingly obvious, this elevates the garment (and it has the added bonus of making you feel like a million bucks). 

The side kick: a suit tie 

It’s rarer and rarer that we get to sport a suit tie in Australia so when the opportunity arises, we double down. For a cocktail event, consider a more eye-catching pattern than you might for a traditional work environment like a bold stripe or spots.

It might also be the perfect opportunity to explore lighter fabrications - particularly during Summer. Cashmere and knitted ties make for a slightly more casual vibe whilst remaining polished.

Black Velvet Smith Woollens Single Breasted Suit - Oscar Hunt

The finishing touch: cufflinks 

Nothing says ‘party’ like a subtle touch of bling. A tasteful way to integrate this into your ensemble is via a set of cufflinks. Whether you opt for a timeless mother of pearl set or something a little more festive, a glimpse of these peeking out from a jacket sleeve instantly adds a sense of occasion. 

Twinkle toes: suit shoes 

Men’s suit shoes are often the last considered but one of the most crucial elements to an outfit. When the eye travels, they are the last thing the viewer sees and therefore leave a lasting impression. With this in mind, it pays to invest in your footwear. 

For a cocktail event, there’s no going past a black derby or brogue. Classic, understated and versatile to a tee, this is a shoe that will have you covered for most occasions.