Sunday, February 10, 2013

My Bow Tie Resolution

Neckties have always been in my closet but weren't a regular part of my rotation until about 2009 or so. In that time span I've increased my collection significantly and have enjoyed the hell out of wearing them, but back on New Year's Eve I decided that it was time to start wearing bow ties more regularly.

Bow Tie Tips

I wrote about some different bow tie silhouettes in a previous post, so I won't re-hash that stuff here. One nugget of information I forgot to mention is that you should keep the width of the tie no wider than that of your face. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like your head has been gift-wrapped. 

Why Bow Ties?

I'll be the first to admit that bow ties are tough to pull off in the real world. They won't fly in most business scenarios and if not carried off well, you can look fusty, clownish, or stereotypically professorial.

When you rock the hell out of a bow tie, however, you send a message to the world that not only are you unconcerned with fitting into the mold of a dressed up guy, you are in fact aggressively unconcerned with it. I have to confess that sending such a message appeals to me, so I figured I would sack up and actually start wearing them.

The only issue? I only own three that I really like. One is an all-season silk that you see above, and the other two are a madras cotton for summer and a navy wool number for the winter. I guess I'll just have to buy more.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Men's Cocktail Attire

I got a great question recently:

"Need a clothing expert opinion. "Cocktail attire" is vague for a man. Would you wear a suit and tie, no tie, or go in a completely different direction?"

Ah, a rare instance in which it's actually more confusing for men to dress properly than it is for women. Ladies' cocktail attire is simple: wear a cocktail dress and a flirty pair of pumps, throw on some jewelry and do yah hurr. Standards for men are understandably more confusing.

As always, keep your surroundings in mind when considering how to dress for an occasion. This particular cocktail party is in the evening at a hotel in Boston and is work-related. This means you want to look good and tailored but not do anything to make your co-workers remember you negatively because of what you wear.

I rarely recommend it, but this is a time when a black suit would be appropriate. While it's too stark for daytime businesswear, black clothes are good for evening social occasions. Given that this is an evening social occasion in the wintertime in a major metropolitan area in the Northeast, I'd go with a black suit. A white or blue shirt will look fine, but if you have something bolder that's maybe a little much for the office, now's the time to bust it out.

If you decide to wear a tie (and I would), have more fun than a plain solid. It goes without saying, but keep in mind the pattern and color of your shirt when coordinating with your tie. Wear a pocket square. Even if it's just a plain white cotton one.

Finally, bust out a nice watch, some cool cufflinks, and some killer socks to round out the ensemble. And whatever you do, try not to get too drunk. It's still work-related.