Cocktail Attire How-To

Ever wonder exactly what “cocktail attire” on an invitation actually means? It is indeed a bit tricky depending on the event itself and even the location. If it is a wedding, think in terms of dressing up your cocktail attire. If it is a party or social meeting, you are usually free to gear your dress a little more to the casual side of cocktail. Wait, what? Have I confused you more?

To simplify, let’s start with a wedding invitation that asks for cocktail attire. It is best to wear a solid colored or subtle striped custom dress shirt with a coat and tie. (I can hear you sighing from here but alas, yes coat and tie.) If you decide to go for the stripe, keep the suit in a solid color. Feel free to choose some funky cuff links or a trendy tie as it isn’t a full formal event.


Now, say it is more of a social gathering…In this case, feel free to go either with a crisp custom dress shirt and tie (sans coat) or a suit and dress shirt and leave the tie in the closet. Again adding some interest to your wardrobe is totally acceptable. Maybe try a new collar style on the shirt or add a nice pocket square to the coat. At the very least, a nice sport coat will do in a pinch.


If either of these events is outdoors, feel free to add a little more texture or punch to it.

Let’s talk about the kicks. A nice pair of leather oxfords or possibly leather tassel loafers are appropriate for either of the above situations. A fine pair of dress boots are another option in the cooler months.  Don’t forget the belt.


Still a bit iffy on what is generally acceptable? How about a list of things to avoid:

Button Down Collar

Denim of any kind

A “polo” type short sleeve shirt



Dress Well Gents!

Looking for more style tips? Follow me on Twitter @BestCustomShirt

-Meghan Henley