When we talk about formal attire for men, a suit is what typically comes to mind, and for all the right reasons, too. It has been a signature during black tie events where it never really went out of style. 

A classic tuxedo remains to be a staple during formal events, being considered necessary for men attending the event.

This makes it all the more important to own one and to make the right choice when opting for a suit. A lot of different variations and styles can be found in the attire with the new editions being made by designers all around the world. 

Quite a few bold editions that have turned a few heads but got appreciated nonetheless, may have made the decision easier for men who know what they are getting into. 

Those of you who don’t, might need a little bit of explanation on what formal attire male, exactly and the elements you’ll need to consider when opting for a suit.

So, let’s carry on now, shall we?

What Is Formal Attire?

Formal mens attire is what would be suitable to black tie dress code, that require you to bring out the most polished version of yourself, which seems to be incomplete without a black tuxedo. 

While modern formal dress for men might have been given a new meaning with the ever changing trends in fashion, the black tuxedo has remained a constant that no one is willing to change. 

A tuxedo and dinner jacket is basically the same thing, and is essential in formal dress for men, along with matching dress pants and tuxedo shirt. 

It is crucial that the jacket, pants and shirt are tailored to perfection to slay the formal look for men, where you can add a cummarband and waistcoat to fit the scenario. 

White tie events are more formal, where a black tie and tailed jackets are required. Footwear should not be underestimated as well as the final touches, because perfection truly does lie in the details.

Formal mens attire varies a bit, from day to night which will be discussed later on, but right now let’s bring your attention to the different parts mens formal attire is composed of, the details of which you will need to keep in mind next time you go shopping for a suit.

Formal Attire For Men


A tuxedo jacket must be hand picked carefully, where something clean and sharp is preferred. Pay attention to the lapels and decide what you want to go for. 

You can go with different colors, perhaps midnight blue or a lighter gray, where velvet editions are also available and form elegant evening attire.

However, if you’re in doubt and not sure how your tuxedo will turn out, because pairing up a colored jacket with a set of pants can be a tricky situation, you can always stick to classics and opt for a three piece suit to remain safe and sound.


Lapels are the defining matter of your jackets, which are available in three different shapes. The most common one is a notch, the second is the peaked lapel which gives a more sharper look and does wonders to your features and body structures. 

The third is the shawl lapel, simple, sophisticated and almost exclusively for tuxedos. Choose your lapels carefully, since they play a crucial role in creating the outline of formal mens attire and should be chosen keeping in mind the body shape as well as facial structure.


The tailoring of trousers and your overall suit cannot be emphasized enough, when it comes to formal dressing, men. Make sure your trousers aren’t too long or short, and are also hemmed at the ends to add sophistication to your formal attire. 

A well fitted trouser will lay the foundations of good mens evening wear and will elongate your legs if tailored carefully.

Dress Shirt

A classic dress shirt is simple, elegant and clean cut that doesn’t take attention away from the rest of the black tie attire for men. 

Pay attention to fabric when opting for a dress shirt, and have it fitted to your size. Decide whether or not you want to wear studs and choose your tuxedo shirt accordingly.

A tuxedo shirt can make or break your black tie attire, so choose with care and precision without going overboard.

Bow Tie

A black silk bow tie is what is generally preferred for black tie attire for men, the size and shape of which is chosen according to your jacket, its lapels as well as the collar of your shirt. 

Bow ties in mens evening attire can be diversified according to the occasion, where you can opt for velvet ones or oversized ones to stand out among the crowd.

Waist Coat

Even though they aren’t very common these days, waistcoats can elevate men’s evening attire and add another layer of sophistication to your black tie outfit. 

Take care of the material when choosing your waistcoat where you can experiment with its texture but it shouldn’t be anything too complicated that takes away the attention from the rest of your outfit.

Dress Shoe

Foot wear should never be underestimated in any dress code. The same applies to modern formal dress for men, where a leather shoe is opted with a slim fit. Keep things simple with your dress shoe, where care should be taken of the shape as well as its surface and shouldn’t be too shiny. 


A more traditional addition to black tie attire, a cumberbund is a waist cinching band that comes at the bottom of your shirt and top of your trousers. 

It is rarely worn nowadays but can be an interesting twist to your evening attire, if worn properly. 

To wear a cumberbund simply place it on the aforementioned areas of your garment and fasten it, where care should be taken that the color of the cumberbund and bow tie should match one another.

The Final Touches

This step should not be taken lightly. Opt for stylish men’s hairstyles to go with your tuxedo, or even the trendy henry cavill mustache to level up your look. 

Black tie attire for men is a head to toe commitment and should be treated that way if you truly want to turn heads on the next formal event. 

Compliment your outfit with satin scarves that match your lady’s outfit, and add those subtle cufflinks and a hint of that special fragrance that you bought for the occasion for the final touches to your mens formal wear.

Morning Dress

When we talk about the morning dress code for mens formal wear, it mainly acquires lighter shades, tones and softer silhouettes than its evening counterpart. 

Its origins lie in the 19th century, where it evolved from the legendary frock coat that was worn by prestigious men of that time. 

It wasn’t until 1936, that the morning jacket came into the form that we now know; single peak lapels, and entails the same cuts as its predecessor with a tail at the back that curves up to join the waist at the front.

The difference not only lies in the type of jacket, but also other essentials and accessories of daytime mens formal wear. This includes the trousers, waistcoat, the texture of the two, as well as the dress shirt, lapels and tie. 

Of course, the most obvious difference is in the color choice of the two attires, but they can overlap from time to time.


There is a wider color scheme for morning modern formal dress for men, than their evening attire. These include colors like charcoal, navy and even brown.

Lighter shades are also available in hues of blue, tan and creme to suit a daytime wedding guest attire and form a healthy contrast between mens evening wear and daytime formal clothes for men, allowing you to enjoy different looks.

You are free to go with a black morning coat, which looks pretty sleek with the white dress shirt. 

However, unlike black tie attire for men, where a matching set of pants is opted to go with your tuxedo, you’ll need trousers with a slightly lighter shade with your morning coat which often comes with stripes.

Jacket Fit

Like men’s evening attire, the fitting of the jacket has an important role to play in daytime formal wear, even more so since the tailoring of the morning coat is more complicated than a tuxedo. 

Proper measurements need to be taken of shoulder width and torso, which curve up to your back as well as the tail. The length needs to be determined properly too, which you can adjust later if it’s too long or short. 

A morning coat typically ends little above the back of your knee, but it can fall short or long, with a margin of up to two inches.

The Shirt And Trousers

If you’re going for a morning coat other than black, then you’ll need to opt for a matching set of pants. However, if you are going for the classic black version, then you’ll need to level up your trouser game. 

You can choose from a range of textures including and shades like cashmere, charcoal gray, as well as woolen variety.

A crisp white shirt with a cutaway or spread collar is your best bet when it comes to daytime mens formal wear.


When it comes to the difference between daytime formal menswear and men’s evening wear, their foundations lie in the accessories. Whether it be a waistcoat, bow tie or scarf within your pocket square, these extra steps are crucial in defining your daytime formal attire. 

You’ll need to pay attention to the detail of each of the three, where a subtle contrast is necessary to maintain personality within your daytime formal attire, male. The bow tie and scarf can be matched, but a contrast in the waistcoat will be beneficial in outlining the two silhouettes of the two accessories. 

You might have noticed there is a greater variety in modern formal dress for men during daytime events, rather than black tie for men. 

However, new designs are coming up everyday which grants greater freedom and choice in both scenarios so that each can choose formal wear unique to their personal style.

Formal Vs Semi Formal Wear

A lot of diversity can be seen in semi formal dress code, than mens formal wear, which is more relaxed and gives you more room to experiment with your attire. 

Even though the modern formal dress for men is exploring new dimensions and adopting more versatility the dress code remains somewhat restricted, with very few pieces to play around with. 

In semi formal attire, you have more freedom and opt for garments other than coats and tuxedos, where you can opt for a sharp blazer, chinos or slacks instead. 

You can choose from a range of garments like polos, sweaters and even simple t-shirts that can be worn under blazers to sharpen your look. This brings us to a very important question that must have ringed through your mind at some point… are jeans business casual? The answer is, yes!

All you need to do is pick the right shade and style, where dark wash or black jeans are preferred over lighter denim and can be worn with a classic button up or sophisticated sweater and scarf during winters.

The way you accessorize your semi-formal outfit, is also extremely important where a tie might not always be required, but a belt is a must, along with a well groomed hairstyle, like a mullet or edgar.


How Should A Guy Dress For Formal?

Formal occasions usually require a suit, although it need not always be black tie. It typically includes a formal jacket, some form of necktie, dress pants and a white button down shirt, especially made to be worn under tuxedos, as well as sharp footwear to complete the formal look for men.

Does Formal Mean A Suit?

A suit is the best bet for formal events, and shows your respect for the occasion. The purpose of formal wear is to bring out the most polished version of yourself, which is why attention is paid to each and every detail, including the various embellishments it requires.

What Is The Most Formal Dress Code?

The most formal dress code is the white tie attire, which is now donned mostly on state level meetings, and very few events still hold the dress code. It’s typically worn during evening events and includes floor length gowns for women and three piece suits for men, an ensemble that matches one another.

Does Formal Mean Black Tie?

Black tie attire is the most commonly worn attire during formal events, nowadays including weddings, funerals, or business meetings and events. The term is often used to refer to day time formal wear as well, rejecting the notion that it can only be worn as evening attire. Modern formal dress for men have blurred the lines between the two, so one can easily call formal as black tie, since it is the most formal attire for the time being


Formal fashion, men have evolved to include a lot of variations and styles, and are more relaxed than the dress codes required in the past. This has allowed men to experiment with formal wear and choose styles that suit them best.

The main elements of mens formal wear remain the same, with the formal jacket, dress shirt and pants, accessories that remain constant like a necktie. 

These can vary a bit in design and shape, depending on whether it’s a daytime or evening event. Anything missing and your formal attire will be considered incomplete. 

Footwear and other accessories like the pocket square, waistcoat or cummerbund, can also be used to make your men’s formalwear a memorable one. 

Final touches emphasize the effort you have put into your black tie attire, like subtle yet classy cufflinks, a daring scent and a well groomed hair and beard style (if you have one).

Formal wear shows the respect you have for the occasion whether it be a funeral, a professional dinner, wedding or prom. It brings out your sophisticated side and leaves a lasting impression on onlookers, if worn properly.