It’s a common truism that “men have it easier” when it comes to fashion. And to an extent, this is true. Especially in formal settings, the expectations for what is considered acceptable for a man to wear are fairly rigid. Even the concept of accessorizing is sometimes frowned upon, with men’s rings (besides wedding rings) being an oft overlooked accessorizing opportunity.
But even in within those confines, there’s a clear difference between men who fit in and men who stand out, and the more casual the setting gets the more of a chance you have to emphasize your own special style.
Holiday parties are the perfect chance to hone this skill and develop your style, because they run the gamut of formality, and often involve different groups. So why not experiment a little with your look?
Gauge the Setting
A formal party is going to be different from an office party or a party for family and friends. Dressing for the wrong occasion is going to make you stand out in the wrong way, no matter what direction that is.
Dressing too casually for a formal party is embarrassing, of course, but the same is true in the reverse. Formal clothing is often impractical in a more casual setting – especially if there is active entertainment planned – and can make you feel unapproachable or pretentious if you’re overdressed.
Pinpoint Your Own Style
Your overall body type makes a big difference in what kind of looks you can pull off, and this especially applies to less formal settings.
A classy and simple black jacket, white shirt, and dark colored tie combination works well for pretty much every man, making it a safe option for every formal party.
But a safe option is not necessarily the most stylish, and it’s important to know what kind of clothing emphasizes your form in the best way.
If you have a trimmer physique, closely fitted clothing and stripes might be very flattering. If you’re a bit broader in the chest and arms, maybe a vest will be a very good look for you.
This will vary wildly from person to person, but something that’s a bit easier to pinpoint objectively is color.
Coordinate Your Colors
The holidays are a great opportunity to get to flaunt your color coordinating skills as a man. Even in formal settings, you can get away with a lot of experimenting with color around the holidays.
Some of this varies based on your specific complexion and skin glossiness, but in general using complementary colors is a safe bet no matter what unless you’re aware that a specific color is especially unflattering on you.
The holidays in particular provide solid guidelines for what colors should be worn as well. If you’re going to a party in the fall, wearing fall colors (earth tones like browns, yellows, oranges) is an easy choice. Something like a brown vest with a dark yellow shirt looks VERY good against darker skin tones for example.
For a Christmas holiday party, greens and reds are an obvious choice, as are “tinsel colors” of silver and gold, especially on jewelry. This sounds like a small variety, but there’s a huge range of viable colors along the green and red spectrum that still come across as “Christmasy”. Nobody is going to impugn you for wearing fire engine red or dark forest green instead of “Christmas red” and “Christmas green”. (1)
Accessorizing for men is frequently overlooked, and it’s a real shame. There’s a lot you can do to augment an existing look and really bring things together.
One of the main points of accessorizing for men is watches, and you should definitely consider wearing a nice one. The choice of band in particular makes a big difference in your look. A standard silver or steel band looks very different than a showier gold or a more understated leather strap would.
But beyond watches, all sorts of jewelry can work on a man.
Rings in particular are overlooked. It’s generally considered almost taboo for a man to wear a ring besides his wedding ring, and even that should be an understated and simple gold band. The only real exceptions to this are “earned” rings from organizations or accomplishments.
But classy rings of all sorts can really bring an outfit together, particular at formal parties where your options are already limited.
Perhaps even more taboo: earrings. They’re not for everyone, but a simple stud or even a small hoop can look very good on a man with the proper style to pull it into alignment with the rest of his outfit.
Like anything else, choosing the right ring, watch, earring, or other piece of jewelry is an art that requires a lot of experimentation, but is well worth the efforts. (2)
Speaks from heart, always too passionate and driven by emotions. Spins the words with kindness & sharpness, intriguing your ever-inscrutable minds.