HOW TO DRESS FOR A DINNER PARTY

Dress codes can be open to interpretation, but it’s best to stick to the rules…though even the rules can be confusing. Dinner at a friend’s place? You’ve of course got some leeway, but you can still dress to impress. A black-tie dinner party? Less room for a sartorial faux pas. Tyrwhitt makes it easy for you to look dapper and not overdressed, effortless and appropriate.

FORMAL DINNER PARTIES

WHITE-TIE

The most formal of parties, a white-tie event is a special moment you’ll remember for years to come. You’ll need to don full evening dress which means an evening tailcoat (not to be confused with a morning jacket), a white dress shirt, white evening waistcoat, and unsurprisingly, a white bow tie. Unlike the bow ties at a black-tie event, the white bow tie needs to be self-tied – there’s no cutting corners at this kind of bash.

SHOP LUXURY SHIRTS

BLACK-TIE

This is where you bring your A-game. There’s little wiggle room here – you’ll need a tuxedo or dinner suit, a bow tie, and a white evening shirt. You can’t go wrong with a classic black suit and a matching bow tie, but a tasteful navy also fits the bill here. If you’d like to wear something with more colour, a velvet blazer in a rich jewel tone paired with black suit trousers can be just as smart as a tux. Want to take your outfit further? A patterned silk pocket square or vibrant socks will make you feel more distinctive while in-keeping with the occasion. Just be sure to wear black shoes and make sure they’re gleaming.

SHOP TUXEDOS

BLACK-TIE OPTIONAL

If an invitation says ‘black-tie optional’, you can swap the tux for an occasion suit in a dark colour – again, the standard here is black. Keep the bow tie at home and opt for a dark tie in a plain dark colour or subtle pattern. Pair with a crisp cotton shirt in a solid colour - white is the failsafe, but pastels like sky blue also work well against a dark suit. Your shoes should be black to match a black suit, but you can go for dark brown with a navy or grey two-piece. Add in a waistcoat for some extra flair and interest, and a bright pocket square in any colour will add some personality to your ensemble.

SHOP OCCASION SUITS

A RESTAURANT WITH FRIENDS

Even if a dinner only involves your close friends, depending on the venue, you’ll need to look smart to get in. This is where formal meets relaxed, and it can be a tricky balancing act. You can opt for a wool, linen or flannel suit in any colour, and your shirt and tie can have pattern if you so desire. Always finish off the look with smart shoes – which can be loafers here, polished Chelsea boots, or something suede.

SHOP SUITS

WHAT NOT TO WEAR

Dressing according to your host’s code is a sign of courtesy. You’ll feel the odd man out if you’re too casual, and outdressing your host is also not the aim. Just to be clear, for any formal occasion, jeans, cords, t-shirts, polos, and shorts are off limits, no matter how smart the rest of your attire may be.

CASUAL DINNER PARTIES

AROUND THE TABLE

A low-key dinner party allows for a lot more interpretation and personal style. For instance, cords, chinos or cotton trousers in dark and light colours are all appropriate and can pair nicely with any smart-casual shirt. Wear yours with an open collar and sleeves rolled up on warm days, or with Merino knitwear for the cooler evenings. Finish off your outfit with leather Derby shoes or brogues.

SHOP TROUSERS

A GARDEN AFFAIR

Even more informal, and the kind of gathering where you don’t sit down to eat, a polo or rugby shirt with dark jeans shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. Go for boat shoes or smart, simple trainers if the occasion is particularly informal.

SHOP POLO SHIRTS

WORKING DINNERS

FORMAL BUSINESS DINNER

When it comes to dinners with your boss, clients, or colleagues, opt for a look that’s as business-serious as the conversation will be. A two-piece or three-piece sharkskin suit will do the job, especially paired with a clean white shirt and a vibrant silk tie. For a splash of colour, add a pocket square in emerald green or a retro print.

SHOP BUSINESS SUITS

INFORMAL BUSINESS DINNER

If you’re attending a business dinner at an informal restaurant, you can wear clean pressed cotton chinos, a button-down collared shirt in any colour, and smart shoes or boat shoes. Make sure you stick to neutral colours and avoid bright shades or busy prints, as your look is fairly casual as it is. You also don’t want anything distracting from your dazzling business chat.

SHOP CHINOS

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