Any man with an awareness of fashion and its history knows that we have been moving towards a more casual standard of dress. It’s an egalitarian move that removes some of the societal signifiers that can create extra hurdles for men from less privileged backgrounds. Unfortunately, it has come at the cost of classic male fashion. Even many traditionally conservative work cultures have become more relaxed and no longer require or even encourage suits. If you enjoy dressing up but are unsure where to comfortably wear a suit, here are three places to visit for an opportunity to dress your best.
Getting dressed up to go to a casino is a part of the complete experience, especially with the big resort casinos in destinations such as Las Vegas or Monaco. Playing online casino games might not require the same level of dressing up as going to a resort casino, but it can still be a great way to spend an evening. It can even be enjoyable to get dressed up to play even if you’re not going anywhere.
The most iconic casino style is that of Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack. Without making it a costume, adding mod elements to your suit style can be a classy homage to Sinatra. The skinny black tie is the simplest touch to incorporate into your look.
Casinos are classic sites of excess and excitement which makes them the perfect locations to break out your more eccentric suit or accessories. Again, there is no need to make it look like a costume, as you don’t necessarily want to look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977). A slightly louder tie than you usually wear or that pair of shoes that you love but never can find a place to wear them to are perfect for the casino.
Art galleries are another place where a suit won’t look out of place. Attending opening nights, especially if the artist is present, may require an even higher standard of dress if you’re in a city such as New York, London or Madrid. At most gallery shows, however, a standard suit is perfectly appropriate.
One thing to avoid is wearing “artist prints” like the William Morris prints that have been reappearing on men’s fashion items in recent seasons. While these are lovely and often dramatic prints, it comes across as a bit ‘try hard’ to wear these to an art gallery.
Of course, there are some avant-garde contemporary art galleries where many of the visitors will be wearing more eclectic styles. Even at these venues, however, a suit is understood as appropriate attire because the art world has many dimensions to it.
Visiting an art gallery is a perfect time to experiment with how you accessorize your suit. The art world is quite varied and gallery events tend to attract guests from across age demographics. You’re likely to see fashions ranging from incredibly conservative to wildly eccentric. Experimenting with a clever set of cuff links or by wearing low cut no-show socks won’t cause you to feel out of place.
Dressing for charity events is a great opportunity to look good while showing up for your community and those in need. However, you can’t simply show up to any charity event in a suit — a chili cook-off for charity is not an appropriate event for a suit. Charity dinners, auctions and balls are popular charity events that are appropriate events to dress up for.
While casinos and art galleries encourage a bit of creativity in how you style your suit, charity events lean the other direction. Classic should be the standard you aim for when dressing for a charity event. A black or navy-blue suit with a white shirt is an understated and timeless look.
Charity galas may require a stricter and more elevated dress code. Black tie isn’t as strict a designation as it once was in many parts of the country, though white tie remains the highest dress standard. In smaller cities and throughout much of the West Coast, black tie doesn’t necessarily mean a tuxedo any longer. In these circumstances, a perfectly tailored black suit is suitable.
While the men’s fashion mantra of the 21st century may be ‘comfort above all’, that doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice style. Wearing a suit can be confidence boosting and give you an edge in many situations. If you’ve been working from home and miss dressing up, consider a visit to one of these three venues.