What Is Basic Cocktail Attire for Men?

Basic cocktail attire for men includes a dark to mid-gray suit, a light colored shirt and brown or black dress shoes. Other basics include a simple tie and pocket square.

There are many components of men's cocktail dress, but it is not to be confused with the tuxedo common in black tie apparel. In general, bold colors and patterns are best avoided though there are a few exceptions. If the suit and shirt are solid, then a patterned tie and pocket square are acceptable. In some cases, a lightly patterned suit or shirt, such as faint pinstripes, is appropriate. Socks must match the trousers and cover at least halfway up the calf though higher is better.

A subtle belt that does not draw attention is appropriate. Wearing a small boutonnière adds an element of excitement to the outfit. Small, simple cuff links are a must if the chosen shirt has double cuffs although double cuffs are not a requirement for cocktail dress attire. Facial hair must be properly trimmed or shaved, and head hair needs to be neatly combed and under control so that it does not look dirty or ragged. For weddings, flashy accessories are not appropriate because their use has the potential to upstage the groom.