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Why do we even have a cocktail dress code?

Cocktail outfits, also known as the “After 5 Dress Code”, were originally designed as simple “outfits”.Day to evening fashion“That people could change after work and before dinner. The name “cocktail dress” came from the fact that people usually wore them to after-work socials, which usually included light snacks and cocktail drinks. It was one of the earliest examples of Casual business clothesas these socials were often made to celebrate the end of the long work day.


What is the cocktail dress code?

Cocktail outfits are above business casual, but right below the black tie. They can include weddings, anniversaries, business meetings, funerals, or other types of parties. If you want to be on the safe side, cocktail outfits are roughly on the same “formal level” as business attire.

A businessman in a suit with friends in a bar


Tips on choosing the right cocktail clothing for men

Get dressed, not down:: Remember that cocktail parties are still formal occasions. So it is much better to be dressed than to be underclothed!

Opt for buttons:: One small but significant thing that differentiates evening wear from casual wear is the presence of buttons! Think button-down shirts and two-piece suits.

Avoid tuxedos:: These are classified as evening wear, but you should only wear them at events where you are required to wear one.

No black colors:: Muted grays or soft pastel suits and jackets are acceptable. Never wear a black ensemble unless you are invited to a funeral.

More accessories, more formal:: Cufflinks, belts, and watches can all help make your cocktail dress look a little more posh. If you’re going to a work-related event, these are all great accessories. If it’s a relaxed cocktail party with friends or acquaintances, leave it at home.

If in doubt, consult the invitation or ask your hosts! They will be happy to help you with the dress code.

3 basics for male cocktail dress

Dress shoes like oxfords

Cordless shoes, sneakers, and trainers are a no-no. Oxford shoes are your best bet – they are stylish and can be used on both formal and black ties. Black leather-soled dress shoes are an excellent choice, but other colors such as brown and gray are also acceptable.

A tie or a bow tie

Ties or bow ties determine the formality of a cocktail outfit for men. Never go to a cocktail event without them – at least not at the beginning of the night. As the party progresses, you can relax your outfit by taking it off.

A man in a blue suit with a blue bow tie


Pocket squares

Finally, a pocket square is a great way to add a bit of flair to your entire outfit without being too flashy. Choose a subtle color that contrasts your shirt, jacket, and pants – if you can match them with your tie, you’ll kill them! Remember, pocket squares are only on display. It is therefore still recommended to keep a handkerchief in the back or inside pocket of the suit.

A man in a blue suit, red tie, and red pocket squares



If you’re ever confused about what the right cocktail attire for men is, wear whatever you would wear to a business meeting first, and then build the outfit from there! Every man needs at least one outfit that he can use for cocktail parties.

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