What Should I Wear to a Gala? A Guide for Men by Clothier Omar Kinnebrew

Yes, it’s that time of year when you find yourself preparing for galas, black tie affairs, and holiday soirées. If you’re like most gents, finding the perfect attire for these occasions can be quite daunting and unfortunately, the end result is less than stellar. So let’s review some of the basics and keep you off of the “what not to wear list”!

Tha Fellas…

The Breakdown

First, let’s consider the overall look that needs to be accomplished. For this article, we will focus on black tie; and when attending an event, make sure you confirm whether it’s black tie optional or not. This formal look can be relatively easy when it comes to building your ensemble, but only if you know what you’re doing.

For sanity sake, we will start from the top down and identify the pieces that will have you walking through the door confidently in style.

DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES; JOE SCHILDHORN/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES

DIMITRIOS KAMBOURIS/GETTY IMAGES; JOE SCHILDHORN/BFA/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK; JOHN SHEARER/GETTY IMAGES

Jacket – Tuxedo, dinner or smoking jackets are all viable options for such an occasion. The tuxedo is the go-to for most black tie events, with the addition of modern hues like midnight blue, and the omission of the classic cumber bun. In North America, the dinner jacket is the inverse of the standard tux, found in white, mother of pearl, or variations of off-white. The smoking jacket, which was typically worn over the suit after dinner has now been modified, cut down and worn especially for these events. Jacquard and brocade fabrics emerged as go to pieces in the recent years. These options provide a more ornate look to your selection. Overall, you will want these jackets to have a shawl or peak lapel and made of satin or silk facing. It should be single breasted with a single button closure and fabric covered buttons.

Shirt – Keep it simple when it comes to your shirt pairing. Whether it be white or black, stick with more formal looking cotton fabrics. A solid twill or royal oxford will be your most formal choices for the best look. If you want a classic look, you can always opt for a pleated or ribbed front; and French cuffs should be your go to. You also want to wear a bowtie for these events in a hue and material similar to the facing on your jacket lapels.

Pants – Keep it simple! Black or midnight blue with or without a satin strip will certainly do the trick. Remember, it’s a formal affair; no need to get too crazy. For a more refined look, your pants should be made without belt loops. Instead, they should have a front extender tab and waist adjusters. The absence of a belt helps to achieve a streamlined and clean transition from shirt to pant.

Shoes – When it comes to footwear, try to resist the urge to wear your everyday work brogues. Two options that will suit you well are the ever-present patent leather oxfords/whole-cut shoes, or velvet slippers. The patent leather selection is timeless while the velvet route is a modern twist. However, both give off a refined look which says that you know what you’re doing in these scenarios.

Here are a few looks from this years Met Gala…just the guys this time!

 

When in doubt, reach out for assistance. You don’t want to embarrass yourself and your date by being the only guy at a black-tie event in a grey business suit!

About the Author

Omar Kinnebrew

Omar Kinnebrew and his precious cargo!

Omar Kinnebrew is a luxury clothier and style consultant in Atlanta, GA. His company provides high-end custom suits, shirts, coats, shoes, and casual wear for men and women across the globe.

Need help putting together a unique custom look? Contact Omar at Brew@oskstyles.com or follow on all social media streams – @oskstyles.

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