What to Wear to a Cocktail Party

13 Dec 2019

What to Wear to a Cocktail Party

You’ve received the invitation and the event promises to be a good one. But, before you start sipping Negronis, you’ll need to plan what to wear. Cocktail parties and events are all about looking sharp and stylish. By blending formal pieces with exciting accents, your cocktail attire will undoubtedly be on point. To nail the look, simply follow our guide on what to wear to a cocktail party. 


The Suit

Traditionally, cocktail parties require a dark two-piece suit—think black, dark grey and navy for your staple colour palettes. Lighter suits are best reserved for daytime cocktail events while subtle prints, such as checks, can work for either. Just remember to keep your shirt and accessories toned down so they don’t compete for attention.  


When considering a black suit for your cocktail party outfit, contemplate the event first. If you are attending a cocktail wedding, a black suit may not be appropriate if you’re not in the wedding party. On the other hand, a black suit can be safely worn to most other cocktail parties, such as birthday events.


Remember, tuxedos are too formal for cocktail dress codes while a sports jacket-and-chino combination is too casual. So, stick in the middle with a smart suit. Ensure it’s tailored and well-fitting for a sharp, presentable look.  

What to Wear for a Cocktail Party Men's Suits

Navy Cocktail Suit Navy Cocktail Suit Pants Black Cocktail Suit Cocktail Suit Pants


The Shirt

Lighter shirts tend to be most complementary with darker suits. Naturally, a white shirt is always a timeless choice, however, soft pastels in blue, green, and pink can also look great. That being said, a dark shirt with a dark suit can create a dramatic effect that’s perfect for nighttime. So, don’t be afraid to get a little creative with your colour choice as long it doesn’t clash with your suit.


When selecting your shirt, it’s best to avoid bold prints and patterns and stick to something more minimal that’ll let your accessories stand out. Also, pay close attention to the fit of your shirt to ensure you appear sharp and polished. 

What to Wear to a Cocktail Party Men's Shirts

Black Cocktail Shirt Blue Cocktail Shirt Navy Cocktail Shirt White Cocktail Shirt


The Shoes

For a cocktail event, stick with traditional dress shoes in darker shades, such as dark brown, black and burgundy. Regarding styles, Oxford and Derby varieties should be your go-to for this dress code. And don’t forget to polish your shoes before the event for the perfect head-to-toe look.


As a rule, sneakers should be avoided as they are too casual. However, loafers can be worn with cuffed pants and no socks for daytime cocktail functions, such as a beach wedding.

Cocktail Derby Shoes Cocktail Leather Derby Shoes Cocktail Shoes Loafers Cocktail Shoes Oxford


The Accessories

Like other formal events and occasions, cocktail functions typically call for a tie to be worn. In particular, a silk tie in a stylish pattern makes an excellent choice. Of course, a tie isn’t the only accessory you should don.


Cocktail parties provide the perfect opportunity to add some excitement and personality to your look. So, don’t be afraid to add unique and complementary pieces. For example, if you are wearing a navy blue suit with a white shirt, a colourful floral tie and matching pocket square will instantly enhance your outfit. Additionally, a tie bar can add a polished touch to any look while a lapel pin can inject a fresh pop of colour or an enticing touch of luxury.

Cocktail Bee Badge Cocktail Bee Cufflinks Charlie Floral Tie Floral Pocket Square


Cocktail Dress Code Tips

  1. Select a tailored suit in a smart dark hue.
  2. Add a shirt in a neutral or pastel colour.
  3. Stick to dress shoes like Oxford or Derby shoes.
  4. Add flair to your outfit with exciting accessories.
  5. For daytime cocktail occasions, don’t be afraid to choose a light coloured suit and loafers.


Prepare for your upcoming cocktail party with the latest suits from Calibre.


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