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Cracking the Dress Codes for Men's Attire

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Section: Dressing for the Occasion - Blog

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Do dress codes make you feel confused and hot under the collar? Is it annoying to try to decipher invitations and figure out what sort of outfit is appropriate for which occasion? No worries, here's the essential information you need on various dress codes such as Black Tie, Black Tie Optional, Semi-formal, Business Casual and Casual.

Men's lives are replete with moments requiring them to dress in certain ways. From attending high school graduations to walking daughters down the aisle, men need to understand the basics of formal, semi-formal and casual dressing so that they know when to wear what and how. Gentlemen understand their outfits are not just about them, but that their personal presentation is a reflection of the respect they accord to those around them.

Deciphering the Invitation

The major rule to follow when dressing for an event is to decipher the invitation. Typically, the choice of what to wear is stipulated and your options are confined to selecting the colours and styles within the set garment type. Here's some examples:

Black Tie

Occasionally referred to as evening dress, this invitation meanstuxedos are expected.


Some typical black tie events are occasions like weddings, operas, embassy receptions, balls and charity dinners.

Black Tie Optional

Tuxedos and dark tailor made mens suits are equally acceptable. As the standards of dress relaxed and most men found themselves without tuxedos, the black tie optional dress code was created to include everyone.


If you have a tuxedo and a solid dark men's suit, wear the ensemble that fits and complements you the best.


A dark suit, crisp business shirt with a non-obtrusive pattern, and a conservative tie is expected.


Tuxedos should not be worn.

Business Casual

Here, ties are optional, but a business shirt and nice trousers are required.


A sports jacket or blazer should also be worn.


Jeans, cotton trousers and shorts are acceptable as long as they fit well and are free of holes and wrinkles. A simple collared polo shirt that fits well will suffice in summer, while a button down shirt with a casual style, colour and pattern will fit the bill in winters.


Unsure – Ask: If the invitation does not specify the dress code or if it was conveyed over the phone or via email, do not feel uncomfortable about asking your host. The danger is the dress code at less-organised events tends to change as the event draws near. Thus, you should double-check the dress code requirements a couple of days before the event.

  • If you cannot reach the host, talk to someone else participating in the event. For example, if a groomsman says he'll be wearing a suit with tennis shoes, you can assume you'll be fine in a dark sports jacket and trousers with dress shoes.

For occasions where you're unsure and have to attend within an hour's time, it's prudent to wear clothes that can be dressed up or dressed down. Thus, if you attend wearing a suit and tie but discover the occasion is casual, just excuse yourself and slip off your jacket and tie, unbutton your top button, and rejoin the party.

Still unsure about what to wear to fit the dress code requirements of an upcoming event? The men of Montagio are always happy to help you crack the code and create handsome outfits for almost any occasion. Schedule an obligation free consulation today by contacting our Sydney showroom.

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We tailor make mens suits, jackets and shirts for all occasions. Each garment is custom designed, precisely made-to-measure and is guaranteed to fit you perfectly. Unlike others, we offer you end-to-end service and a personalised styling session where we take the time to understand your needs to ensure you get the colour, style and fit you want.

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Since 2010, we've paved the way for uncompromising men to get suited up in style with our full service tailored mens suits, shirts and coats. Our showrooms are packed full of suit samples and thousands of fabrics making it easy for you to get the look and fit you want. We offer a remarkably personal shopping experience and specialise in individually hand crafted garments for business, weddings, formal and casual events. We have personally tailored mens suits for thousands of happy customers, and you too can experience the same red carpet treatment. Book your personal appointment today to have your uniquely styled and perfectly tailored garment ready within a few short weeks.

Simon Frazer

Montagio did a great job on wedding suits for me and my two groomsmen. Bally provided us with fantastic service and the result was definitely superior to an off-the-rack option... more »

Kiran Dosanjh

I have bought a total of 11 pieces custom made so far - quality and attention to detail is spectacular, material choice is broad and the input customers have in creating the exact look they want is a great experience... more »

Roy Soliman

I went back for another suit, a few shirts and some ties. Outstanding! I had so many complements on my new suit yesterday! more »

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