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What Men Should Wear to the Preview Ball

A gentleman's guide to the “creative formal” dress code.
What Men Should Wear to the Preview Ball A gentleman's guide to the “creative formal” dress code.

From the time of Edward VII to George Clooney at the Oscars, Black Tie remains the standard for formal attire for gentlemen. It consists of a jacket, trousers, waist covering, shirt, neckwear (silk tie or bowtie), shoes, and accessories.  Lose one element and it ceases to be black tie, but just Formal Wear.

So when the hostess indicates that it is “Creative Black Tie,” how does one make a fashion statement while still dressing appropriately?

Details Men's Style Manual says “Don’t try to bring back lost styles.  You might think you’re sending up the self-serious but you’re really just being rude.”

Style Bible's resident menswear guru, Mr. Know-It-All Gian Reyes answers the question that’s been running thorough your mind since the day you got the invitation.

Dear Mr. Know-It-All, my girlfriend is invited to the Preview Ball this year and the theme is Creative Formal. What does that even mean? What should I wear?

He says:

Creative Formal sounds like an oxymoron to men. Your girlfriend has more of a range in her formal attire and she has 20 years of Preview magazines to pull inspiration from, but formal for men tends to be the black and white tuxedo look, it's classic, sophisticated, sexy but not creative. To add that creative flair to your black tie outfit, I would suggest pushing the boundaries and being bold whilst still keeping it in the formal realm. Don't play it safe, a tux in an unusual colour, play with prints or don a velvet smoking jacket, wear accessories to add interest. Just don't do all of them at once, pick a statement and stick to it, no one likes an indecisive man who sends mixed messages. Preview has given you a license to add personality to your formal look, so in the words of Charles Wright - "Express yourself.”

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