Know Your Party Etiquette
by Madeline Van Eeghen
If there was ever a time to sharpen your look and your act, it would be now. It’s that time of year when your social calendar starts filling up and you might find yourself at a loss as to what to wear, and how to act at those certain events. Let’s impress upon our future selves a tradition of making yourself a modern gentleman whether it be in the ballroom (party) or battlefield (boardroom).
Dressing appropriately for certain occasions can seem daunting for most, but knowing how to behave yourself should come naturally, or it will after a little practise. Good manners should never be showy or call attention to themselves just in the same way your outfit should be tailored specifically for its intended purpose.
You’ve been invited to a birthday party – should you RSVP like it says on the invitation? Yes you should, because not everybody has telepathy, and everyone likes to have a seat or have a bite to eat. Bring something? If you aren’t bringing food, maybe some wine, but always check with your host beforehand. If you are bringing someone, make sure to introduce them to the host if they have never met, and introduce them to people they have never met before so that they feel comfortable leaving your side to pursue conversations with others.
Now the outfit! For this “Smart Casual” events: A nice chino or jean, a button up shirt and no tie. Simple. Keep your outfit tailored sharply; your hems aren’t dragging across the floor and your shirt doesn’t have enough room for two. If it is in the evening, add a classic blazer in a textured fabric like herringbone to add a bit of definition to your overall look.
Now let’s step over to the other end of the occasion spectrum: A formal event. We’ve already conquered RSVP’ing and bringing a gift, how about we add into the mix turning up on time and not over indulging. It’s always fun to establish yourself as the ‘fashionably late guy’ but honestly, it probably causes a bit of a logistics nightmare for your host when their guests are turning up willy-nilly. Moreover, make sure you aren’t arriving as if you’ve been fasting for a week waiting for this event. Canapes are designed to be eaten in one bite, not by the plateful. Always remember, if it is a work event please don’t over indulge on the free flowing drinks – you’re there because your company has worked hard for its achievements – not to watch it get guzzled down the throats of it’s best team members.
Now onto the suit. Yes, a formal event garners the respect of a well tailored suit and tie. Stick to tones in black, navy and grey with a crisp business shirt, tie and formal shoes. Depending on the season, we would see lighter grey colours in Summer and darker in Winter. If you are feeling especially daring, you could get away with suits in burgundy, olive and khaki, or even splash out in patterns like windowpane, a small check or skinny pinstripes.
If by chance you have been invited to a Black Tie event, the outfit is traditionally a black tuxedo, which is defined by its rounded lapel or peak lapel in a satin or grosgrain fabric, a white dress shirt with french cuffs, a black bow tie and black formal shoes. Please, never wear a tuxedo to an event that isn’t Black Tie. It is a fashion faux pa that we would like unseen among Brisbane’s best dressed.
Now over to our favourite category, the “Cocktail Attire”. It seems to be the most widely played with genre for outfits but it also seems to garner the most confusion. How about we give you two words, Formal and Playful. Pretty easy right? Right! Take everything we’ve learnt from the previous sections and jumble them up to create something that pops, is individual, and is most certainly your own. Adding a combination of colours and textures to enhance your look will be praised, as will your keen eye for accessorising. Add a pocket square or lapel pin to your jacket that compliments a tone found in the suits’ fabric. Be bold and hem your trouser with a cuff, and having it sitting with a half break or no break to show off your shoes. Make sure that if you are going for the ‘no sock’ look that your trousers are tapered around the ankle.
I am sure by now you’re up to date on what is required in your outfit for any occasion, but should we re-hash a few points to drive home how much of a gentleman you have become since taking the time to read this article:
– Be courteous and on time: you haven’t become the power suit wearing super star by being lazy and uncommitted. Let your host know you are coming or if you are bringing someone, and always take charge when introducing your companion so they feel at ease around the people you know. If it is a networking event, take an opportunity to introduce people who might not know each other so they can start a conversation. Nobody likes to be left out.
– A customary work event has been hailed: Don’t be the one who is the brunt of all jokes because of how much you drank, and behave yourself if you might have a crush on a co-worker. Come Monday morning you might be dreading your actions but you can’t get away from the people you work with – because calling in sick on Monday AM is a little bit obvious.
– At family events: Brush off those stiff shoulders and relax and enjoy yourself. You are surrounded by friends and family so they probably don’t want to hear about the latest products you managed to sell, breaking all records. As much as it is great news, let’s treat this event as a light-hearted affair and allow yourself to kick back a little.
Here at The Fitting Room we like to nurture the attitude of being well dressed and well mannered. Having those qualities should let you achieve all the goals you set out to conquer. If you still need a little help, why don’t you pick up a copy of The Suit Book written by our director, Clare Sheng – it’s a must have outlining all your suiting needs. Happy Suiting!