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    "Cocktail attire is requested"



    Hi. New poster here; indeed I'm new to trying to dress better at all. I've been reading this site/board for about a month now, and you all seem like a friendly bunch, so...


    A good friend of mine just got engaged to her girlfriend, and I've been invited to the engagement party. The invitation states that cocktail attire, but I'm pretty sure that I don't own anything that fits that description. I've never even been to an engagement party, and all the weddings I've been to have been in Scotland, where a kilt is traditional. So I'd like to buy some new clothes for this event, which is in May, in Portland Oregon (where I live now). I'd be willing to pay a good few hundred dollars, if I were buying items I could be pretty confident I'd wear again.


    Any suggestions, either in general, or specifically?


    #2


    A basic solid, well fitting suit would be my suggestion. Not sure of the best suggestion for you for the price, but for me, I'd look at eBay.

    Comment


      #3


      +1 on the suit. You'll get more future use out of a charcoal grey, but if there was ever a time to wear black, this would probably be it. But if you don't already own a single suit, go with grey (or navy if you're the colorful sort).


      Or you could just wear a kilt. That would be awesome. :-D

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        #4


        Suit for sure. If it's your first, go medium to dark grey. If you buy off the rack, you'll need it tailored so keep that in mind. Macys might not be a bad place to start shopping. Just make sure it's 100% wool and the shoulders fit. As far as shirt pairing goes, I'd say invest in a nice white shirt. You'll wear it a million different places after the cocktail party. Cocktail parties are pretty formal and in the evening, so I'd stick to darker colored ties. P

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          #5


          Thanks for your suggestions. I think I'll start looking into a suit, although I realize I'm going to have to settle a little... my budget doesn't stretch that far right now after a long period of part time work (good news: one month into a new full time job). I do have a new white dress shirt (and a light blue one), from the Charles Tyrwhitt offer, which just arrived.

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            #6


            If you're going to go the Macys route, I would hurry up because they have a pretty big sale going on that ends tonight. Suit shopping online is probably not the best idea, but it will ship for free and you can always return it in store if it doesn't fit and you have a Macys in your area.


            You can also use promo code KS4GRL for an extra 10% off.

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              #7


              Very good advice here. A grey/navy/charcoal suit would be great.


              To stray a little, you would probably be more than fine with a really nice sportcoat and freshly pressed pants. It can be pretty time consuming to shop the sales for suits, exchange back and forth, tailor, tailor more tweaks, etc. You definitely could do it by May, but especially if it's a younger crowd, you've got some latitude with the attire.

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                #8


                Thought I'd give this a little update, and say thanks again to all who provided suggestions. The event is on Saturday, and even the President has been kind enough to come out in favor of same-sex marriage just in time for the engagement party of two of my favorite women.


                All in, I spent a bit more than I'd planned, but I figure I'll get some life out of what I bought. I decided on the DKNY charcoal suit which was mentioned on the main page during one of Macy's one day sales. I just got it back today after a few minor alterations, that make it look the world better on me. I also picked up some black Balmoral shoes by Gordon Rush at Nordstrom Rack. They're probably not the best shoes in the world, but were only $100, and are a huge step up any of the 'dress' shoes I've previously owned.

                Comment


                  #9


                  Good choices. You really can't go wrong with a charcoal suit or the black balmorals.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So, this has been addressed once or twice before, but this is the latest thread and isn't beset by spam.

                    Headed to a wedding party on Saturday. I'm trying to figure out what to wear. The ceremony will be of the courthouse variety so this is dinner and dancing only. It is at a Chinese banquet hall in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. From what I've read here and elsewhere, cocktail attire can have a range of meanings, but has some basic tenets for evening dress: dark suit (black, charcoal, navy), black balmoral shoes, but potentially more colorful shirt, tie, pocket square.

                    My date has an honest-to-goodness cocktail length dress and my friend will be wearing a suit. I figure you can't go wrong with a suit in these situations, so I'm pretty set on wearing my navy birds eye Suit Supply suit.

                    But I'm a little confused by the dark suit + colorful shirt + conservative footwear thing strikes. If the point is a little bit of flash, should I consider my arriving-today Walnut Strand 2nds? Or go with the more conservative black Park Avenues or arriving-today Brown Fifth Avenue 2nds? (Yes, I've been on an AE 2nds buying spree in the last year). I also have a yet-to-be worn pair of used Merlot Park Aves bought from eBay.

                    Also, in terms of colorful shirts and accompaniments, I have a small pink-check Charles Tyrwhitt shirt that I can wear with a dark purple satin tie (read satin is more evening-appropriate), but not sure if that would be a little much. Might just go with a light blue shirt instead.

                    Any advice?

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                      #11
                      That suit is a solid choice. For shoes, my vote is the merlot Park Aves. For the shirt, I would keep it simple and stick with the light blue. Agreed on the satin tie choice, but purple wouldn't be my first pick.

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                        #12
                        I agree that a satin tie is more evening appropriate. I also dont think you should feel restricted to black footwear for cocktail attire. I regularly go with dark brown footwear with navy suit for cocktail required attire. I personally think a really nice solid white shirt is the way to go though if you plan to liven up the tie/ps.
                        My cocktail videos >

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I personally think a really nice solid white shirt is the way to go though if you plan to liven up the tie/ps.
                          I'm working under the assumption that there's no suitable white shirt in the closet. Otherwise, I prefer a white shirt, too. You can see today's WIWT entry for a party I went to this past Saturday as proof. But if you don't have one, don't feel bad about a light blue shirt, and couple it with a plain white linen pocket square. I would also go with a dark tie.

                          I guess I would dress for a cocktail party similarly to dressing for a job interview, except I might leave the pocket square at home for an interview.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I actually have a great white herringbone shirt that I'm quite pleased with.



                            Based on what I read, I was looking for something a little more colorful. I will probably go light blue or white.

                            As for shoes, it's sort of a moot point because the Dark Brown Fifths didn't arrive. The Strands did and they look beautiful. But not sure if that's my best choice for this event.

                            Basically, my thought was to either to go for a little flair with the leather or the shirt/tie. But not both.

                            Thanks for your input!
                            Last edited by redbeardedmike; November 13, 2012, 06:48 PM.

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