Dress Codes Deciphered


Officially: Informal

Unofficially: The potentially scariest – singlets, thongs/slides, gym shorts… oh my! – of menswear dress codes, ‘casual’ is all about relaxed comfort. Maintain a semblance of elegance with chinos or tailored shorts, a basic well-cut t-shirt or knit polo or linen shirt and, for cooler mornings/evenings, an unbuttoned corduroy or chore jacket. Pair with sneakers or a neat casual shoe. It’s all about minimalism with purpose.


Smart Casual

Officially: Jacket, no tie

Unofficially: Neither too casual or too formal, ‘smart casual’ is a relatively open-ended dress code, and thus tricky to navigate. You can’t go wrong with elevated basics. Think a basic t-shirt worn with a tonal/textured overshirt or a blazer. Wear tailored trousers, preferably with side tab adjustors, that sit a little higher on the waist. For events, break out the double-breasted jacket, going big with texture and colour.



Officially: Dialed up suit

Unofficially: Usually reserved for special occasions (events, weddings, milestone birthdays etc.) cocktail attire means grand style – at the very least a tailored jacket and trouser – put together with oodles of personality. To break the navy/grey suit mould, try elevated sports jackets, maybe even a double-breasted jacket with a slight pattern, bold stripe shirts and dapper dark trousers with a pleat. The tan/sand-coloured suit is also perfect for spring. Tie optional.


Formal/Black Tie

Official: Tuxedo

There’s something perennially romantic about this dress code, which has been in play since the late 1800s. Black tie, traditionally speaking, means a classic black tuxedo jacket and trousers, the former with a black satin shawl lapel or peak lapel and the latter adorned with a black satin stripe, worn with a white tuxedo or dress shirt, a black bow tie and polished black dress shoes. That is the basic standard, anyway. Want a level up? Wear a white dinner jacket with a white dress shirt, black bowtie and black tailored trousers. The most lustful option for spring – at least in my humble opinion – is a black or midnight navy velvet dinner jacket paired with sharply-tailored black suit trousers.