Many men find this invitation the most confusing. This look is most likely required for a professional-but-informal evening function, a garden wedding or a significant event like your grandparents’ wedding anniversary or a friend’s book launch.
It’s less formal than black tie but still requires thought and care. Think suave and dapper. “Cocktail” is an invitation to show some extra personality by adding colour and texture to a suit and tie. You can mix it up with jacquard or velvet blazers, bright pocket squares, floral shirts, cufflinks and lapel pins.
If you have the basics – trousers with matching jacket – you can afford to go a bit wild and mix spots and stripes when it comes to the shirt and tie.
Shoes: loafers, brown leather brogues, even boating shoes are fine. Avoid a formal shoe. Avoid a trainer – no matter how hip at the time.
Can you wear an open collared shirt? Yes, but it is a little “loose” so make sure your accessories are up to scratch (watch, belt, shoes, cuffs) so it doesn’t look like you’re slumming.
Think Tom Ford.