How to Dress Up For a Formal Dinner

formal dressing for dinner


Introduction to Dress Code

An effective way of determining the appropriate dress code for an event begins by understanding the invitation. Through the invitation itself, you can get an idea of how you should present yourself. Invitations or announcements can come in a number of ways. They may be either formal or casual.

For example, sending an invitation to a graduation ceremony through mail gives the required dress code a formal touch. Sending the invitation through Facebook definitely makes it casual in comparison. You can’t get out your best copper pans that you spent hours on researching on Red Copper Pan Reviews only to muck up the invitations.

If the invitation alone is not enough to give you an idea of what to wear, it is better to ask and get clarity on the dress code from the event organizers to avoid presenting yourself in the wrong attire. There is nothing wrong with making a follow up on the kind of attire expected in an event. If the organizers are unreachable, try to get sufficient information from any other persons who are expected to attend the event. Keep in mind that your dress code will determine how comfortable you will be and it is your duty as a guest to come prepared.

In some rare cases, you may be completely in the dark on what attire to where. Try to be ready for any scenario by putting on attire that can be dressed down or dressed up if need be. For example, if a suit turns out to be an overdress, it can be dressed down by removing the tie, opening the shirt and folding the sleeves.

It is better to overdress than underdress since getting rid of some attire can be a lot easier compared to looking for a readily available clothing to wear once you are in the event.

Men’s dressing for Formal dinner

Dressing for a formal dinner is a lot easier, considering you already know it is a formal event. A typical dress code for a formal dinner is almost universal and just a few details make all the difference. The black-tie format brings an authoritative and almost militaristic tone to an important event.

A man’s attire should be able to blend with the woman’s bright dress. Even though the dress code is limited to black and other dark and dull tones, you should be able to stand out only if you consider the important details and make the right preparations.

Black Tie Dress Code

This dress code has become a popular formal attire for men to wear at social events. Even though white tie still features in formal attire, the black tie has proved to be the most preferable among men as far as fashion and trend are concerned.

In most cases, you will be required to wear a black tie when going to events that take place in the evening hours. However, it is not a necessity and it will all depend on the host of the dinner party. If the dinner is especially held in a fancy restaurant, then a black tie will be most appropriate. It is important that you get all the information on how and when to use the black tie dress code, so as to be on the safe side when the occasion calls.


Tuxedo is an American term for black tie used in evening dress. No matter what term is used to refer to it in the other English-speaking countries, no black tie event is complete without a tuxedo.

Just like a fine wine served in a formal function, there are certain specifications that you need to adhere to as far as tuxedos are concerned.

Components of a True Tuxedo

Make sure you get a complete set when renting or purchasing a tuxedo. It should be presented in full and ready for the suit.

  • Black Evening Jacket: The evening jacket has slowly replaced the tailcoat as the favorable in modern times. It rarely has a shawl collar since it does not underline the height and shoulders as well as peaked lapels. It is single-breasted and the peaked labels have an upward sweeping. Normally, the exposed part of the peaked lapel contains a glossier material compared to the other parts of the suit. The single-breasted jacket is most preferable due to its openness.
  • Black trousers: They can also be referred to as dinner trousers and piping on the side is always necessary when attending a black tie occasions. The piping could be satin, grosgrain, silk or any other fine material. The piping material should be in coordination with where the lapel is facing. When preparing for a black tie event, do not use trousers that are cuffed at the bottom.
  • Black Cummerbund: The waist component is not only meant to conceal the waistband but to also make the bottom of the shirt look slim.
  • White dress shirt: These are no ordinary shirts. They are characterized by small black buttons, pique cotton, a turndown collar and pleated front.
  • Black bow tie: They come in two types namely the modern “butterfly” and the vintage “bat-wing”. The former is the most common.



Suspender Back Styles

rode bretels

The most fascinating thing with the invention of suspenders is the creativity inputted when completing the braces. Brace straps are available in myriad styles such as the cross over (X-back), join (Y-back) or just worn straight down front to back.

These are the most common suspender back styles although there are some more mind-boggling designs you can find at Mighty Good Man:

  • X-back
  • Y-back
  • H-back

Microsoft Word - Suspender Style Guide - Backs

X-back suspenders

The X is derived from the way in which these straps continue separately to form an ‘X’ at the back. The end result is a suspender that has dual attachments at the front and at the back. It is common that majority of suspenders with clips are the X type. This is for several reasons: one, many pants have their belt loops right at the center which will reduce the grip of the clip. Also, two clips provide a better fit on either side of the belt loop and will inevitably increase the support strength by even distribution of weight.

rode bretels

Since the suspenders continue after the X point uninterrupted, there are some ingenious ways of having them stick together at the point at which they intersect. The most basic way to do so for a start is to just sew the two straps together at the point they intersect.

The swivel-back brace is undoubtedly the most comfortable of all braces. Another type of brace is the Paris Free swing brace which has a joint loop that swivels in a motion that corresponds to body movement. Using the above braces with your suspender will definitely keep them firm on your shoulders.

If your desired look is casual or professional, then the X-back suspender is more appropriate. They are majorly available with clips since many trousers have buttons at the center back to create accommodation for the Y back suspender. This however, can be rectified by skilled tailors.


Y-back suspenders

This are named so since the two strands meet at the back and end at the point at which they come to contact with each other, and continue as a single strap at the midline of the back. This results in a Y shape at the back hence the name Y-back suspenders.

Y-back suspenders bring out a formal look and are the best choice for meetings and other similar occasions. These suspenders have an attachment button at the center back of the trousers. Since they only have one attachment point, they show some weakness though quality Y-back suspenders are built to last.


Advantages of the Y and X back suspenders

More people perceive the Y back to be more stylish and fashionable than the X-back. Nonetheless, from an eagle’s eye view, there are quite useful advantages of each.

The Y-back can create the random wedgie very easily, and this is opted for when wearing a fish-tail back. This style is caused by riding up of pants as the space between buttons is not more than 4 inches apart.

The intersection point on the X-back braces cross at a higher point and can be spaced much further apart as they reach the pants. This creates firm support as they hold fast to nearly 1/3 of the back distance. If you require to have your pants well supported, the X-back is more suitable for the job. You may want to add two more connection point to the X-back to have a 4, which has a firm hold.

X-back braces have moveable joints that are adjusted to suit the physique of the person wearing the suspenders. If a person has sloped shoulders, and the junction is much lower, the suspenders will often slip. To correct this, the “X” should be elevated to a higher point on the back, just close to the neck and still have a snug and comfortable fit.


Parallel brace straps

These type run front to back, with no intersection point in between. As a result, they don’t have enough they don’t have enough force that keeps them firm on the shoulders. This was the initial style of suspenders and was not liked because of this.



Same as parallel but with two brace straps at the back. H-back hold your pants extremely well and don’t fall on your shoulders. They are available although the H-type with buttons is very hard to come by.

 bretels met buttonclips

Suspender fabrics; elastic and non-elastic

Not only are suspenders available in a variety of patterns, width, and colors, but also have different fabrics for different designs; the stretch (elastic) and non-stretch fabrics.

  • Stretch – are more common since they have more designs and fit majority of body types. They are only restricted to casual or formal occasions.
  • Non stretch – they can be made from many non-elastic fabrics which are preferred to using plain plastic. Nowadays, they have slight elastic properties to have a better fit and support which is comfortable to the wearer.


Suspender Wearing Tips

Suspender styles

The leather belt was initially suited for decorative purposes among the militia. As time progressed, suspenders took over the baton as the most decorated asset a person will ever have, to hold up pants. This is the norm among many men and women to date.

Suspenders are known as braces by British people, and are seen as an embodiment of professionalism and are worn majorly by dandies, bankers, hipsters and any person who desires to be fashionable.

The following are ways on how to put on suspenders and there are several bretels with different back styles out there.

Suspender styles

  1. Buttons and not clips

There is no greater eyesore on a suspender than a clip, it just doesn’t fit into the design. The only way the metal clip functions is if it cling onto your waistband. If you cannot avoid wearing suspenders, have button attachments installed onto your pants. On trousers, these are put on the interior of the waistband while on other fabrics such as denim and heavy canvas pants, they are on the outer part of the waistband. A tailor can do all the installation to have the proper attachments for suspenders made.

  1. Lose the loops

There is nothing amusing as wearing suspenders and a belt at the same time since they both have the same function. Suspenders look more fashionable if they are worn on a plain waistband with no belt loops. It’s a bold move that shows a much cleaner appearance.

  1. Mind the rise

Trousers which have a mid-to-long rise are best worn with suspenders. There are certain European trousers, with a low cut, and an 8” rise that is positioned on your waist. These when worn with suspenders look backward since they are meant to maintain the position of your trouser just above your natural waistline.

  1. Adjust the length

The suitability of a suspender would be improved by its adjustability properties. The length of a suspender should be based on your height and the length of your chest. Taller people need to pick lengthy suspenders to avoid discomfort caused by formation of a wedgie.

  1. Leave a little room

Braces are best worn on trousers that have some little room around the waist, and also some space available between the hips and the upper leg. For comfort, it is preferred that your trouser hangs loosely around your hips, upper leg and hips. If you wear suspenders on skinny trousers, then the function of suspenders is nullified and it is unnecessary to wear them.

  1. Float at the waist

The best companion for people with a large belly is a suspender. It does not squeeze their waist as the belt does, and the trouser can easily be placed around the natural waist.

  1. Ease the fluctuations

For people who are battling with weight fluctuations, there is a problem that comes with finding the right waist during these fluctuations. Sometimes it may not be necessary at all to find a tailor to adjust the waist all the time. Just fix suspender buttons, and you won’t have to live with having to walk out with extra fabric trapped between the belts. Suspenders also allow the fabric that on the knees and hips to be at a perfect plane, rather than being pulled out of proportion of the natural line by a belt.

  1. Suspenders are underwear

Suspenders are underwear and should be covered with another attire such as a jacket. If you show it off, it seems like you are unaware that your underwear is showing.

  1. A formal necessity

Never accessorize formal wear with a belt. Suspenders can do the trick quite well. While shirts blend well with white silk suspenders, pale cream or light grey, or a cloth with the same fabric as your tuxedo. If you’re sporty in nature, then you are allowed to try out matching various colors of suspenders with your outfit.

  1. Hook them up

Make adequate preparations before wearing suspenders. These include stitching buttons and removing all belt loops if necessary. The required number of buttons in six, three sets of two buttons. Each is sewn 2.5” apart from each other on the interior of the waistband. Each of these buttons will either be attachments for the suspender of the center front or center back.

  1. Don’t wear suspenders with a belt

Suspenders and belts all have the same purpose: keeping the trouser up, and well placed at the waist. Never wear an attire with a suspender and belt together. It is just not right and against all logic.

  1. Mind the waist size

Suspenders are a good accessory for trousers that have some free space around the waist. If you plan on wearing skinny pants, then the reason for wearing suspenders is not valid anymore, unless you are just breaking the rules of fashion.