Formal shirts and bon ton, how to break the mould with style


Every year when spring comes around it inevitably brings with it the dilemmas associated with the ceremonies that punctually accompany the warmer seasons: classic or original? Traditional or modern? Whether you’re a guest, the best man or maybe even the groom himself, you’ll be torn between the desire to turn heads with details full of personality and the sheer dread of looking overdressed or, even worse, like a fish out of water.

Reinterpreting the rules of bon ton according to your own personal style is the best path to take, but getting it right can often prove to be anything but easy.

In this new post we really want to help you choose your next elegant outfit, by offering you a few tips that will help you come out on top, obviously always in the company of the perfect shirt for the occasion.


Step one - The dress code

The question you must always ask yourself well in advance if you want to avoid making a gaffe, and all the wasted energy and resources that go with it, is: have your hosts established a dress code for the ceremony? A colour, a style, a model, a theme? If the answer is yes, your field of action will be considerably reduced because you’ll already have a basic idea for helping you create the perfect look for the occasion.

If not, let’s move on to step two…pronto!

Step two – The time

It goes without saying that the suit you wear at midday will be very different from the one you would choose for an evening ceremony. Although it’s not something we may give much thought to, instead, this is why the time of the occasion is in fact crucial when it comes to defining roughly the kind of outfit you should go for.

For example, as we’ve seen, in his personal handbook the great Frank Sinatra banished all colours but black or midnight blue once the sun had set. [LINK TO RELEVANT ARTICLE]

For daytime, you can favour lightweight fabrics and minimal accessories but go a bit wilder with the shades, instead keeping the more elegant garments and unique details for when the sun goes down.


Step three – Classic is chic

With a tuxedo shirt - white of course- you’re already halfway there. The stylish elegance of white is a must that will never go out of fashion, especially on special occasions.

The white shirt - or, more generally speaking, the formal shirt – can then have a wingtip, straight point or cutaway collar but it must have thread-sewn stitching at the edge of the fabric. The French cuff, the height of elegance, can be replaced with a convertible cuff that you can always decorate with cufflinks to add a dash of pizazz.

Step four - The accessories

Opposites attract, and you can offset a classic fit with some unique, original accessories. If the invitation requires you to wear a black tie, forget all your doubts and opt straight for a tuxedo. A classic for elegant evening and night-time occasions, but increasingly trendy for weddings too. The bow-tie is the obvious choice to accompany the tuxedo, especially in black. But if ties and bow-ties are simply not your thing, choose an elegant shirt with a mandarin collar.


Step five - The location

Already know where the event will be held? A traditional location, perhaps in the city, calls for just as traditional a look, with a dark suit and double-breasted jacket, as well as a waistcoat if you’re a 3-piece man and the circumstances are likely to allow you to loosen your tie.

A particular, unusual location, such as the beach for instance, could even sanction the use of a de-structured suit in a lightweight fabric like cotton or linen, or a jacket and trouser combination.

If it’s not long now until your next ceremony, it’s time to take the first step. And with our tips, choosing an outfit will be a walk in the park.

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