Categories Feature Sartorial

The Formality Level of Men’s Attire

Formality understanding is crucial as it is the factor that contributes highly to social acceptability or awkwardness. Of course it is always better for you to dress well without any concerns on daily life and every occasion, but you should always be careful about how you dress up.

There are many events i go where a lot of people have no idea about what is appropriate to wear. I’ve seen people wearing t-shirt at weddings, jeans at formal dinners, sandals at funerals, and joggers at offices. Well… that’s funny and by going like that you are not respecting the hosts, and dishonoring the events.

There is a moral dimension to formality, as formality is what integrates you into the occasion and its population. Ideally, how one dresses for an occasion should be about contributing to the occasion. A gentleman sees an event as an opportunity to help those who are being celebrated and really hoping for a memorable day.

A gentleman knows how to have his own style without making himself a center of attention. Whether you are invited to a gala dinner or a costume party, some people or at least someone has put a lot of effort into creating that event. An invitation obliges you to help your host create the ambiance they are envisioning.

Dressing is not just about you, it is about creating a pleasing and socially cohesive occasion. Getting the right dress code, whether more formal or more casual, have made you contribute to an occasion and allows others to enjoy it. Be a gentleman, learn and understand formality.


Robes, Uniform, Traditional Clothes

At the top of the list are derived from power, authority, and custom. On several occasions people with certain position should wear these kind of outfits like the robes that worn by judges and prosecutors in the courtroom, or robes that worn by royals on coronation.

Beside robes there are also uniforms and traditional clothes which are more versatile than robes, such as military or police uniforms which can be worn on several events from working, ceremony, dinner, or  even invitation. The same as traditional clothes, just like some countries from Asia where a lot of people still wear their traditional clothes to all kind of events.

What to wear : Robes, Uniform, or Traditional Clothes (depend on who you are).


White Tie (The Ultra Formal)

There is something that people misunderstand about the formality level, there are still some levels beyond just ‘formal attire’ on civilian attire and the highest level is the white tie (some people call it the ultra formal attire).

The dress code is also extremely rare these days as it is associated with only the most ceremonious of occasions. The White Tie has gone from daily (post French Revolution era) to celebratory evening dress and then now to extremely formal and rare. People usually wear it on super fancy evening galas for the leisure class.

What to wear : Specific shirt, white bowtie, and tuxedo or suit with tails.


Black Tie

Nowadays, White Tie and Black Tie are rare to come up in people’s lives but i write about them just to let you know that they are exist. Who knows that in the future you will marry the royals so you may have chance to wear these outfits.

The Black Tie became popular on the 1920s for fancy night events. Today many men know Black Tie primarily from its often-compromised versions on the red carpet of televised events which are, originally were, or imitate those that were evening dinner parties with awards.

What to wear : Tuxedos and black bowtie.


Business Professional (The Formal Dress)

In terms of professional dressing, this is perhaps the most formal attire. Even nowadays, there are not many people who dress business professional to work except those who hold high position in a company or those who work in more serious industry such as law or financial.

Sometimes people also wear it in certain occasion like funeral, wedding, high-end dinner events, or some galas.

What to wear : Dark solid matched suit, button up shirt either plain or with basic patterns such as checks or stripes, conservative tie, and oxford formal shoes.


Business Casual

This one is a step down from business professional. Business Casual allows you to inject your personality to your outfit and have a little bit fun and experiment but it still has to be professional. The most conservative style in business casual is a matched dark suit.

People wear it for working at offices, networking events, and weddings.

What to wear : Dress pants with button up shirt either plain or with basic patterns such as checks or stripes. Suit and tie are optional, but blazer is preferred.


Smart Casual

It is quite similar to Business Casual but with more creativity injection. You are allowed to have more accessories and less dressy outfit. Well, to make it simple you can mix match your casual outfit but you must look smart and educated not swaggy or sloppy.

People also wear it at offices, usually at creative industry or agency, day time party, and networking events.

What to wear : Dress pants, chinos, or dark jeans with casual shirt or shirt with patterns. You can also wear a t-shirt with jacket, sweater, or cardigan. Loafers or driving mocs are prefered for the footwear.



Casual is basically wearing whatever you want but still appropriate because there is expectation of dressing up for social events. There are a lot of people who want to work in offices with casual outfit setting, and actually there are quite a lot such as creative agency or field journalist.

What to wear : Jeans or chinos with polo shirt, or casual shirt. T-shirt is allowed but cover it with sweater or cardigan, sneakers also are allowed but wear the more dressy ones.



Some sources that help this article :

Poor Man’s Jeeves, Cleverism, Real Men Real Style




Putu Radar Bahurekso
t : @puturadar | ig : putu.radar


Written By

Demon Lord (Editor-in-Chief) of Monster Journal.
Film critics, and pop-culture columnist.
A bachelor in International Relations, and Master's in Public Policy.
Working as a Consultant for Communications and Public Affairs.


More From Author

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

I see you don’t monetize your site, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional bucks every
month because you’ve got hi quality content. If you
want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Boorfe’s tips best adsense alternative

furtdso linopv
5 years ago

There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made certain nice points in features also.

You May Also Like