December 14, 2010

Men’s Separates and Formal Wear

Robert Downey, Jr. looking good while mixing and matching

Robert Downey, Jr. looking good while mixing and matching

For women, it’s been a common occurrence for quite some time—the mix and match look. However for men, it’s been less acceptable. But the last few years have seen men’s fashion change and business wear has gone from the business suit to combos that are coordinated although not necessarily intended to be worn together. The same phenomenon has been seen in men’s formal wear.

Dinner Jacket

The dinner jacket has become the stylistic anchor in men’s formal wear. Everything revolves around this all-important item. Wear one with a shawl lapel and you’ll blend in with others, while attiring yourself in a dinner jacket with a more dramatic peaked lapel will help make you stand out. Often, it’s what someone decides to wear with that dinner jacket—those mix and match items—that make’s that man’s look unique.

Not Entirely New

The mix and match look is not entirely new to men’s formal wear. There have always been “choices” as to whether one wears a vest or cummerbund, a bow tie or cravat and a white formal shirt with a flat or pleated front.

More Formal Wear Choices

But now, partly due to designers experimenting and partly because individuals who are donning formal wear are willing to break rules, there’s a new mix and match look, which some people find totally acceptable while others cringe to even think of it.

We’re not talking about that look that disavows formal wear. Instead, it embraces formality but combines elements from different designers and brands and eliminates some items entirely. It’s Robert Downey’s attire at the Golden Globes pictured above.

Downey created a very dashing appearance with the choices that he made.

Informal Formal Wear

There are times when men’s formal wear rules should not be broken but there are plenty of times when they can be bent and/or changed. Tasteful creativity can be strikingly refreshing even with men’s formal wear.

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