In addition to the obvious main event, December signals the start of the party season. And that means you’ll need to up your style game for the various engagements that await over the coming weeks.
Thankfully, cutting a sartorial dash need not involve a complete wardrobe overhaul, nor deep pockets. Whether it's a lavish event or something low key, the following six pieces should see you sail smartly through the season – and beyond.
Whether it’s a fancy, formal reception, where the dress code dictates black tie or an informal cocktail party, the velvet blazer is a failsafe option - one that manages to be perfectly on-trend yet also exude old-school glamour.
Team it with black trousers for a contemporary take on eveningwear, or dress it down with an open-neck shirt or polo neck for a smart-casual look. Colour-wise, stick to muted tones, such as black, navy or grey. And remember: less is more, so don’t be tempted to dress head-to-toe in velvet.
Chic and sophisticated, the roll neck is undoubtedly having a moment in menswear.
A stylish alternative to a shirt-and-tie combination, this natty piece of knitwear works particularly well under a blazer (extra style points if it’s velvet), but lends itself to a diverse number of smart and smart-casual combinations, making it the best not-too-stuffy, not-too-casual alternative to a collared shirt at your disposal.
Whether you play it safe with black, feel a little more adventurous with charcoal grey or navy, or opt for a warmer shade such as burgundy or mustard, this bonafide wardrobe hero will always look the business. Just steer clear of patterns and, instead, opt for a plain design every time.
When it comes to fabrics, ensure that your roll neck is made from wool, if you want it to look good and, crucially, to last. Cashmere is the sybaritic choice, but extra-fine merino wool is a great alternative and has the added benefit of temperature-regulating properties.
Just remember to keep your roll neck fine-knit, which will ensure that it’s perfect for wearing beneath a whole wardrobe’s worth of cold-weather staples. Make sure you don’t tuck it in!
Stylish and sophisticated as they are undoubtedly are, your 9-5 workwear shoes are possibly not the most appropriate option for party season.
While brogues and Derbys are perfect for the office, the informal vibe of the season calls for something a little less restrained. And, thankfully, the options are numerous.
Monk straps in suede bring a typically formal shoe into the casual realm, and can really set off a tailored pair of trousers at a party. Alternatively, look to the trusty loafer for a comfortable and truly versatile option. The slip-on suede slipper, meanwhile, is a daring – but undeniably dapper - alternative for those really seeking to flaunt their fashion feathers.
The party season is one of the very few times of year that us men can flaunt our style credentials, And what better way than with a smart bow-tie? After all, conventional wisdom dictates that it’s better to be over-dressed than under-dressed.
Whether you go for a knitted, silk or even velvet design, or favour plain or patterned, a bow-tie is a dapper and quirky alternative to a conventional tie. It needs to be worn with care, though, to avoid any style pitfalls.
Don’t let the shirt and the tie compete - go for a patterned or striped bow-tie on a crisp white shirt for casual occasions, and a classic (plain) black bow-tie for formal. Tempting as it may be, bypass any novelty designs, even if it is the festive season.
Historically, the pocket square was a necessity for guests attending dinner parties and other formal engagements. These days, its appearance is far more varied, and its resurgence means that it’s now frequently seen gracing formal and casual jackets alike, adding a shot of
Whether it’s to embellish a well-cut suit or upgrade a blazer, the pocket square is the perfect party season accessory. And while ’tis indeed the festive season, swerve away from any holly or Snowman prints, and keep it classic with something sharp and sophisticated. You’ll never go wrong with, for instance, a polka dot pattern or a block-colour style in a seasonal shade of deep green or burgundy.
For a real sartorial flourish, look to the silk scarf for the party season.
Originally used to protect pilots’ necks from chaffing when open cockpits were the rule, they’re far less functional nowadays but no less stylish, and have been worn by everyone from David Beckham to David Gandy.
Unlike it heavier woollen or cashmere counterparts, a silk scarf can be worn both outdoors and indoors. It works best when layered beneath a jacket (or even knitwear), providing a discreet but definite layer of luxury and texture.
Whatever your style, there’s a design that will suit. Conservative? Muted tones perfectly complement sharp tailoring and, allied with the contrast in fabrics, will make a work suit perfectly acceptable for cocktails. More fashion-forward? Look to a colourful design, or one with a subtle print, which will contrast wonderfully against a white shirt or your newly acquired roll neck.