Ryan Seacrest Explains the New Rules for Dress Codes

Credit: Ryan Seacrest Productions

If there's anybody who knows how to dress in Hollywood, it's Ryan Seacrest. For a man who never seems to be off-screen, he's also never caught in a wardrobe pickle, constantly showing flawless skill in the art of style. He's so highly admired in this regard that Macy's gave him his own section in their New York Herald Square store, and a clothing line named Distinction.

With a slew of red-carpet events on the horizon, we asked the expert to help demystify the four major dress codes and answer for once and all: What the hell is business casual?

Formal
"Cut the Cummberbund," Seacrest says. "It's not necessary today with the great flat-front trousers available." Even your basics should be elevated. For example, a bright white dress shirt, polished cufflinks, and black patent slip-ons or lace ups. Make the extra step with a bow-tie, and though you should always choose classic over costume, don't be afraid to use the opportunity to add a little color to your evening look, or experiment with shades like dark charcoal or burgundy. For the suit, a proper fit is crucial. Don't cuff the evening pant; you should have a slim straight line right down to the shoe. "In the end, it's also important to be comfortable enough to sit and dance with ease," Seacrest adds. "What's the good of dressing up if you can't enjoy your night."

The Suit: Distinction Black Peak Lapel Slim-Fit Tuxedo [$550; macys.com]
Tuxedo Shirt: Brooks Brothers Madison Fit [$175; brooksbrothers.com]
Tie: Suit Supply Bordeaux Bow Tie [$65; us.suitsupply.com]
Cufflinks: Dunhill Longtail Facet [$250; dunhill.com]
Shoes: Gordon Rush Camden Black [$395; gordonrush.com]

Semi-Formal
"It can be tempting to just use a dark business suit for a semi-formal evening, but try to avoid that," Seacrest says. Instead reach for an outfit that's a cut above the basic, and add a vest for a sharper figure. To distinguish yourself from the crowd, try to juxtapose contrasting textures or incorporate subtle patterns in your accessories. If the occasion calls for it, make the play for the bow tie, but if you're going for a more standard look, add a tie bar.

The Suit: Ted Baker Three-Piece Wool Mason [$630; tedbaker.com]
Shirt: Polo Ralph Lauren Poplin Estate [$125; ralphlauren.com]
Tie: Distinction New Textured Solid Slim Blue Tie [$60; macys.com]
Tie Bar: Brushed Straight Silver [$15; thetiebar.com]
Pocket Square: Coco Geo Blue Pocket Square [$25; macys.com]
Shoes: Calvin Klein White Label Gordon Textured [$140; calvinklein.com]

Business
"Keep it simple, but that does not mean boring," Seacrest says. You should make sure to always have a crisp white shirt and a well-tailored suit. If you want to go with a shade besides black (and you do), make sure it's a classic option, like gray or navy. "Don't forget the details like freshly polished shoes and a tie with some color to it."

The Suit: Distinction New Blue Solid Slim-Fit [$275; macys.com]
Shirt: Todd Snyder White [$125; toddsnyder.com]
Tie: Distinction Highland Neat Slim Tie [$24; macys.com]
Shoes: Cole Haan Preston Wingtip Oxford [$328; colehaan.com]

Business Casual
"It's time to loosen up." Seacrest says to ditch the jacket and instead throw a smart-looking cardigan or form-fitting sweater over your shirt and tie. Try to avoid black and open yourself up to some lighter choices, pairing them with a brown or luggage-colored bootie. But the pants should still be more business and less casual. "This is not the time for jeans."

The Sweater: Gant Rugger Doubler Cardigan [$225; gant.com]
Shirt: J. Crew Ludlow Shirt [$88; jcrew.com]
Tie: Burberry London Manston Twill Silk Tie [$195; burberry.com]
Pants: Distinction Brown Tic Pants [$150; macys.com]
Shoes: Johnston & Murphy Stratton Cap Toe Boot [$195; johnstonmurphy.com]