How to Look Great at a Formal Holiday Party

Courtesy SuitSupply

The key to making your regular tuxedo into a holiday party tuxedo is putting part of it back on the hanger. Regardless of whether you’ve got a two- or three-piece, ditch the pants or jacket, whichever one fits more loosely. Now, look at the rest of your closet. Do you own a smoking jacket? Tartan slacks? A velvet bowtie? The answer is probably “no” or “of course not,” but Nish de Gruiter, the well-dressed vice president of Suitsupply, makes a compelling case for splashing out on a bit of seasonal flash.

“Mixing and matching creatively is a fun way to be festive,” he explains. “And most guys open up to the idea if they realize how easy it can be.”

De Gruiter recommends that men attending more formal holiday parties for the first time pick up a jacket that they’ll also be able to wear to weddings and other celebrations. His company’s short velvet jacket is a wise choice. Inspired by doormen coats, this bit of abbreviated eveningwear buttons up to the chest and looks rakish with, well, anything. It is a great way to make a statement without saying anything so specific that it can’t be said again when you decide to go out someplace nice in March.

For men who know that they’ll be invited to a soiree every year, de Gruiter recommends a more aggressive approach. “A double-breasted red jacket with a peak lapel or tartan pants will definitely make an impression,” he says. “And neither is hard to pull off.” The important thing, de Gruiter says, is to allow small accents to bring the outfit together. He recommends a velvet bowtie or a bright pocket square – touches that make it clear you’re taking the season, but not yourself, seriously. [velvet jacket from $399, tartan suit from $799, pants sold separately in stores;]