The seven most important dress codes for men

The seven most important dress codes for men

Despite all freedom of choice, fashion is subject to rules in some areas. Dress codes often are considered an unspoken consensus: an implicit dress etiquette. Sometimes, however, you must also expressly obey a dress code. In order to help you always to decide on the right outfit, we hereby present you with the seven most important dress codes:

White Tie: the most formal of all dress codes

If you have never seen this dress code before, you should not be surprised. The most formal of all dress codes is only required on rare occasions. Very special evening events, such as the Vienna Opera Ball or the Nobel Prize ceremony, require this “full formal dress”.

There is no room for individual nuances. It is mandatory to wear a tailcoat and matching trousers, plus a freshly starched white dress shirt. The suit is worn with a waistcoat with lapel and a white bow tie.

There can be no question: at white tie events, special attention must be paid to subtleties. In addition to high-quality materials, the perfect fit of the tailcoat is a matter of honour. Instead of a belt, braces are worn. Long, black knee socks prevent flashes of the calves and shiny, freshly polished patent-leather shoes round off the perfect evening wardrobe.

Characteristic: White bow tie

This will put you on the right track: Tailcoat suit (tailcoat, matching trousers, waistcoat and dress shirt), black patent-leather shoes

Matching accessoires: maximum one pocket watch

What you should avoid: individual interpretation of the dress code

Black Tie: Festive evening wear

A black-tie event is only a little less glamorous. Instead of the “full formal dress”, only a suit with tuxedo is worn at the opera, a gala or for a wedding dinner. It will be festive when the evening comes – tuxedos are always worn after 18.00 h – on all accounts.

A tuxedo jacket may be black or midnight blue. The usually single-breasted jacket has a silk-studded, rising lapel or, like the Carl Gross tuxedo blazer “William”, a shawl collar. You can recognize the tuxedo trousers by the galloon which covers the outer longitudinal seams of the trouser legs. It is made of black silk, which normally matches the lapel fabric of the tuxedo jacket. The tuxedo trousers are also worn with braces.

You can choose between a matching tuxedo waistcoat or cummerbund with the white tuxedo shirt with flap collar and concealed button panel. In both cases, colour and fabric must match the tuxedo or the bow tie. Finally, the star of the evening is missing: the bow tie in black.

The Black Tie event leaves at least a small margin for your presentation: if you decide against the classic dress handkerchief made of fine, white silk, you should adjust your alternative to the dress of your companion. This way, you are guaranteed to walk across the red carpet without a faux pas.

Characteristic: Black bow tie

This will put you on the right track: Tuxedo (tuxedo jacket, tuxedo trousers, tuxedo shirt), either tuxedo waistcoat or cummerbund, Oxfords with high gloss polish

Matching accessoires: maximum: cuff links and a matching dress handkerchief

What you should avoid: individual interpretation of the dress code

Black Tie Optional: You have the choice

At this evening event, it is up to you whether you appear in a tuxedo or in a suit with tie. As elegant alternatives, you may choose the classic black suit with waistcoat and bow tie, but also the fine, dark suit with narrow black tie. For all outfits: Black, long socks and polished shoes are mandatory!

Characteristic: in any case in black

This will put you on the right track: Optionally tuxedo or classic black suit with narrow black tie

Matching accessoires: maximum: cuff links and a matching dress handkerchief

What you should avoid: adding colour to your presentation

Business Attire: Perfectly dressed on the job

Competence, authority, care: In your profession, your clothes convey in a unique manner what you stand for and how you represent your company. The first impression counts, especially if you have a lot of customer contact.

With a well-fitting, dark suit – however not in black -, white shirt and tie, you are dressed ideally. If you have an important appointment, you might also wear a matching waistcoat.

When buying the clothing you wear on the job, make sure it fits perfectly and is of good quality. Not only do you feel more comfortable in a good suit, you also radiate that – a plus for your appearance.

Our business suit Lanificio F.lli Cerruti, for example, is a real all-rounder made of extremely fine Italian fabric. Or, you can choose the Carl Gross Performance suit 37,5°in dark blue. The high-tech fabric ensures that the microclimate between body and suit remains constant at 37.5° – perfect for the job!

The colour you choose for your shirt should not be too unusual. You’re never wrong with classic white. Light blue or light grey are chic alternatives. Elegant restraint is also required when it comes to ties. You should not choose conspicuous patterns, prints or bright colours.

Instead of eye-catching accessories, you can stand out thanks to your fine selection. For example, when shoes, bag and belt go together. The premium overall appearance counts!

Characteristic: A tie is a must

This will put you on the right track: Suit in dark grey, anthracite, dark blue or black; if applicable with pinstripes, white or slightly tinted shirt and darker tie, dark lace-up shoes (brogues, Derbys or Oxfords)

Matching accessoires: Cuff links or a flat watch, plain black belt

What you should avoid: never combine more than two colours and patterns

Business Casual

On business trips, at a business lunch or a day at the office, things occasionally get more relaxed. The Business Casual dress code therefore allows you a more relaxed choice of clothes and is less formal than the Business Attire. Nevertheless, your appearance should remain upmarket and presentable.

You can leave your tie at home, for example. But also in Business Casual look, you are well advised to wear a suit. You also have more freedom when choosing your shoes.

On principle, your appearance should still appear upmarket and cultivated in Business Casual. You can achieve this by combining high-quality business basics and casual garments in a targeted and appropriate way. However, it should not become too sporty or too colourful.

Characteristic: Business wear in combination with selected casual elements

This will put you on the right track: Suit without tie, light shirt, lace-up shoes (Oxfords, loafers)

Matching accessoires: a flat watch, belt matching shoes and bag

What you should avoid: striking colours and patterns

Smart Casual

With the Smart Casual dress code, the representative purpose often fades into the background. This allows you to emphasize your personality and individuality much more. No wonder that this dress code has established itself as everyday business wear, especially in creative industries.

Despite all casualness, elegance must not be lost. Make better use of the freedom of dress selection to combine high-quality items in a varied and individual way!

Our recommendation is a basic jacket like our denim jacket CG Tory, combined with a light shirt, matching chinos and belt. You can choose a dress handkerchief to match the colour of your trousers.

If you select a jacket with a fine and even fabric, you may choose a discreetly patterned shirt in contrast, for example the shirt CG Elvio. During the cold season, fine sweaters such as the V-neck sweater CG Didrick, worn on top of a shirt, are a good alternative to the jacket.

The choice of shoes may also be more casual, albeit not completely sporty. Besides trainers and all too sporty sneakers, you have free choice.

Characteristic: More casual elements in combination with business wear

This will put you on the right track: Jacket or blazer, shirt, plain or with discreet pattern, dress trousers, elegant shoes (Oxfords, loafers, slippers).

Matching accessoires: stylish belt to match shoes and bag, men’s watch, dress handkerchief

You should avoid this: colours and patterns that are too conspicuous.


Everything that suits you is allowed! This is how you might describe the dress code “Casual” in a nutshell. The clothes should be relaxed and casual. But make sure that they are always neat and with a touch of elegance!

Jeans and T-shirts are just as suitable for casual appearances as dress trousers and polo shirts. There are few limits to the individual appearance. Jeans, T-shirt and jacket or T-shirt and waistcoat, like the casual waistcoat CG Wilfred, appear more elegant. Dress trousers and T-shirt or a two-tone sweater appear more casual. Accents may be set by socks, shoes or accessories.

But be careful: the sloppy Saturday look, shorts or flip-flops should better be left within your own home. You should also avoid overly unusual prints or colour choices.

Characteristic: casual clothing, high quality and carefully selected

This will put you on the right track: Individual, high-quality look which suits you.

Matching accessoires: everything that fits and makes you feel comfortable

What you should avoid: Sloppy look and unkempt appearance

Come as you are

“Come as you are” is, strictly speaking, not a dress code. Especially in the business sector, you are occasionally asked to “come as you are”. For example, for a drink after work. You are expected to attend the event your business outfit immediately after office hours. Depending on your line of industry, you should appear in the appropriate dress code and, of course, change your clothes if necessary.

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