Style Guide: Fraternity Formal Attire
No event makes a fraternity brother sweat and squirm like the first formal of the season, especially new members who haven’t attended a formal affair since their junior or senior prom. What to wear stumps some, while others think they know, but really they don’t.
Fashions change, and staying in style means doing a little more homework before the first frat formal of the season. Don’t worry, fellas, we haven’t forgotten you. Here is your style guide for your fraternity formal attire.
Classic Black Tie Fraternity Attire For Men
Looking good next to a date without standing out from the other gentlemen in the room means coordinating attire with fraternity brothers and your date ahead of time. Dress codes for formal and semi-formal events will vary from school to school and frat to frat. Usually, the planning committee has a vision of how they want people at the event to dress, so ask someone who is involved in the planning process for any specific do's and don'ts for your frat formal. If you're a new pledge, ask your older fraternity brothers how they will dress, and wear a similar style.
An invitation that says to dress formally, or wear "black tie" usually means that men should wear tuxedos. Formal and black-tie parties call for the classic black and white tuxedo, which make men look stylish and sexy. Tuxedos come in many colors, and typically include a jacket, a cummerbund or vest, and pants.
To keep the suave appeal of the tuxedo, leave the cummerbund out and wear the vest. If your event is black tie, choose a black bowtie over the more trendy multicolored options. Ignore the colorful vests, cummerbunds, and cufflinks. Choose the silk black vest that matches the jacket. Choose studs for the cufflinks, and make sure to stick with black, silver or gold.
When deciding whether to buy or rent a tuxedo, remember that classics never go out of style, and having a custom tailored tuxedo in the closet means never having to rush to find one at the last minute. If buying a tuxedo will not fit your budget, a formalwear rental will work. Rent the tuxedo as early as possible, and schedule enough time for a proper fitting.
Your tux also needs to match the dress worn by your date. While wearing a stunning black tuxedo with a white shirt, even a small pop of color will complete the look. Wearing a boutonniere to match the dress worn by your date adds an extra touch of class to your look while not drawing too much attention.
Semi-Formal Fraternity Style Choices
If the invitation, or other fraternity members, say to dress semi-formal for the event, a traditional suit and tie will fit the occasion. Again, it's appropriate to fit in with the other fraternity members, while adding a splash of color to match your date's attire.
Stick with black or dark blue for your jacket and pants to keep the look formal and polished. However, for a semi-formal event, you can show your personality with a colored shirt or tie. The dress shirt and tie can have color but not so much color that it dominates the suit or overshadows a date's gown. A solid red, satin tie to match a date’s red gown is a more subtle use of color than a bright red shirt. Pinks, though more popular now than ever, should not dominate the look, either. A pink boutonniere on the lapel or a pinstriped shirt will match a pink gown without going overboard.
Be mindful of the fit and tailoring of your suit. The days of oversized suit jackets have passed. Men in custom tailored dark suits look sophisticated and ready to take on the world. A custom tailored suit impresses the sorority ladies and automatically brings respect to the man wearing it.
For any formal fraternity event, black oxford shoes, shined and without scuffs, finish the formal look with class. Want to add a playful touch to impress your date? Choose some socks with an interesting pattern to show her that you have a fun side.
Find The Perfect Outfit For Your Fraternity Formal
Perlis has been outfitting Southern gentlemen for more than 70 years, so we know a thing or two about formalwear. Getting ready for your first black tie affair? Reserve your tux today.