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How do I dress it down a medium grey slim suit at a business cocktail party without looking like...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am attending a professional conference next week and the first event is a "welcome" cocktail party at 9 p.m., On the guest list are several clients and dignitaries.  I am wearing a slim fit medium grey suit and want to use it on the first night.

 

What should I wear as a shirt/tie combination?  Should I even wear a tie?  I am thinking of an Armani black dress shirt under the medium grey suit, no tie.  Salesman at Louis Vuitton says I should wear a lavender dress shirt under the medium grey suit, unbuttoned, no tie.  Wifey says stick with white shirt, burgandy tie, black monks.

 

I want to stay dressed in a suit, but don't want to look like "that guy" at business conferences who tries too hard to look "casual" in a business suit, but ends up looking like well, an uptight guy in a business suit no matter how many shirt buttons are unbuttoned, or what kind of pastel shirt he wears under his suit jacket.

 

Thank you for your opinions and sincere advice.

post #2 of 22
Your wife is right. Also, if these "dignitaries" are wearing ties, you must too.
post #3 of 22
Hmm, tough one. I can definitely see how you'd worry about looking like a "suit", but on the other hand -- as jrd617 mentions -- I don't think skipping the tie is an option. Your best bet probably is to seek out a decent sport coat to go with the grey suit pants (not 100% kosher, but an acceptable option if you're in a pinch). Wear it with the tie and a white hanky, the latter of which is a good way of making you look less of an office drone.
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 38Wham View Post

I am attending a professional conference next week and the first event is a "welcome" cocktail party at 9 p.m., On the guest list are several clients and dignitaries.  I am wearing a slim fit medium grey suit and want to use it on the first night.

 

What should I wear as a shirt/tie combination?  Should I even wear a tie?  I am thinking of an Armani black dress shirt under the medium grey suit, no tie.  Salesman at Louis Vuitton says I should wear a lavender dress shirt under the medium grey suit, unbuttoned, no tie.  Wifey says stick with white shirt, burgandy tie, black monks.

 

I want to stay dressed in a suit, but don't want to look like "that guy" at business conferences who tries too hard to look "casual" in a business suit, but ends up looking like well, an uptight guy in a business suit no matter how many shirt buttons are unbuttoned, or what kind of pastel shirt he wears under his suit jacket.

 

Thank you for your opinions and sincere advice.

I would not wear a black shirt under a grey suit for a business function, Armani or otherwise.  Wear a white shirt and a black grenadine tie to look appropriate at night.  and a pocket square.

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimhones View Post

I would not wear a black shirt under a grey suit for a business function, Armani or otherwise.

Yeah, forgot about that one. Definite no-no.
post #6 of 22
Definitely no sport coat for cocktails at 9pm. Keep the suit, wear a white shirt, dark tie and white square.

Think more tuxedo/dinner jacket than sportswear.

Or, if you are certain it's going to be more casual, wear the suit with a medium to lightweiight turtle neck sweater undeneath.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post

Definitely no sport coat for cocktails at 9pm. Keep the suit, wear a white shirt, dark tie and white square.
Think more tuxedo/dinner jacket than sportswear.
Or, if you are certain it's going to be more casual, wear the suit with a medium to lightweiight turtle neck sweater undeneath.

I wear a blazer or dark jacket for cocktails all the time.  

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gdot View Post

Definitely no sport coat for cocktails at 9pm. Keep the suit, wear a white shirt, dark tie and white square.
Or, if you are certain it's going to be more casual, wear the suit with a medium to lightweiight turtle neck sweater undeneath.

Since the OP is even considering attending the cocktail party in only a grey suit and black shirt, you'd have to assume that it's not an overly formal affair, and so in that case, I do think a sport coat (not some brash seersucker coat -- natch) would be seemly.
post #9 of 22

What does it mean to "try too hard to look casual?" I've got no clue what that would look like. How do you know that they don't look exactly the way that they intended to?

 

As far as your question goes, wear a tie. Just wear more upbeat colors. I'd suggest lavender. Maybe a blue shirt and a lavender tie or a lavender shirt and some complementary tie. If it's really a "professional conference," then a lot of people are going to wear suits and ties.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivar View Post


Since the OP is even considering attending the cocktail party in only a grey suit and black shirt, you'd have to assume that it's not an overly formal affair, and so in that case, I do think a sport coat (not some brash seersucker coat -- natch) would be seemly.

 

OP only has 4 posts, so how do you know that OP's choice to wear a grey suit and black shirt is appropriate?

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

Your wife is right. Also, if these "dignitaries" are wearing ties, you must too.

One of the few times that the wife is 100% re men's fashion!!
post #12 of 22

because it is never appropriate.  unless you work in a casino.

post #13 of 22
Consider that you are making first impressions and representing your company. Wear the tie out of respect for the event and the guests. The more upscale the location, the more upscale your look. Are you at the Four Seasons or the Ramada? You don't want to be labeled/remembered as "that guy with the black shirt".
If there is a sense of formality to the event, listen to your wife and dress as well as she is dressing. If you want to tone it down, wear a light blue shirt and a knit tie or something textured and low keyed. Hope you have a great time.
post #14 of 22
This is why we can't have nice things.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Gents, sorry for all the flame throwing...just wanted some advice on the old grey suit...can't we all just get along?

 

The event is the opening of a week long business conference in Baltimore, MD, in a major hotel.  The dignataries are from the Dept. of Justice, and they'll be in blue suits and red ties.

 

I expect the cameras will be rolling.  Still, I like the casual look at cocktail parties...but agree that formal is the way to go.  Thanks for the helpful comments.  

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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › How do I dress it down a medium grey slim suit at a business cocktail party without looking like "that guy" who tries too hard to look casual/dressy and ends up doing neither?