Dressing for Dinner: A Gentleman’s Guide

It would seem that in our culture, we’re experiencing a continual decline in the formality of events. While past generations would think about how they were going to dress before their next Pan Am flight, today’s travelers are more likely to throw on a pair of sweatpants and be on their merry fucking way. Though we do have some pretty killer designer sweatpants for men, we don’t recommend them for every occasion.

For the average guy, dressing up might feel like a chore, an obstacle to overcome, but that doesn’t necessarily need to be the case. There are plenty of ways to dress for the occasion that aren’t going to take up inordinate amounts of your time and energy. The key is simply to stock your wardrobe with the high quality essentials you need to put something together without much thought. But you can read more about building a minimalist capsule wardrobe here.

As far as dressing for dinner is concerned, there’s the schmuck way to go about it, and then there’s the gentleman’s way of doing things. We recommend the latter but, of course, the decision is up to you.

The Gent Gets Dressed

Probably the simplest way to determine how you’re going to dress for dinner is to consider your contextual clues. If you’re going out to a restaurant, you have the perfect tool with Yelp. It’ll tell you exactly how formal you need to be, whether you’re headed somewhere stodgy or contemporary, and I guess it’ll tell you something about the food too. If you’re headed to a dinner party, your host should have the common courtesy of cluing you in as to the expected attire, whether that’s cocktail attire, business casual, or something a little bit more upscale. If you have trouble parsing the distinctions between those categories, you have your work cut out for you, but it’s not the end of the world.

Generally speaking, you don’t necessarily need to be wearing a jacket at every dinner, but it’s not going to hurt if you bring one along. One thing we don’t recommend, however, is going sans collar. While you can get away with a sophisticated tee in certain scenarios, you never want to make the mistake of showing up and attracting the wrong kind of attention for your choice of attire. Bring along a jacket that has some substance if you’re going to go that route. (We’d recommend the Cotton Jersey Jacket).

For most occasions, your best bet is going to be a versatile button down that you can dress up or down depending on how the mood strikes you throughout the evening. Nobody wants to be the most buttoned up guy in the room, and after the host uncorks a few bottles of wine, you’re not going to want to be the second-most buttoned up guy either. Play it safe and go with a neutral look that shows you know what’s high quality, what looks good, and what’s never going out of style.

For your pants, you can never go wrong with a solid pair of dark, well-tailored slacks, but there are more and more occasions where a dark pair of jeans are going to suit you just as well. Finish off the look with a subtle pair of suede shoes and you’ve got a golden look that never fails.

Check out more men’s designer clothing from VK Nagrani to upgrade your attire before your next dinner.

My work is about far more than creating clothing and a responsibility to myself, the consumer and the human existence. I do not design clothing, I engineer a wardrobe that offers versatility, function and sophistication. I am more focused on raising the bar and creating a timeless aesthetic. Trends are futile. For those that seek the exquisite, you will truly enjoy my work. After all, it was created with you in mind.​​

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