formal wear

June 27, 2024

Essential Formal Wear Pieces Every Business Professional Needs

The crisp envelope, embossed with gold lettering, lands on your desk. It’s an invitation – a black-tie event, a night of celebration and networking amongst industry peers. Excitement courses through you, but a flicker of uncertainty follows. Are you prepared? Do you have the attire to command respect and make a lasting impression?

For the busy professional, navigating the formal wear landscape can be a challenge. The workday demands are relentless, schedules are tight, and meticulously curating a formal wardrobe can feel daunting. Having a well-stocked selection of key pieces empowers you to tackle any formal event with confidence. No more last-minute scrambling, wondering if your suit is appropriate or your shoes are polished enough. With a strategic approach, you can build a formal wear arsenal that exudes sophistication and lets you focus on enjoying the occasion.

Building Your Formal Wear Foundation: Essential Suits

The cornerstone of any formal wear collection is a selection of well-tailored suits. These versatile garments serve as the foundation for your look, adapting to various dress codes with the right accessories. Here are three essential suits that every business professional should own:

The Black Suit: A Timeless Classic

A well-tailored black suit is the undisputed champion of formal wear. Its versatility extends beyond funerals and sombre occasions. Black suits can be your saving grace for black-tie dinners, award ceremonies, or galas. The key lies in the details. Opt for a classic single-breasted style with sharp lapels. Remember, a tuxedo boasts distinct features like satin lapels and covered buttons, making a black suit a more versatile choice for a wider range of formal events. Invest in quality fabric – a fine merino wool drapes beautifully and ensures a comfortable wear throughout the evening.

The Navy Suit: The Workhorse of Formal Wear

The navy suit is the chameleon of the formal wear world. Its adaptability allows you to dress up or down depending on the occasion. Pair it with a crisp white dress shirt, a silk tie, and a pocket square for a sophisticated formal look. For a more semi-formal setting, ditch the tie and add a touch of personality with a patterned pocket square. The timeless elegance of a navy suit makes it a powerful choice for business meetings or presentations, commanding respect and projecting authority.

The Tuxedo: Stepping into the Spotlight

For the quintessential black-tie event, the tuxedo reigns supreme. It’s a statement piece, an emblem of sophistication and style. While similar to a black suit in colour, the tuxedo boasts distinct features that elevate its formality. Look for satin lapels, covered buttons, and a satin stripe down the outer leg of the trousers. Consider a shawl lapel for a sleek, minimalist look, or a peak lapel for a touch of grandeur. Opt for a cummerbund or a waistcoat to add a layer of formality, depending on your personal preference and the specific dress code. Remember, a tuxedo is an investment, so ensure it fits flawlessly.

Beyond the Suit: Finishing Touches for Polished Formality

A suit, while essential, is just the beginning. The true art of formal wear lies in the details – the finishing touches that elevate your look from good to great. Here are some key accessories to consider:

The Silk Bow Tie: Adding a Touch of Sophistication

For black-tie events, a silk bow tie is non-negotiable. Its elegance and refinement instantly elevate your attire. Consider different types of knots – the butterfly knot is a classic choice, while the Windsor knot offers a touch of grandeur. Pre-tied options offer convenience, but mastering the art of self-tying a bow tie adds a personal touch and allows you to adjust the size and symmetry for a perfect look.

The Pocket Square: A Subtle Detail with Big Impact

A well-chosen pocket square can make a surprisingly significant impact on your formal attire. It adds a pop of colour or pattern, complementing your tie while offering a touch of contrast. Experiment with different folding techniques like the puff fold or the presidential fold to showcase your personality. Remember, a pocket square should peek out of your breast pocket by no more than a half-inch to a quarter-inch.

A Quality Belt: The Finishing Touch

A high-quality leather belt adds a touch of polish to your formal look. Opt for a classic black or brown belt with a simple buckle that complements your suit and shoes. Avoid belts with excessive ornamentation or logos that can detract from the overall sophistication of your attire.

Well-Maintained Shoes: The Foundation of Confidence

There’s nothing worse than a scuffed shoe to undermine a polished look. Invest in classic styles like Oxfords or Derbys in black or brown leather. These timeless silhouettes offer both style and versatility. Regularly polish your shoes to maintain their shine and ensure they project an air of professionalism. Remember, your shoes are the foundation of your outfit – literally and figuratively. A well-maintained pair not only elevates your look but also speaks volumes about your attention to detail and commitment to excellence.


Having a well-stocked formal wear wardrobe isn’t just about having the right clothes; it’s about cultivating confidence. Knowing you’re prepared for any situation allows you to step into an event with poise and presence. You’ll focus less on your attire and more on making connections, enjoying the occasion, and leaving a lasting impression.

Here at Winslow Style, we understand the importance of feeling confident and prepared in any formal setting. We offer a wide range of high-quality formal wear garments and accessories, from expertly tailored suits and tuxedos to a curated selection of ties, pocket squares, and belts. Our experienced team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect pieces that flatter your physique and reflect your personal style.

So, gentlemen, take the time to build your formal wear wardrobe. Invest in quality pieces that will serve you for years to come. With a strategic approach and a trusted menswear retailer by your side, you can create a collection that empowers you to face any formal event with confidence. What formal wear pieces are you most unsure about?


Both black suits and tuxedos are formal garments, but key details set them apart. A tuxedo features satin lapels, covered buttons, and often a satin stripe down the trousers. Black suits, while formal, lack these details, making them more versatile for various formal occasions (excluding black-tie events).

Black is the most classic and versatile colour for a formal suit. However, navy blue is another excellent option, offering a touch of sophistication and flexibility for both formal and semi-formal events.

For black-tie events (tuxedos), a bow tie is a must. For other formal occasions with a suit, a tie is generally expected. You can choose a classic solid colour or a subtle pattern to complement your shirt and pocket square.

Your formal trousers should drape cleanly without pooling at the ankles. A slight break at the shoe is acceptable, but avoid excessive bagginess or tightness.

Classic leather Oxfords or Derbys in black or brown are ideal for formal wear. Ensure your shoes are well-maintained and polished for a polished and professional look.