Going formal for the fun of it

Style File

December 28, 1997|By Robert Schrott | Robert Schrott,Sun Staff

Inside every man is a dandy, and every woman would like to see that side of him at least once a year. Why not New Year's Eve? Try formal this time, whether you're staying home or going out.

When stepping out, few things exude elegance and confidence like a tuxedo in basic black wool with satin finishing and flat-front trousers.

A tuxedo's simplicity brings out the best in a man, and because a tuxedo never goes out of style, investing in one eliminates last-minute scrambling for years to come.

The shirt should always be starched, and white (although shirts today also come in a range of styles and colors). Fronts come bibbed or pleated, with collars from high-style wings to collarless bands. A shirt should never be without french cuffs.

The final formal flourish is achieved by finishings, which can mean a bow tie. Cummerbund or a waistcoat? It's your choice. Waistcoats are more formal, with the added advantage of slimming the silhouette. Cummerbunds and ties should match.

Cuff links and studs are the spark of the evening. Here the options are almost limitless, from simple silver knots to showy gemstones.

For glides across the dance floor, evening shoes in a calfskin or patent are a must. Wild and crazy guys who think wearing sneakers is a statement should think again.

The opera slipper, with grosgrain bow, is the classic choice, but lace-ups can be worn if they're plain-toed half-sole oxfords.

Dressing for entertaining at home is a different story. Here's where smoking jackets can act as substitutes for a tux. Here's where a dandy can really express himself in quilted velvets, metallic brocades and luxurious embroideries.

Pub Date: 12/28/97

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