What to wear to an awards ceremony

man holding champagne flute wearing tux

Heading to the Oscars? Make sure you dress the part.
Image source: Shutterstock

Rare is the sight of a poorly dressed man being flashed by paparazzi at the Oscars. Make sure your awards ceremony garb passes muster with our guide to formal menswear. 

Occasionally celebrities make grave sartorial errors, as Lionel Messi and Sasha Baron Cohen have shown in the past. But it’s best to avoid following in their footsteps – especially if there are photographers out and about.

So whether your invite is to an awards ceremony, a corporate event or a formal dinner, make sure you dress the part. Awards ceremonies are black tie events, which call for elegant shoes, a luxury jacket and smart trousers. If you feel like having fun you can play around with your accessories – whatever you go for, we’ve got your dress code sorted so you’ll know exactly what to wear.


polished black oxford shoes with a marble background

Opt for an elegant Oxford shoe.
Featured product: Classic Oxford shoe in black

What shoes should you wear to a formal event? The invite will probably say black tie, and with this, you need to wear black shoes.

Without doubt the best option to go for is a pair of Oxford shoes. They have a simple, unfussy design and are the number one option for formal attire. Make sure they are polished and your laces are properly tied. You may be hearing your mother’s voice, but these things are important.

A pair of semi or quarter brogues is also acceptable, though a full brogue is best avoided. The perforations on a full brogue are too showy for black tie purposes.


man in chair in suit

With a smart enough top half your suit trousers can work.
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For black tie events, dinner suits with matching trousers are usually required. These have black piping down the side, don’t tend to be cuffed and have a slightly higher waist. It’s a nice touch to coordinate the colour of the piping with another part of your outfit.

If it is more of a casual event, then normal suit trousers will suffice. Chinos may be appropriate for a wedding or garden party, but no matter how formal the rest of your outfit is, they are too casual for an award ceremony.


Jared Leto in a white suit jacket

Jared Leto looks dashing in white.
Image: Walt Disney Television on Flickr

It may seem that with all this talk of black attire, there isn’t much room for other colours. You’ll look great in black, but Jared Leto showed that you can mix things up. White and black is still a very smart look, and as long as you eat the canapes without mess it can be very striking.

Different fabrics such as velvet create a textured look which adds extra interest to an outfit, no matter what the colour.

If you do need to keep it black, then a jacket, a white shirt and a bowtie is the safest option and you can mix things up with the bow tie.


man with yellow socks ties laces

Colourful socks are a fun way to add some personality to formalwear.
Image source: Shutterstock

Cufflinks can be jazzy, your bow tie can be colourful and if you are daring your socks can be whatever colour you like.

Cummerbunds aren’t every day wear, but when it comes to the most formal of formal events, they are required. Coordinate it with your bow tie for best results.

For those who wear spectacles, it is perhaps best to stick with what you usually wear, if that’s bright red glasses then fine. But if you are normally seen sporting darker specs, then stick with that – it will mean the rest of your outfit won’t be hindered.

The Final Word

Remember, playing it safe in a black tux can mean you look stylish and classy – and avoid any faux pas. But awards ceremonies are a great opportunity to have some fun with your look.

Whose Oscars outfit has you green with envy this year? Let us know in the comments. 

Posted in What to wear guides.

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