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 evening wear dress code sorted so you’ll know exactly what to choose.


Prestige dress shoe from Samuel Windsor

Opt for an elegant, patent leather Oxford shoe.
Featured product: Prestige dress shoe from Samuel Windsor

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

Without doubt the most formal option to go for is a pair of patent leather Oxford shoes. If you prefer to wear a less formal shoe that still fits the bill, a pair of simple, black leather Oxfords is also perfectly acceptable. Make sure they are polished and your laces are properly tied. You may be hearing your mother’s voice, but these things are important.

Brogues are best avoided if you can help it. The perforations 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 trousers have black piping down the side, don’t tend to be cuffed and have a slightly higher waist. Not designed to be worn with a belt, these trousers have adjusters in the waist band to help you get a comfortably snug fit.

If it’s 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.


Samuel Windsor green velvet dinner jacket and waistcoat

Don’t be afraid of colour and texture
Image source: Samuel Windsor

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 if you like to stand out from the crowd you can always 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 your accessories.


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 everyday wear, but when it comes to the most formal of formal events, they are required. Coordinate it with your bow tie for the 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’re 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 means you’ll 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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