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How to Dress for a Gala for Men

by Ruth Altman, studioD

A gala event most always is a formal occasion where men should dress in black-tie attire. Tuxedos are a classic option when it comes dressing and should be regarded as a safe choice for nearly any kind of gala. Remember, it’s a good idea to double check your invitation; more often than not, specifics on attire are included.

Classic Tuxedo

For traditional black-tie events, a tuxedo is a timeless choice. A classic tuxedo is a black or midnight-blue suit with a satin or grosgrain lapel fashioned in a single-breasted style. The collar generally is peaked to distinguish it from business suits. Slacks also are formal, with banded outer seams made from silk or satin -- or even grosgrain depending on the jacket. Garments are most always made of wool fabric. As an optional touch, men can pair a vest or cummerbund with the suit, although these accessories are less contemporary. Men should always wear black socks of silk or wool and fine leather shoes to finish off the look.


Men can get creative when it comes to tuxedo style. Changing the lapel of the suit from traditional single breast to a single-breasted shawl collar tends to look sleek and modern compared to classic styles while still maintaining an authentic, formal look. Men also can choose to have pleated pants for a more traditional look or flat-fronted slacks for a modern touch.


Men should go for a classic bow-tie when attending a gala. Go for hand-tied options and avoid the pre-tied bow-tie. Bow-tie options include butterfly, thistle (or semi-butterfly), bat-wing and pointed variations. Any style is acceptable for a gala. Color always should be black or midnight blue depending on your suit. Always choose a material that complements the lapel of your suit. Silk is the quintessential choice for the most classic and timeless look.


Getting the right fit is an essential part of looking sharp and polished. A jacket that’s too big can instantly make your tuxedo look inexpensive and of lesser quality. Pants that are too long with a dragging hem can appear sloppy and unkempt. Make sure to visit a tailor to create a custom fit for your tuxedo before you wear it.

About the Author

Ruth Altman writes on business, lifestyle and careers. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Pepperdine University in addition to a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.

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