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You’ve got it going on. You’re good at what you do and with determination, you’ve been earning a stellar reputation, drawing people into your network like a magnet. But to really play the game like a pro, you’ve got to know how to rock a suit at a cocktail party. Because being competent, reliable, and fabulous isn’t enough. You need to look at the part. Just as a fish goes to the hook with the seductive lure, your market is drawn to the look of competence, reliability, and overall fabulosity.

Let’s examine ways to rock a suit at a cocktail party with personal individuality. While you need to be aware of your market and respect its limitations, some rules were meant to be bent, and isn’t that what entrepreneurs do?

The Cocktail Party Conundrum

Cocktail parties are something of a gray area between “formal” and “casual”. For this reason, a lot of men approach such affairs with trepidation. But you should know that 2023 offers a lot more freedom – especially for business dressing. In fact, the world of men’s suiting is evolving.

We’re talking about a business cocktail party here, with all the semi-formal connotations. But again, it’s an occasion, so dressing up is implicitly stated. You know the business world. You know what’s generally worn by men in that world. But in the gray area of a cocktail party, you can have a little fun by adding festive touches that signal “slick”.

Tailored to Impress: Getting It Together

Cocktail party dressing for men is about putting it all together. You could certainly wear a suit but a jacket with pants in a contrasting color might be more your jam. Choose either, but choose a customized look to create the sleek, confident patina that draws in the people you most want to connect with. Professional suit customization sends a message of self-aware style and confidence.

Express Yourself!

In choosing the separate option over a suit, think about the jacket as a means of self-expression. Velvet or corduroy adds texture and signals individuality. Think about the interplay of color and texture and how you can make them work for you with simple additions like a cravat, a pocket square, or a snazzy bow tie.

Subtle Twists on Classic Looks

A formal button-down shirt is your best bet but you can push the individuality here too. Add a dress shirt with a pin-tucked front and French cuffs finished with cufflinks. Wear it without a necktie or other embellishments. Just the cufflinks will do. It’s a party! You’re free to signal your singular entrepreneurial spirit with subtle plays like this.

A Conservative Foundation

Your pants selection should be as unembellished as possible, as you’re deploying your jacket and dress shirt selection as the “money shot”. Pants should be kept conservative. Wear trousers with a relaxed fit if your goal is to look fashion-forward but focus on simplicity for your lower half.

Footwear is business casual and, of course, slickly party-ready, so choose a traditional style that looks like it means business. The leather, lace-up Oxford is always a great choice. But don’t rule out boots or athletic shoes if you believe they’ll rise to the specific occasion. All cocktail parties are not created equal – even business ones. Sometimes, taking a risk is entirely in order. Know your event and who’s going to be there to find the perfect balance.

The Details

It’s said that God is in the details. But the same can be said about rocking a suit at a cocktail party. Flashes of dandy-worthy accessories are fun, making you approachable and visually interesting. If you’re going with the French-cuffed dress shirt, you’ll need cufflinks. Why be timid? Wear the cufflinks that add an extra dash of individual style. Keep them formal but eye-catching. No dice, please!

A fine watch is a finishing touch that adds weight to any outfit you’re wearing. You’ll want to check the time every now and then to make sure your striking timepiece gets noticed! A pocket square, a silk scarf slung casually over your jacket and there it is – you’re the style star of the cocktail party, ready to build an enviable network to boost your profile.

How to rock a suit at a cocktail party largely depends on your personal style, keeping an eye on the sartorial rules of the entrepreneurial circles you move in. You know who your people are, so play to the crowd with a statement look that turns the right heads in your direction.