We get a lot of questions regarding dress codes in our store. Many people want to know what is considered to be correct attire and footwear at formal events. Basically there are three levels of formality in most Western countries; formal wear, semi-formal wear and informal attire.
Early 1900's formal evening wear.
This is the most formal dress code. If you are invited to an event where formal wear is the dress code then you’ll be expected to wear morning dress or white tie depending on the time of the event (white tie is considered to be evening wear and morning wear obviously day wear). Patent leather shoes are considered to be the most correct footwear with formal wear. What can also be added is that full dress uniform and national costume is also considered to be formal wear.
Edward Green patent leather shoes, available as made to order at Skoaktiebolaget.
This is a dress code mostly used for evening events where black tie, or tuxedo, would be the correct apparel. This is however considered to be evening wear only and should preferably not be worn during the day. On rare occasions you will find this dress code appearing on invitations for daytime events and you would then expected to wear a stroller outfit; black or grey coat and striped or checked trousers, preferably with a waistcoat and grey neck-wear. Although the stroller is mainly an American invention, it will be largely accepted in most parts of the world. A mess dress (military) is also accepted as semi-formal evening wear. Patent leather shoes will be considered correct, but a pair of black oxfords polished to a very high shine will also be accepted along with evening footwear (bow pumps etc).
Gaziano & Girling bow pumps, available as made to order at Skoaktiebolaget.
Although this may sound as you can show up in almost anything it’s quite the contrary. You will be expected to wear a navy or charcoal two or three piece suit with a white shirt and neck-wear. A black suit is also acceptable but preferably only as evening wear, because black is considered to be evening wear in most western countries. Always wear a pair of black oxford lace up shoes, like the Carmina model 732 below. People may argue the validity of this claim, but to no avail - in our opinion black oxfords are the most correct footwear with informal attire. That said, feel free to wear burgundy oxfords if you're feeling rebellious.