The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Suit for Every Special Occasion

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Suit for Every Special Occasion

What suit should I wear at this wedding? What kind of suit is expected of me for this occasion? What about the forthcoming interview? I could go on about some questions a lot of gentlemen struggle with when it comes to suits for a particular occasion. There are so many nuances and styles that can get overwhelming.

However, it makes sense for you to be a little stressed about these details. It only means you care. Also, don’t we all want to look sharp and dapper for an occasion?


The good news is this doesn't have to be the case for the modern-day gentleman. It doesn't have to be this complicated and confusing. There are a few things that, if you get right, you won't sweat about it when it comes to what suit to wear on different occasions. In this article, we'll cover the fundamentals of choosing a suit to ensure you're impeccably dressed for any occasion.

Decoding Dress Codes: What Are the Rules for Different Dress Codes?

Dress code is arguably the most important thing to consider when selecting a suit for a particular occasion. Understanding the different dress codes and which fits the event in question goes a long way. Different fashionistas and fashion experts have unique opinions regarding men's dress codes. Here are the seven principal dress codes for men that cover everything:

  1.     White Tie
  2.     Black Tie
  3.     Cocktail Attire
  4.     Business Professional
  5.     Business Casual
  6.     Smart Casual
  7.     Casual

Since we're talking about suits, we will only look at the dress codes that involve a suit. Let's dive a little deeper into the expectations for each dress code:

White Tie

The white tie dress code is considered the most formal of all dress codes. It also has the strictest rules and no room for creativity. According to Vogue, when you're invited to a white-tie event, you should ensure you have the following:

  •     A black tailcoat
  •     Black trousers
  •     White shirt
  •     A vest of pique cotton
  •     A white bow tie

Other accessories, such as white gloves and pocket squares, are also worn. Most events that require a white dress code include weddings, balls, or dinners, most likely with an impressive guest list.

Black Tie 

A black tie event is also an event that will require you to get it right in selecting the kind of suit to wear. Although it is more formal than a white-tie dress code, you also only have a little room for creativity here. Some of the critical pieces for your ensemble in a black-tie event will include:

  •     A black tuxedo
  •     A white tuxedo shirt
  •     A cummerbund
  •     Black dress shoes
  •     A white pocket square

Since a black-tie event is more relaxed than a white-tie event, you have some flexibility depending on the event. Wear the standard black-tie dress code if you perceive an event as very formal with a distinguished guest list. If the young generation might grace the event and is a little less strict, then you can go with the Black-Tie Optional dress code, where you can break the rules a little, such as wearing a dark blue tux instead of black.

Most formal events, such as weddings, dinners, award ceremonies, and proms, call for a black-tie dress code.

Business Professional

Business professional attire is classic formal wear, and its close comparison is the Black Tie dress code. Although it is rare in daily office interactions, this is the dress code you'll find in interview settings, career fairs, galas, and other formal events.

men in suits at the office

For a business professional dress code, you should wear dark suits, such as charcoal gray or navy blue, with light-colored dress shirts. To be on the safe side, pair this with oxfords or brogues. I would frown upon wearing not-so-formal footwear, such as loafers.

Cocktail Attire

Defined in simple terms, cocktail attire is formal but chic and sophisticated. There are no stringent rules; this is the dress code for semi-formal weddings, fundraisers, business events, etc.

For cocktail attire, you can wear a dark navy blue or gray suit and match it up with a light-colored dress shirt and a dark tie. With cocktail attire, you can always mix and match to bring out your creativity and unique style, more like in the business casual dress code. For example, you can have the jacket and pants of your suit in different but harmonious colors.

Business Casual 

The business casual dress code is the dress code you'll find in the everyday office wear for most companies today. It is a perfect blend of formal and casual dress codes. However, compared to smart casual, business casual is a little more formal. Business casual ensures a relaxed but professional look.

For business casual, you can also mix and match colors that complement each other for the jacket, pants, and dress shirts. If not, suit pants, dark chinos, a button-down shirt, a jacket, and loafers are perfect examples of business casual dressing.

Smart Casual

Smart casual is classy and more fashion-forward. This is another harmonious fusion of casual and formal dress codes, but now more inclined to the casual side. Here, there's much more flexibility in donning a polo shirt and some nice jeans with a blazer to spruce things up.

smart casual dress code

A navy blue single-breasted suit jacket matched with a well-fitting pair of pants, a white turtleneck shirt, and white sneakers, like Air Force 1, would make a great smart casual outfit.

If Smart Casual dress codes interest you, you might want to have a look at Mastering the Art of Smart Casual Dressing for Men


3 Other Important Tips to Choosing the Perfect Suit for Special Occasions

It will take more than being in the proper dress code to stand out and be well-dressed for an occasion. And don't get me wrong, getting the dress code right is crucial, but there are other things to consider.

Here are other tips to help make sure that you are well-suited for the occasion;

1.   Material Matters

Now that you know the dress code needed for a particular event (always confirm with the host whenever this isn't clear), it is vital to make sure that you get a suit made of quality material. In the material conversation, we discuss three main things: comfort, durability, and style.

Fabric is critical in selecting a suit for a particular occasion since you want a more breathable, comfortable, and durable suit, such as one made of linen or cotton during the warmer days. On the other hand, for a winter occasion, go with warmer materials such as wool.

 2.     Fit Is King

No matter how exceptional your style or the fabric of your suit is, fit will make or break your outfit as a gentleman. The right fit is neither loose nor tight; therefore, it also plays an integral role in ensuring comfortability. When it comes to trousers, opt for a slim, tailored silhouette that skims the tops of your shoes without pooling at the ankles.

 3.     Attention to Detail

They say the devil is in the details, so don't get them wrong. When discussing more information, we're discussing accessorizing and adding a personal touch to the suits you choose for different occasions. Ensuring you have the perfect pick of pocket square, tie, jewelry, and other similar details will make you stand out as a more fashionable gentleman.

men at wedding

Also, feel free to embed your style into your suit for a particular event.

Selecting the perfect suit for a special occasion doesn't have to be daunting. If you follow the principles of the correct dress code, ensure your suit is made of the right material, is perfectly fitted, and is well-accessorized with a touch of personal style, then you are good to go.

Elevate your occasion wear game today by exploring our impeccably tailored suits for every style and occasion. Whether for a wedding, an interview, or a night on the town, we have the perfect suit to help you look and feel your best. If you need any assistance, don't hesitate to contact us.


Written by Emmanuel Isaac Content Writer and Editor at Suitharbor

Emmanuel is a seasoned freelance writer with a passion for fashion. He seamlessly integrates his background in research and data analytics with creative storytelling to create engaging and insightful content. His expertise, style, and unique blend of creativity and analytical rigor make him a go-to writer.

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