November 19, 2019

Men’s Cocktail Dress

Men’s Cocktail Dress: What It Means & How To Dress For It 

Cocktail Party Guy Field

Tis the season!

Cocktail? Sure! Cocktail dress? Umm…? Err…?

Dress codes are predominately pretty clean cut, and thankfully they are what they say they are – ‘codes’. With that in mind they come with a clear steer as to what is expected. White tie, black tie, morning dress – whatever the request on your invitation, you will know roughly what you need to reach for. “But not so rigidly that they restrict someone’s ability to express their individual style”, says Oliver Spencer, Cutter at Savile Row Tailor, Anderson and Sheppard. Steve Mitchell, founder of the men’s style blog,, agrees. He says, “People understand dress codes, but they still allow for personal style and flair.”

Smart Casual is one that can mean a multitude of things and can lead to the greatest amount of confusion. Unlike any other dress code, this code can be a little ambiguous and harder to define – it’s like riding a bike without stabilisers.

So to the matter in hand. Second to the confusion that ‘Smart casual’ can deliver, let’s look at Cocktail dress. Drink? Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin.


How and why did this all start?

Within certain corners of society, the 1920s and 1930s saw a new addition to the daily routine. Identified was a time in the day where a newly defined dress code was to establish itself for the period before the formality of evening wear was to take hold – essentially bridging the gap between day and eveningwear.

As a prelude to dinner, pre-dinner cocktails and aperitifs were and are served to stimulate the palette in preparation for the dinner to follow.

These days, and maintaining a traditional viewpoint, cocktail parties are held between the hours of 6.30-8.30pm – but can be held before lunch. Increasingly, they can last a whole evening – sometimes lasting until about 9pm before people either go out or home for dinner.

Cocktails today

What Cocktail Attire Means Today

The cocktail party might be to celebrate a birthday, an engagement, or simply ‘just because’. Note that the level of formality required can be largely determined by the invitation. If you receive a smart invitation way in advance of a date and the cocktail party is being hosted at a lovely venue, you can get a pretty clear idea that you’re in for a well-planned and smart cocktail party.

As with any invitation, if you are in any doubt of how formal to be, you can do two things:

  • Dress smarter so you can loosen up – if you need to. You can never go the other way and turn up to a party and put a tie on. Remember that.
  • If you’re in doubt, ask. Contact the host and enquire how formal the occasion is likely to be. Don’t be embarrassed about doing that. Greater embarrassment lies in getting your clothes wrong, than just doing your homework and asking.

Often emerges the question: Have the rules changed or relaxed? The truth is the rules of any dress code are still very much alive and kicking. The question is: should the rules be relaxed, and indeed why does modernisation of the rules have to equate to the relaxing of them? Perhaps that’s for all of us to debate?


So what is Cocktail dress?

For gents a safe place to go is a suit. Importantly though, what we don’t want is to turn up in a heavy pinstripe that we’ve clearly been wearing for the last 12 hours of our working day. The ‘fresh from the office look’ is not what we’re after! Remember that this dress code is to bridge the gap between day and evening. So if you are to wear a suit, wear a navy or mid grey – something with a bit of life in it, that isn’t dreary and dull, but is close to a plain colour. Why? Because that way if you keep the suit plain it will look fresh, smart and yet give you options with your shirt and tie combo.

Mitchell concludes, “The world is becoming more casual – but a cocktail party? That’s a reason to dress up!”

Sure, sometimes life doesn’t allow us to perform a change of clothes from day to evening, but if there is opportunity to change into something that is fresh and crisp – take it.

Change your shirt and tie at the very least. You can spot a crisp shirt at a thousand paces, and in any case, going to a cocktail party fresh faced and bushy tailed will always make you feel better and give you more confidence when circulating with friends and new acquaintances.

Does it always need to be a suit? Again, your steer is the format of the invitation, and for some occasions you might think it ok to plumb for separates. Perhaps during the summer months you might think chinos and a blazer jacket.


Style Tips and Key Pieces


Let’s think about this. Firstly the cloth. Having a plain colour in a suit doesn’t mean it has to be boring. If a blue is your preference, think about picking out your suit that is a little ‘inkier’. It will be brighter and have more life to it than a flat dark navy. Incidentally, stay away from black. Think about it, you’re at a function – who else will be wearing black? Unless you’re a fan of being asked where the cloakroom is or whether you can help with some more champagne, avoid the chances of being mistaken for staff and wear some colour.

Within a woollen suit – texture can add some interest, so see that as an opportunity to explore without having to wear heavy stripes or checks. You might like to think about an inky blue herringbones suit. If grey is your preference avoid your dark charcoal suit and go for a slightly lighter mid grey. In terms of texture the ‘pic n pic’ / ‘salt n pepper’ / ‘shark skin’ (pending the term you’re familiar with) will offer more depth than a flat grey.

Think about weight. As with any suit for any occasion, the one you are going to wear needs to be fit for purpose. In other words, if the party is destined for a small function room you won’t want to be in a heavy suit. You’ll swelter! Indeed, consider a nice navy linen suit during the summer months. Smart, and will keep you cool. Yes it will wrinkle, but that’s the look.

Head towards a two button single-breasted suit jacket. A three-button jacket often hides the potential of a shirt and tie as it will button higher and further cover what lies beneath. Many daytime suits often come with a ‘notch’ lapel (this is a lapel which has a triangle cut near to your collarbone). For something a little dressier, perhaps go for the suit with a ‘peak’ lapel. This is more often found on evening attire, but can add a new dimension to a standard suit – perfect for this occasion.



In the words of Michael Jackson, “Make that change!” Make sure you’re going to that Cocktail party in a fresh, clean and crisp shirt. The tired dog-eared collar look is not great and you won’t do yourself any favours.

Pick a shirt that has either a semi cutaway or cutaway collar. What must be avoided is the button down. It’s too casual, especially being defined as appropriate for more of a sporting occasion – notably with its roots being from the sport of Polo.

Keeping your suit plan you have options with the shirt. Having said that, keeping to block colours does generate a more ‘eveningy’ look. For example you might choice a solid navy or grey suit with a crisp white shirt and navy tie. Classic.

Spencer stipulates, “My ‘must-haves’ for a cocktail party are a crisp white shirt, pocket square and highly polished shoes.”

Alternative to a classic white, try a solid pale blue shirt or blue and white stripe. Think about giving pink a miss though. A great colour during the day, but at a busy Cocktail party, if you get warm and flush it will only accentuate your colour.

While button cuff might be easy, double cuff is dressier and is perfect for showing off those cufflinks that deserve an outing at a Cocktail party!



‘No brown in town’? A phrase that is a bit dated now I think. Traditionally brown shoes are reserved for the country – being the place where green and browns thrive. But when we are adopting a more ‘preppy’ look on occasion, then chinos belong with a pair of brown. Perhaps a nice pair of brown brogues for example.

With a suit, a pair of black oxfords has to be the preference. Ensure they’re clean, and that goes for at any time of day or party. Shoes, for some, are forgotten about. Looking immaculate above your feet is all very well, but if your shoes are off the mark – nothing above the ankles matters! Even if you arrive at the cocktail party to enter a sea of people, never underestimate the human desire to check another person’s shoes out. We are always quick to judge and categorise another person on what they have on their feet.



Firstly, wear one. We live in an increasingly casual-hungry society so it is nice to find an excuse to wear one. During the day, you might choose something that is more muted, but cometh the Cocktail party, cometh the opportunity to show a bit more flair and daringness. This could mean something with a heavier design – perhaps heavy spot, stripe or modern design. Floral is also nice, especially in the summer months.

In terms of the rules: If you have a striped tie, ensure it is a different size stripe to a striped shirt you might choose to wear. To really fanfare your tie, a plain shirt will enhance its impact.




Men don’t get a huge amount of opportunity to accessorise at the best of times, but in what we have, see them as important additions. For the shirt, choose some smart cufflinks. As has been established, more often than not, Cocktail parties are held in the early evening, and that said it allows us to show our party wear – more so than works in the day. So cufflinks can certainly be gold, silver even crystal if you dare.


The expression, ‘One to show, one to blow’ is one to remember. One being in your jacket breast pocket, and the other in your trouser pocket. Another way of looking at it is, ‘One for him’ (the one in your trouser pocket), and ‘one for her’ (in your breast pocket, should you stumble across a damsel in distress!). Either way, the one in your pocket should be clean, so if you’re heading out with a sniffle to a function, do a swap for a fresh one.

For the one in your breast pocket, white is safe, or if you prefer some colour, make it complement the colour of your tie, not 100% match it. In terms of how to display it – popular is ‘the flat’ which effectively sits parallel to the lip of the pocket. Or you might prefer ‘the puff’ which will give it more punch!


Rule number one: Ensure your belt is the same colour and material as your shoes. Leather for leather, suede for suede. A belt doesn’t need to shout; so big buckles are more appropriate with jeans and at a more casual party.


Permission granted to wear your best watch. That may already be on your wrist during the day, but if it isn’t, the watch is the perfect accessory to showcase your flair.


Always carry a nice pen. You never know when you might need to pull it out to write something down in the company of others. A gent with a good pen is meticulous on detail.


So in conclusion…


Do take you lead from the invitation

Do dress smarter rather than more casual if you are in doubt

Do change from what you have been wearing during the day

Do view your accessories as an opportunity to show some flair and personal style

Do make sure your shoes are as smart as your outfit


Don’t wear a dinner suit to a cocktail party you will be over dressed if you do.

Don’t forget about your personal hygiene – brush your teeth and freshen up with a dab of aftershave behind your ears!

Don’t wear a heavy pinstripe suit

Don’t forget to polish your shoes before attending

Don’t forget your outerwear. People will judge you not only on your dress but the coat you arrive in, so make sure it matches up on the style stakes

May 18, 2018

Morning Dress

If you have just got engaged, firstly congratulations, secondly your new wife-to-be may already be in wedding planning mode so with this in mind if you are unclear on what wedding attire to wear on your wedding day here’s a guide to the perfect dress code for the Groom… And yes, it’s worth thinking about it now.

If you are in the forces then the chances are your preference lies with your regiments dress. Likewise, if you are from Scottish decent then Highland wear might be on the menu. But for the rest of us, there is the following to think about:



The name originated from the practice of gentlemen in the nineteenth century riding a horse in the morning with a cutaway front single-breasted morning coat. This has since become the traditional attire for a traditional wedding day. It is also a necessity that morning dress is worn to certain equestrian events such as Royal Ascot and the Derby. You will also find in as school uniform at Eton College.

While tradition might indicate that this should only be worn in the morning this isn’t so. It is perfectly acceptable to dress up until around 5pm, but after that the scenario should be different.

To hire or to buy?

If the wedding dress code is morning suit and you are thinking shall I hire or buy, think about buying. If you have arrived at the age where wedding days become part of the furniture you only need a couple of dates in the diary to justify the purchase.

The morning coat

The morning coat will always be single breasted and be fastened with a single button at the front. It should have a peak lapel, like a dinner jacket, and have tails that should sit just at the back of the knee. If you are buying ready to wear make sure the sleeve length is showing 1/4 inch of cuff for those photos to come. It is the cheapest of all alterations and worth doing. If bespoke is an option, you will do well with choosing a fine herringbone black worsted cloth which is about 10/11oz in weight. Your tailor will know the one from the cloth supplier ‘Smiths Woollens’ as being one of the best. Not too light but not too heavy that it causes any overheating!

Morning Coats


The waist coat

The waist coat for this form of dress can be single or double breasted. Double breast with its peak label is always a winner. So smart and works as a favourable contrast to the single breasted morning coat. The main colours to go for are light greys, buff (a pale yellow) or a duck egg blue. All very classic and smart.



The trousers

Morning trousers are grey and black striped, and to avoid any shirt poking out between your waist coat and your trouser waist, are better served up as being cut for braces (i.e. they are fishtail cut and go up at the back). In fact, here is a general note for wearing a waist coat in general: Make sure that your trousers sit high enough so as to avoid seeing any shirt in between. It is a cardinal sin if you get this wrong – whatever dress code you are wearing.

Morning Trousers


Pick a Pic and Pic?

The alternative to the three separates is to have all one colour, and that colour is grey. It’s known as Pic and Pic or shark skin.




These days if you are not in the immediate wedding party or the invite don’t state it, a “lounge suit” is a good option.  To clarify – the lounge suit is a classic suit. It could be a work suit, one in navy or grey, but if you’re the proud owner of suits that have pin stripes the width of a train track, it’s best to leave those for those business meetings when you want to portray a bit of oomph! During the summer months think “light” – both in terms of fabric and colours. Go for a light weight wool suit, or perhaps a linen or cotton, if you’re in the right climate. If your suit is navy, team it up with pastel pinks or blues or the rock solid white shirt. It’s a wedding, so keep it muted, light and fresh. Be appropriate.


You can make any look appear to be more expensive than it is by wearing good accessories well. A quality shirt, tie and pocket square will make all the difference. Top hats are worn on occasion at a wedding with morning suits but these days it is a rarity.

By James Field

October 20, 2017

Olympic Heavy Weight Joe Joyce

We were delighted to see British heavyweight Joy Joyce at the studio recently fitting him out in a Guy Field bespoke shirt.

Joe Joyce wearing a Guy Field Bespoke Thomas Mason Poplin Shirt

We went with a classic 2 ply superfine poplin from Thomas Mason with a clean look so opted for a covered placket (hidden buttons.)

Joe Joyce Guy Field London

Earlier in the year Joe was Heavy Weight Champion boxer Anthony Joshua's sparring partner in preparation for the thrilling bout against Wladimir Klitschko. Joe is having his professional fighting debut on Friday 20th October against Ian Lewsion.


Guy Field, October 2017






June 12, 2017

Guy Field at London Fashion Week Mens

This June, London Fashion Week Mens celebrated its 5th Anniversary showcasing the best of British creative and commerical menswear to the world. Guy Field was honoured to be invited by the British Fashion Council to showcase within Designer Showrooms at 180 The Strand.
London Fashion Week Mens Guy Field
Our collection of Guy Field shirts on show for Spring/Summer 2018 was a capsule collection of refreshing classic designs of fine linen, soft oxfords and poplins sourced from Canclini and Thomas Mason.
St James Fashion Show on Jermyn Street.
Fashion buyers and Journalists descended on London from around the world to see the best of British menswear on offer.
Runway action at Store Studios, 180 The Strand, June 2017.
February 08, 2017

Tweed at Guy Field

According to legend the word 'tweed' was the result of a mis type when a London cloth merchant misspelling the Scotish word Tweel as Tweed. More likely the word is derived from the Scottish word tweeled (meaning twilled.)

The Tweed refers to a variety of wool fabrics woven in a rough, multicoloured twill structure making a extremely robust doth, perfect for the rough and tumble of country persuits.

Tweed Cloth

Today if been adopted as a sartorial cloth bridge between the classic and contemporary tailoring.


Here we've create a soft tailored Guy Field sports jacket in a 13oz tweed from Dugdale Brothers in a blue herringbone, pared with indigo blue jeans and brown leather lace ups perfect for the lace ups.


December 13, 2016

Brushed Cotton this Winter

Our brushed cotton shirts are made in Italy from cotton brushed flannel with a handle so soft it has the feel of cashmere making for a wonderful shirt to wear on a winters day.

Guy Field Brushed Cotton Shirt

All Guy Field shirts are hand cut and sewn with superfine single stitch seams then finished with  mother of pearl buttons.



Grey Guy Field Brushed Cotton Shirt

Shop Look

We sourced the fabric for these shirts from the renowned mill of Canclini who have been weaving cloth with a wonderful handle since 1925.

Blue Brushed Cotton Shirt

Guy Field casual shirts are finished with a soft collar for a relaxed informal look.

Shop Look








October 17, 2016

A short history of the Tab Collar - Guy Field

The tab collar excels if you want to show off your tie knot, it is designed to be worn with a tie but doesn't have the flexibility of being able to wear it open necked so not everyones cup of tea.

On Sundays' results show Dermot O'Leary wore a Guy Field Tab Collar in a light grey baby airtex cotton. Dermot O'Leary wearing Guy Field

The Prince of Wales sported the style back in the 1920s being it to public attention where it remained popular until falling from favour by the 1940's

Guy Field Tab Shirt History

More recently there has been a renewed interest in the style, spurred on by the likes of Daniel Craig as James Bond choosing to wear them.

Guy Field talks tab collar shirt

If you like your tailoring a tab collar would make a good addition to the shirt collection and great to wear to any event that requires a tie.

October 09, 2016

Guy Field at X Factor live shows

Dermot O'leary kicked off the live shows in style wearing a Guy Field shirt with a tab collar to give his Drakes tie a bit of a pinch.
Dermot O'leary wearing a Guy Field Tab Collar Shirt
Handcut shirt made with a pale blue poplin Thomas Mason cotton, finished with mother of pearl buttons, placket front.
Guy Field tab collar for Dermot O'leary
October 06, 2016

Thomas Mason Fabrics

Like with good cooking one starts buy sourcing the finest ingredients and the same is with Shirt making. Thomas Mason is considered one of the finest mills in the world thanks why we use its fabrics for a Guy Field Shirt. 

Guy Field Thomas Mason ShirtsFrom Cotton cultivated on the banks of the river Nile, then woven in Italy the quality of Thomas Mason fabrics allows the handle of the cloth to actually improve with age.
Guy Field Oxford Cotton Thomas Mason Shirts
September 09, 2016

The Differences between Bespoke and Made to Measure Shirts.

These days the term of Made to Measure and Bespoke shirts can be muddled but in the true sense of the word there are differences.

Bespoke Shirts handcut patten by Guy Field London

Bespoke Shirtmaking.

With Bespoke shirts a paper pattern is drafted and created which is unique to the wearer. This goes beyond just measurements and allows the pattern makers eye to factor in the slight nuances of the clients posture to create a superior fit.

The process at Guy Field is to create a test shirt made in a white poplin which is fitted on the client and from the subsequent conversation on fit, the the paper patten is tweaked and the final order of shirts is created.Bespoke Shirtmaking London

Made to Measure Shirtmaking.

With Made to Measure shirts measurements are taken from the client and sent to a factory where the measurements are imputed usually on a computer and an existing block is adapted to best fit the wearer which is then drafted out by a machine and tailored into the finished shirt. Other than correcting the sleeve or waist, there is little that can be changed from the finished shirt when the client is fitted.

Clients unique paper pattern created for a bespoke shirtChoice

With Bespoke shirting the choice of fabrics is endless as fabric is sourced directly from the mills. At Guy Field we offer close to 3000 fabrics from Thomas Mason and Canclini to name a few.

Made to Measure usually offers a collection in the 100s from fabrics which is complied by the factory that offers the service.

Both approaches works for customer tailoring in London, at Guy Field we concentrate on handcrafted bespoke shirtmaking in out workshop in Italy to produce the best Bespoke shirts in London.

Thomas Mason cotton shirt by Guy Field

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