Style Tips For the New Way of Dressing Formal

The colour purple was the plum pick when it came to tuxedos at Sunday night’s Critics’ Choice Awards held in Santa Monica.

Actors from seasoned pros like John Travolta to young up and comers like Donald Glover opted for the rich luxurious burgundy shade for their red carpet appearance at the prestigious award show. And these proud peacocks were a welcome sight amongst the penguins – those that adhere to the traditional black and white tuxedos.

Red carpet fashions tend to be dominated by the women but it is starting to appear that men are coming out of the shadows. It’s difficult for guys to make a fashion statement at these award shows which usually have a black-tie mandate. And there is only so much one can do to the notoriously restrained classic tuxedo look to make it stand out.

Interestingly, most of the guys who opted to go rogue in bordeaux, were in the cast of the television drama, The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, which was up for several awards. The hit series starred Cuba Gooding Jr as OJ Simpson, John Travolta as defence lawyer Robert Shapiro and Sterling K. Brown as Christopher Darden and perhaps the actors took their sartorial cues from executive producer Ryan Murphy. Known for his hit shows Glee and American Horror Story, Murphy tends to bypass the classic black and white tuxedo looks at award shows and generally put his own twist on the traditional menswear outfit. For the Critics’ Choice Awards, he went for a jewel-coloured tux jacket paired with black shirt and bow tie (as seen in main photo).

Since this show marks the first out of the gate for Awards season – the Golden Globes are up next in January – perhaps more men will take to breaking with tradition and putting their own style stamp on the tux look.

Whether you’re heading to a swanky New Year’s Eve party or a formal event in the coming new year, here are a few style tips on redressing the tux look.

  • SAY NO TO THE BOW. As unthinkable as it sounds, there is an emerging trend among young men for wearing a formal look without the bow tie – as Ryan Gosling did at The Critics’ Choice Awards. The key to pulling this look off successfully is to button the shirt all the way up. The effect will be neat and polished. This works best with shirts that are not classic wing-tipped collar.
  • IT’S A VELVET REVOLUTION. Invest in a quality velvet blazer. It is particularly in vogue this season but, really, it’s a classic and you will get mileage. Just don’t wear a matching velvet pant (that’s strictly for overly confident dandies). Instead pair your velvet jacket with a classic black tuxedo stripe pant. If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a jewel colour. Like purple or emerald green or midnight blue. And the modern man wears velvet during the day time. But while it works for formal occasions at night, during daylight hours you should dress your velvet blazer down – ideally with a pair of jeans.
  • SEVENTIES THROW-BACK. Don’t be afraid to wear a silky shirt under your suiting. Both Ryan Murphy and Donald Glover paid homage to the disco era with a subtle shiny shirt under their suit. But do like Glover and go without a tie or bow tie.
  • DON’T JOIN THE MARCH OF PENGUINS. While a classic black tuxedo look will always look elegant, if you’re in a room where all the men are also wearing the same thing, well, it’s unimaginative. You can still stick to the formal dress code but you could chose a patterned dinner jacket. Feeling ballsy? Well, there are sequinned tuxedo jackets for men today. (You can try an inexpensive one from Zara this season). Today’s menswear truly is willing to be risky, adventurous and boldly coloured. You just have to decide what dosage you’re comfortable with in this brave new world.


Scroll through our slide show for the men who went for the colour purple at The Critics’ Choice Awards. 

SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Actor John Travolta arrives at The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on December 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

John Travolta dons a purple velvet dinner jacket for the 22nd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, held at Barker Hangar on Sunday in Santa Monica, California.

attends the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on December 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.

Actor Donald Glover goes monochrome in a Burberry suit at the 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards.

SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 11: Actor Courtney B. Vance attends the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on December 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

Actor Courtney B. Vance eschewed the formality of a tux altogether and opted for a dark burgundy jacket with gray tie.

attends The 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on December 11, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.

Actor Sterling K. Brown chose to forgo the bow tie and paired his burgundy tuxedo jacket with a black silk tie.