- Getty/Mark Sagliocco
If you need to look dressed up, but can’t (or don’t want to) wear a suit, don’t worry. Dress codes are so relaxed these days, you can get away with a lot more than you could in the past.
While wearing a suit is still the best option to be appropriately dressy at an event that demands it, there are some other options that will get the job done.
One thing you can’t do: wear a tie without any kind of jacket or additional layer. That’s just a no-no. It’s really all about having another layer of shirt to complete your outfit.
These aren’t going to get you into any black-tie events, but in a pinch, they should work for your next cocktail party.
The classic blazer
- Knot Standard
The simplest way to avoid or approximate a suit is to just put a blazer on over your dress shirt. A blazer can be worn with or without a tie, and a jacket will make you look a lot more dressed up than any other item (besides a suit itself). Many blazers have an additional lining and are structured, too, which ups the factor of dressiness by an additional degree.
Add great tailoring and a pocket square for additional class.
A sweater that can approximate a blazer
- Alex Crawford/Articles of Style
An open-button sweater can look almost like a jacket, provided it’s the appropriate type. We recommend a fine knit with a shawl collar, which can most closely approximate the look of a traditional suit jacket.
If you’re feeling underdressed, add a tie that can hide underneath the front buttons of your sweater, just like it would on a jacket. Some manufacturers even sell “sweater blazers,” which are exactly what they sound like: sweaters that are fashioned to look like blazers.
A sweater to wear underneath a blazer
If you’d like to do away with ties altogether, take a note from James Bond and get yourself a roll-neck sweater. There’s just something inherently dressy about a turtleneck with a blazer over it, and if you have the neck to pull it off, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try.