WHAT TO WEAR TO A SCHOOL FORMAL FOR GUYS
Friday, 4th June 2021
By Andrew Vance, Creative
So, your high school formal is coming up. Congratulations, you’ve made it this far. End your year well – it’s all about looking and feeling your best. If you’ve already asked your date, the hard part’s over. Now you just need to figure out what to wear. And, this is where a lot of guys get things wrong. Let POLITIX be your wingman. Together with model and TikTok star Harvey Petito, we’re going to break down some of the do’s and don’ts of school formal fashion. What to wear, what not to wear and how to have the best night ever.
Rented tuxedos, poorly fitted shirts, ties you will definitely regret in 10 years’ time. There are plenty of school formal fashion mistakes out there.
Together with model and TikTok star Harvey Petito, we’re going to break down some of the do’s and don’ts of school formal fashion. What to wear, what not to wear, and how to have the best night ever.
THE ULTIMATE BLACK TIE
Your fail-safe black tie combo:
Black velvet tux, black pants, patent leather shoes and a velvet bow-tie. Chuck on a paisley pocket square for a bit of personality. Job done. Just remember to get your pants hemmed at a tailor beforehand. You’re looking for that slim-line taper, right down the calf. And don’t leave it till the night before: allow about 3-5 days for alterations.SHOP THE LOOK
Shaken Not Stirred
Olive green has become one of the year’s hottest formalwear colours. For this one, you want our new-season olive tux jacket, with black slacks and a black bow-tie. When your jacket looks this good, you don’t want to distract with too many patterns, colours or accessories. Keep things simple with monotone black and white. Definitely a good option if you like your formals shaken, not stirred.
When people think school formal tux, this is what they picture: a black shawl-collar tuxedo jacket, slim-fit white dress shirt, patent black shoes, black pants and a black belt. It’s your classic fail-safe option. This jacket actually has a detachable collar, too, so even after the formal’s been and gone, you can still get some mileage out of it. Because of its classic, simple and elegant look, this outfit relies heavily on a well-tailored fit.
MODERN BLACK-TIE COMBO
If you want to keep it simple but still want to look like you made an effort. We recommend going for: Bordeaux velvet tuxedo jacket, black tailored pants, patent leather loafers and a paisley bowtie. This combination works because it’s all about smart pairing of colours and textures. Let your tuxedo jacket be the pop of colour and keep the rest neutral. Match the texture of your jacket to your bowtie but keep the colour the same as your pants. Finish the look with a paisley pocket square for a bit of personality. Style tip: Remember to get your pants hemmed at a tailor 3-5 days before the big day. Ask for a slim-line taper, finishing at the calf.
New York After Dark
Don’t feel like rocking the bowtie?
Youtube tutorials too hard? We feel you. Luckily, you’ve got some options. This outfit is still formalwear, but we’ve cranked the personality right up. The centrepiece is obviously that combination of olive green tux and black turtleneck sweater. It’s low-key, sophisticated, with a little nod to 1970s New York style. Guaranteed crowd pleaser.SHOP THE LOOK
For a slightly softer look, don’t write-off the light grey suit. This is a good option for spring and summer formals, when black-on-black might look a bit heavy. Start with a three-piece suit: that’s a light grey tailored jacket, with matching vest and pants. Then simply highlight with a dusty pastel shade—pink and grey is a great combination. Find a matching pocket square for the ultimate finishing touch.
AN ALL-BLACK AFFAIR
Dress like the icons with the ultimate black-on-black-on-black formal combo. Sticking to one shade like this can be risky, but here’s how to do it right. Start with a black tux jacket with peak satin lapel. Throw on a black dress shirt and black tailored pants. Then finish things off with a silver tie pin, white pocket square and a matte leather belt. The accessories help break things up.
A 3-PIECE STATEMENT
Big props for any guy who rocks a three piece suit to their school formal. That classic mix of black jacket, black vest and white dress shirt will never go out of style. The trick with this guy is fit: your vest and jacket should be slim and tapered, hugging the torso. Anything boxy is going to look weird. Also, don’t forget a pop of colour to offset the black. An emerald tie and pocket square should fit the bill nicely.
Don’t feel like rocking the bowtie? Most guys will rock up to the formal in a standard navy suit and a tie, so this outfit will immediately stand out from the pack. Mix a sharp grey suit jacket with black turtleneck sweater, black tailored pants and patent leather shoes. Effortless and monochrome, with clean simple lines.
A SOLID MONOCHROME LOOK
If you’re looking for a slim-line silhouette but don’t want to commit to the whole black-tie look, try this elegant combination instead. All you need is a charcoal suit with strong shoulders, a black turtleneck, black lace-ups (Oxfords or Brogues are the way to go) and a patent leather belt. A charcoal palette combined with some expert tailoring, will look good pretty much anywhere. A solid low-key option.SHOP THE LOOK
A look straight out of the red carpet, this outfit is for the bold and stylish. We’re calling it the GQ. For this look, you’ll need a slim-fit khaki suit jacket, matching pants, black turtleneck and some black tassel loafers. This is a modern take on a formal outfit: classic silhouettes with modern colours and details.
Need some high school formal inspo? Shop our collab with model and TikTok star Harvey Petito.
Andrew Vance, Creative
Andrew Vance has worked across the fashion and retail industry with some of Australia's biggest menswear brands. With 15 years' experience in visual communication, styling, retail, merchandising and graphic design, he's also honed his skills in creative direction and content creation. Andrew has built brand narratives across multiple touch-points, including PR, events, digital and social media. He believes in dressing with confidence and putting his best foot forward.