The thought of complying to certain dress codes can be a daunting one, especially when it comes to engagement parties. It's not quite the wedding, but definitely more than the stag night out - so what is one to do? Panic not. Here at The Idle Man we've got you covered with an on trend outfit for any sort of engagement event.
We've all been there. You're happy for your best mate and their better half, but also mainly thinking of the stag night out. And then the thought of considering the dreaded dress code situation kicks in, and suddenly the whole event doesn't seem so appealing. It's definitely a tricky event to dress for, so you're confusion and understandable panic at this point isn't unwarranted.
The engagement party is somewhere in between the stag do and the wedding. Two very different occasions which definitely require different levels of sophistication when it comes to your outfit - although we can't guarantee you'll look anywhere close to sophisticated by the end of the night. So where do you begin with planning what to wear to an engagement party as a guest or to your own?
Your Engagement Party
Okay, so if ever there is a time to look good, it's now. This is ultimately your last chance to impress the soon-to-be in laws and convince them that you're the perfect partner and are more than deserving of their respect. So no pressure there then. This probably isn't a time to experiment with loud printed shirts or questionable suits. It's a case for tried and tested classics for a more formal engagement look look - you probably want to be taken seriously at this point.
A classic grey suit is a great starting point for a well-put together smart outfit. Stick to a tailored fit, without verging on super skinny, as there is nothing that screams 'I don't have my life together' than a ill-fitting suit. Not exactly marriage material. Add a hint of colour to the look with a pastel coloured shirt, or even a subtle pinstripe, as this will add a bit of interest and personality (and hopefully gain some sartorial style points amongst the other side of the family).
A Friends Engagement Party
So the spotlight isn't on you for this one, which means you've got a bit more room to have fun with your outfit choice. That isn't to say that you should go absolutely wild - after all, it is your mate's day, and no one likes an attention seeker, or to be highlighted as 'that embarrassing friend' with their family. Here you can play around with patterns and colours a bit more, but make sure you check the dress code on the invitation, as you don't want to be the only guy in the room not sticking to the black tie rule.
Opt for a darker suit with a subtle check for a nod to the trend aware, and keep it simple paired with a pair of classic black chelsea boots. If you're feeling a bit more daring, try wearing the suit with a contrasting patterned T-shirt for a more contemporary look. But this can easily go wrong, and you run the risk of looking like you got dressed in the dark - so opt for a plain white tee if you're stuck for more casual engagement party outfit.
A Family Engagement Party
A good family engagement party is always a laugh - you're in your comfort zone, there's less chance of making a fool out of yourself in front of friends-of-friends, and you've not got as much pressure on you to sartorially impress - after all, your family have probably seen you looking worse for wear more often than not. But this isn't an excuse to be sloppy with your outfit choice, and you know your Grandma loves it when you scrub up well.
Go for a classic navy suit for a simple, easy to wear look that doesn't require a lot of thought, but in no way lacks in the style stakes. Again, keep it slim fitting for a contemporary look, and pair with a simple white shirt and black loafers - it's a look that will work well with or without the blazer involved, so you can make the look more casual if the occasion requires it. Just keep it on for the inevitable family photos.
Day Engagement Party
While engagement announcement parties are more often than not an evening affair, there are certain couples that like to extend the festivities and make it a day party too. Greedy? Perhaps, but at least your outfit choice can be a little less formal and more laid-back for an altogether easier decision. But let's not forget, this isn't just a trip to your local, so some nod to engagement party attire is necessary.
Swapping suit trousers for shorts is a really easy way to meet the unspoken dress code - you've made a bit of effort, but are also casual enough that you can carry the celebrations on to the pub after without looking to over-dressed (we know what your priorities are). Keep the colours light and fresh for a more summery look that'll be perfect for casual barbecue affairs, or opt for a darker colours if it's more a sit-down dinner situation.
Evening Engagement Party
So most engagement parties (if the groom has anything to do with it) will be in the evening and probably involve a bar. So if you're planning on making it into a bit of a bar crawl, you'll need an outfit that will see you through not only the expected smart dress code of engagement parties, but also of venues. The easiest way to handle this one is to simply smarten up your usual night out get-up.
Here shoes are probably one of the most important aspects of your outfit. Opt for a pair of tassel loafers in black or dark brown, as they are a good middle ground between more formal brogues and smart trainers, which is guaranteed to see you through a variety of bar dress codes. Wear with a blazer and a pair of contrasting tailored trousers for a up-to-date look, or swap for an on-trend wide legged style chino for a more casual approach.
What To Wear To An Engagement Party
- Party outfit ideas can be a difficult one to plan for, as they’re somewhere in between stag do and wedding attire.
- If it’s your engagement party, sticking to a more formal look is important, as making a good impression is the key to keeping your in-laws happy.
- For your friends engagement, you can have a bit more fun with the dress code and experiment with alternative coloured or patterned suits.
- A family engagement party can be more relaxed, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t scrub up. Stick to the tried and tested classic suit for an easy-to-wear look.
- A day engagement party still calls for occasion wear, so don't be fooled by the more casual timing. Swap suit trousers for a pair of smart shorts for a contemporary, fresh approach to smart dressing.
On That Note
The question of what do you wear to an engagement party is definitely a tricky one, and requires striking the right balance between a night out outfit and a wedding outfit - you need to look formal, but you want to save the big guns for your actual wedding outfit. So whether it's a family, friend or your own engagement party, generally sticking to a suit jacket and trouser combination should see you through - just swap a shirt for a tee for a more casual soirée.