Style Suggestion: What to Wear on New Year’s Eve

Editor’s note: For more Style Suggestions covering situations formal to casual, head here.

"How much do you know about fear?" Bond: "All there is." Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year's Eve.

“How much do you know about fear?” Bond: “All there is.” Now THAT is style worth emulating for New Year’s Eve.

While most of us can only hope to be as sharply dressed as Mr. Bond up there (and headed somewhere as debonair as a floating casino), it can still pay off to dress to impress on New Year’s Eve — even if you aren’t swilling martinis or fighting henchmen. The outfit below plays off the tailored-but-tieless look that’s still popping up lots of different places, so it’s more dressed-down than Bond but definitely geared toward the formal end of the spectrum even without the tie. But if your night shakes out more casually (or formally, for that matter), know that the same basic pieces — tailored trousers, a crisp shirt and slick boots — can work just about anywhere. With that in mind, let’s get set to close out the year in style and look forward to a sharp 2016.
Florsheim

The Suit: Combatant Gentleman Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit — $220 OR Combatant Gentleman Blue Slim Fit Suit — $160

One brand, two options for sharp style -- and two great prices.

One brand, two options for sharp style — and two great prices.

Each of the above two options strikes a slightly different tone — the heightened color of the Deep Blue Slim Fit Suit is a vibe that’s all movie star-red carpet, a la Ryan Gosling.  Think of it as a positive style swerve if you have the basics covered. But if you’re not willing to spring for a suit in that shade or feel like saving some money (more for champagne, amirite??), a navy blue suit never fails — whether you go with the reliable Combatant Gentleman option here or with one you already own. If the jacket is too formal, the trousers could even be worn on their own with a great leather jacket or a sharp overcoat and V-neck sweater.

The Shirt: Standard Shirt White Dress Shirt — $59

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

Your pick of collar choices for classic style.

The Standard Shirt has been profiled on this blog before and also featured prominently in a Holiday Party Style Suggestion, and for good reason. It’s lightweight, breathable and quite crisp for the price. Plus, a white shirt is a great style play in this case because it can either ground that electric blue suit impressively, or keep more in line with the classic style of a crisp navy suit — particularly sans tie. And the Standard Shirt features a tailored cut that would look more than fine when worn without a traditional suit jacket, if needed. On the other hand, a slim knit tie in a simple color — black, a la everyone’s favorite secret agent — would more than up the formality of the look.

The Pocket Square: J. Crew Factory Linen Pocket Square — $12

Nothing fancy -- but nothing too trendy -- about a timeless white pocket square.

Nothing fancy — but nothing too trendy — about a timeless white pocket square.

When you go with crisp style essentials like a classic white shirt and a blue suit, sometimes there’s no need to go wild with a pocket square. J. Crew Factory’s linen pocket square gets the job done more than suitably for the price. Beyond New Year’s Eve as well, a white pocket square (even in linen) is going to add a nice finishing touch to many a tailored ensemble — so grab one now before it’s too late!

The Boots: Thursday Boot Company Black Duke Chelsea Boot — $199

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

Channeling some 60s style with a tailored suit and Chelsea boots.

While Bond himself mainly favors crisp black captoes or dress boots as of late, we’ll forgo the laces with these Chelsea boots in keeping with the slick and sharp vibe of the outfit. Thursday Boot Company makes solid suede chukkas and dependable captoe boots, so it follows that the Duke Chelsea Boot  should be pretty comfortable for the price — plus, the studded rubber outsole should add nice traction on slick streets. Note that if needed in a pinch, H&M also offers a very budget-friendly Chelsea boot option.

The Belt: Will Leather Goods Marlow Belt — $75

Trim and refined -- just like the tailored ensemble.

Trim and refined — just like the tailored ensemble.

While it might seem ludicrous at first to pay more for a belt than for a shirt, it’s a pickup that can pay big, big dividends. The Marlow Belt is a refined dress belt that keeps things super sleek thanks to the dark buckle and slim width, plus the dark black suede. For those who say black and blue can’t be worn together … well, we all know who’s bucked that theory time and again. It’s a combo that’s going to look  super crisp in this instance, especially as it grounds the heightened blue suit or fits in nicely with a navy suit. You could also go with a cheaper black leather dress belt from EXPRESS if needed.

The Watch: Daniel Wellington 40mm Classic Sheffield in Rose Gold — $229

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The rose gold case and markings set this watch off nicely.

The importance of timeless accessories — like a great belt or solid shoes — is no more important than when you’re going with an outfit that’s more minimal. The top-to-bottom look is pretty sleek in this case sans tie and traditional lace-up dress shoes, so a refined watch from Daniel Wellington will look right at home. While  the typical play might be to reach for a watch with a silver case here, the rose gold case color should pop nicely against the blue suit and black belt + shoes — or even dark denim and a simple cashmere sweater.

The Socks: American Trench Dress Rib Socks in Cloud Grey – $14.50

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

These simple grey dress socks are back again.

Last but not least, the ever-important finishing touch. Recognize these dress socks from American Trench? They’ve appeared in this blog as part of a Holiday Party Style Suggestion (among others), and that underscores their wearability and quality. Heck, you might not think about them too much once they’re on, but the dialed-in grey color and sleek  look (no crazy patterns) makes a difference when taken in context with the rest of this outfit. That’s more than worth their price upfront.

As we’ve talked about before, maybe things won’t get overly fancy for you on New Year’s Eve. However, it pays to be prepared and to get some style inspiration heading into a big night, and the new year. And if wanting to look sharper in everyday situations is a style goal for yourself, as it is for yours truly, there’s no better time to start than the present. Because, simply put, we can’t all live twice.
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Style Suggestion: The Summer Wedding

Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew.  Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

Trying to keep cool and stay stylish. Unconstructed navy blazer by J. Crew. Vintage red floral pocket square by General Knot. White dress shirt by Combat Gent. Chambray trousers by American Apparel. Brown leather loafers by Bass. Watch by Sturhling. Glasses by Warby Parker.

With the passing of Memorial Day weekend and a quick couple weeks into June, summer wedding season is here in earnest. If you haven’t had the pleasure of attending a summer wedding yet, I would bet you probably have one in the near future. Picking up something sharp, stylish and fitting for the occasion on a budget is a tricky balance to strike. I had the chance to put my packing skills to the test and dress well at the  same time (or try to do so) as I headed to a family wedding in Charleston, South Carolina this weekend (home of my friends at Brothers and Craft, as it were). The evening was lovely  — a wedding and an evening on the water with family is always incredibly special. I myself tried to strike a balance between keeping cool and staying stylish. Ditching the tie and opting for a lightweight blazer and some tailored (but not overly slim) trousers in a super-breathable fabric helped me at least attempt to do that — that’s a tall task when it’s 90-plus degrees out. Some suggestions to help you handle any wedding situation in the months ahead follow below! (Editor’s note: Be sure to check out the bottom of the post for a special discount offer on dressy summer wedding gear from Ernest Alexander for TSG readers!).

The Suit: J. Crew Factory Voyager Suit — $376

A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.

A versatile shade of grey with fabric that can stand up to just about anything.

Now, not every wedding will necessarily require or call for a suit (see the above photo as proof). But if you do have to pick up a suit for the occasion, it’s a wise bet to grab something in a versatile color (like the medium grey option seen here) or the dark navy pairing available through the J. Crew Factory site — that way, the suit can be worn year-round. The fact that this fabric is crease-resistant means that you could even wear it while traveling. If only a blazer need be worn at the wedding in question, picking up something in a vibrant color on the cheap (like this Combat Gent Travel Jacket) would be the way to go (pair it with some crisp khaki chinos for style outside the summer, too). And even if things get as laidback as a polo and chinos (for a beach wedding, perhaps), the suit trousers or jacket could act as separates.

Ben Sherman US

The Dress Shirt: Combat Gent Endurance Shirt — $35

A white shirt that performs much like its name would  imply.

A white shirt that performs much like its name would imply.

Take it from someone who test-drove this shirt in temperatures pushing 100 degrees — when it’s hot out, you want something that’ll wick away sweat and still look crisp. Even if the wedding is indoors, a fabric like this will help you out big-time when moving around outside.The collar will stand up amply without a tie if the wedding leans more casual. And similar to the rest of the brand’s offerings,  it’s exceptionally affordable and performs well for the price — a very agreeable one, at that. You could also opt for a similarly polished shirt from Mizzen + Main, who’s picking up steam as of late with performance-minded dress shirts (among other offerings).

The Shoes: JC Penney Logan Wingtip — $49.99

These shoes also made an appearance in last year's budget style series, and for good reason.

These shoes also made an appearance in last year’s budget style series, and for good reason.

For those on an extreme budget (and if you’re having to buy the suit in one go as well), picking up a dirt cheap pair of surprisingly reliable wingtips  is one way to stand out from the crowd of black shoes likely to be there while also saving a good amount of money (loafers could also accomplish this in truly hot weather). Wingtips are the type of shoe that can work with a full suit and tie or a blazer and chinos — plus nearly any other outfit you can think of throughout the year. While this pair might not be exceptionally durable, they should more than do the job in a pinch (as would some simple suede Derbys from a brand like H&M). Don’t forget about brands like Florsheim, who makes one heck of a sharp dress chukka if you want to switch up your style even further.

The Accessories: The Tie Bar White Pocket Square and Navy Knit Tie — $35

Two items that can work anywhere, anytime -- especially in the summer.

Two items that can work anywhere, anytime — especially in the summer.

Keeping the focus on buying for versatility and affordability, The Tie Bar is still one of the best bets for your money out there as far as accessories go. Yes, those prices have increased — but when you consider the fact that some retailers sell pocket squares on their own for more than the price of the ever-versatile navy knit and white cotton combo seen here, it doesn’t seem so bad. Both those pieces will stand on their own, especially with the medium-grey suit seen above, as well as with a navy option (don’t forget about a summertime staple, the khaki suit). As far as other accessories go, this depends on how much you’re willing to push the boundaries of style — but you could pair wingtips or loafers with no-show socks and a rolled cuff for a cooler breeze (particularly appropriate with loafers), or opt for a punchier patterned pair.

The Rest: J. Crew Braided Leather Belt — $49.50 + Timex Easy Reader Brown Leather Watch — $38.96

Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months -- and beyond.

Two more casual items that would absolutely work in the summer months — and beyond.

With the shade of shoes shown above, it’ll be a little trickier to match both your shoe and belt leathers. But because summer weddings overall do tend to be more casual, a braided leather belt fits right in (H&M is among retailers stocking cheaper options, by the way). The belt’s more expensive than the watch, yes, but this timepiece makes up for it with a textured brown leather strap that considerably dresses up the plainer dial while also meshing nicely with the color of the belt and the shoes. It’s the type of leather that would also work with brown leather loafers.

So that closes the books on this summer wedding style suggestion — making use of items you already own, like a trusty navy blazer or some sturdy chinos can help offset the need to buy all-new gear for a summer wedding. And reaching for affordable style staples makes a lot of sense too and can help ease your wallet through the process. Feel free to let me know what you’ll be packing and wearing at any upcoming summer weddings!

And for those of you who do need some stylish garb for the summer, check out the exclusive promo opportunity below!

$10 Off a purchase of $100 or more; Free Shipping on orders over $200 at Ernest Alexander Enter promo code: STYLEGUIDE10 at checkout. Valid 06-12-2015 through 07-31-2015