Sam and Aldo Q&A: Impress at an event with these formal wear trends

Event fashion

June is just around the corner, which means events galore for some people over the next few months. I haven’t met an event I have turned down yet unless it conflicts with another one. A couple of years ago, it was “The year of the gala,” and I need to bring that back into rotation next year. Aldo is less of an event enthusiast, but still likes to go, and bring his own personal style to it.

Aldo and I decided to do another Q&A with my bestie Carrie asking the questions to cover how to make an impression at an event and still be true to yourself. Our last one covered travel fashion.

Trends for 2017 in formal wear

Women: illusion dresses, two-piece, ball gowns, floral, sequins, cutouts, lace, mermaid, high-low and open-back dresses

Men: custom suits, plaid, brown or olive colored suits and tuxedos in navy or white, double breasted

Overall questions

Question: What should someone do if they’re unsure of what to wear to an event?


Usually, the invitation says what the dress code is, so I suggest sticking to it. If it’s not a wedding, I look online to see if there are photos from previous years and see what the guests were wearing. Instagram, Facebook or if it’s a company, their website are good sources. When in doubt, I will go semi-formal.


I do the same, and if it’s a wedding, I ask other people that are going to see what they’re doing. If I’m close to the bride or groom, I’ll ask them or their parents, or go by what I know of their personality and style preferences.

Question: What’s your overall event style tip


Getting the right fit for jackets, suits, and tuxes are key to looking good. Whether you go for slim fit or regular fit, make sure it fits you correctly. You can buy a cheaper suit off the rack and have it altered to look like it’s custom fit. Even if you’re renting one you need to make sure it fits you well, so for rentals, I suggest finding a store near you to try them on rather than renting one online.


Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Depending on the event and the cost, determine which trends you will incorporate into your look. Some dresses I want to last for many seasons, so I don’t always subscribe to trends. But when I do, they come back in style or have stayed trending over the last few years, like illusion, two-pieces, jumpsuits, and lace.

Black tie

These events require gowns and tuxedos.

Question: What are your top style tips for black tie events?


Black Tie Gowns

Well, this is where I shine since I haven’t met a gown I won’t wear! Long dresses are the requirement and the more elaborate, the better. For this, I shop around to find the right gown. They tend to be more expensive than other dresses so I look for classic styles that I can buy off-season at better prices (like 70% or more off), and I can wear more than once like the teal Roland Mouret dress in the picture. Lulus has gowns at reasonable prices, or you can rent them from a site like I’ve also bought from, and I purchased the Jovani ball gown in the picture from an eBay store. I usually accessorize with a bracelet and large crystal Swarovski earrings (I have them in three colors, too bad they don’t have the black anymore). I don’t like to overthink it. I let my dress do the talking.


Black Tie Men

It’s a straightforward dress code. The standard is a black tuxedo, bow tie, and cummerbund or vest, and shoes like the ones from the Jared Lang shown in the picture. Tuxedo shirts are also different than regular shirts, based on style and buttons like the Boss sets shown. I have rented tuxes the two times I’ve had to wear one. I use Baldwin Formals in New York. Getting your right fit is key to looking good. I prefer the trim or extra trim fit, so I try to work with that as my starting point. This year navy and white are trending for tuxes so that helps relax the code a little. Topman started selling tuxes in the latest trends.

Black tie optional / Formal

For men a dark suit and tie or a tuxedo, and for women, a long dress or jumpsuit.

Question: What are your top style tips for formal events?


Formal Men

I’m not really comfortable in tuxes, so I go with a navy or grey suit and tie, or I’ll wear a bowtie with the suit just to be a little different, like shown in the picture. Since I like my suits trim or extra trim fit, I prefer British designers like Ted Baker or Topman, but it all comes down to personal taste and what works for you. Double breasted suits and plaid are in now. Nordstrom has an excellent guide for how to pick the right fit and style for suits and tuxes. Topman has good prices for suits, especially when they have sales. I recently bought the Ted Baker plaid suit similar to this Topman one .


Formal Gowns

I wear pretty much the same thing as I would for black tie because I love gowns! But this is where you don’t have to go as elaborate. If you’re not into long dresses, or you love showing your legs, you can opt for a long one with a slit, like my blue BCBGMaxazria gown above, or go with an elaborate midi-length dress, like the Halston Heritage one.

Semi-formal or cocktail event

For women cocktail dresses and men, a suit, and tie

Question: What are your top style tips for a semi-formal event?


Cocktail Dresses

I prefer long over short so I tend to stick to jumpsuits or casual long dresses, but have forced myself to wear short dresses on a few occasions! I’m seriously surprisingly lazy with getting ready, so I will just wear my Swarovski earrings and maybe a bracelet or a statement watch.


I pretty much wear the same thing I wear for formal except I won’t wear a tie. Like Sam, I also wear a statement watch, which are big this year. I wear one with everything.

Outdoor or beach

Light colored suits or jacket and pants for men, and summer dresses for women.

Question: What are your top style tips for an outdoor or beach event?


Outdoor or beach look

Easy and fun is the way I go. Maxi dresses are more my style, but short summer dresses and two piece outfits work really well here. So do jumpsuits without embellishment. Flats or wedges are the best options here. It’s not like I haven’t worn heels before to an outdoor wedding, but I did end up kind of ruining the heels, so it’s not worth it to me. As someone with legs thinner than she wants, I can’t tell you how much I love the lace up trend; it helps make my legs look slightly bigger! In our last Q&A, I mentioned my love for ballet flats, and Topshop kindly granted me with a combination lace-up ballet flat.


outdoor beach for men

We finally hit my preference for an event that has a dress code! I wear a shirt and pants, or if it’s not a wedding a jacket and jeans. I mentioned in our last Q&A that I wear slim fit Calvin Klein Infinite shirts because they don’t wrinkle. I recently bought my first light colored suit from Club Monaco, so I will see how much use I get out of it. I usually stick to driving shoes like the ones from Ugg, or slipons.

Casual / Informal

You can dress however you like but stay away from anything with holes.

Question: What are your top style tips for casual events?



You can allow your personal style to show through. I am most comfortable in casual clothes like jeans and sweaters or t-shirts. I usually wear a good pair of jeans with one of those or a Calvin Klein Infinite shirt, and either driving shoes or sneakers depending on the location.


I pretty much dress the same as I would for an outdoor event but with smaller earrings and more casual hair. I usually just keep my hair straight.

Final words

Question: Do you have any last tips?


My tip is always to be comfortable; you’ll look better overall and feel more confident. Stick to trends that you genuinely like, instead of wearing them because they’re trends. I didn’t buy any of the outfits I showed in this post this year. Some of them are four or five years old and are trending again.


I agree with Sam about being comfortable. It’s hard when you don’t like to wear certain things, like me and a tux, but even if you have to go black tie, try to let your personal style shine through. I do it with a slim fit tux, a bowtie with a color, and a statement watch.



  1. Great tips from both of you. I agree that the fit of a suit makes a big difference. It doesn’t matter the cost, as long as it fits really well

  2. Excellent post! Great tips from both of you! Sam your gowns and dresses are amazing! I need to follow your tips. I have also ruined heels at an outdoor wedding but haven’t learned my lesson yet 🙂

  3. Awesome post!! Love your gowns. I never thought of a statement watch for an event for a woman. I like it! Something new I can incorporate 😊👌

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate it! I love wearing a statement watch for an event instead of a bracelet sometimes. It really stands out. Well maybe not as much this season since its trending but I love it 🙂

    1. Thanks a lot. We appreciate it. The suit tip is one my father taught me when I was in high school and it always stuck. It makes a big difference. We will, thanks for your comment!

  4. Excellent post. I like the idea of wearing a bow tie with a suit to change it up a bit. I haven’t worn a bow tie. How do you find wearing them vs a tie?

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