You've created the perfect ensemble.
As you stare at yourself in the mirror, wearing a navy multi stripe wool suit, perfect for the night's winter chill, black buckle monk shoes, and blue paisley tie, you can't help but come to one conclusion: you look hot.
No, a more appropriate word would be sexy. Tonight, when you're at the event, there won't be a single head that won't turn your way. The women will give you admiring looks and flirtatious glances. The men will nod their head in appreciation of your style, all the while secretly wishing they had your fashion sense. Yes, it will be a night to remember.
As you walk confidently into the room, sure of what's about to occur, though, you take a look around. To your surprise, you're the best dressed man in the room. In fact, you're the only one wearing such formal attire. Did you overdress? And more importantly, what can you do about it now that you've already arrived?
Overdressed vs. Underdressed: Questions to Ask Yourself
Being overdressed or even underdressed for any event can be extremely stressful. As men, we're often taught to 'fit in.' Because of this, we don't want to dress more formal or casual than anyone else in attendance.
In most cases, being underdressed is a complete 'no-no.' Dressing too casually for an event can make it seem like you don't care about your appearance, don't care about the event, or that you don't care about the individuals being celebrated or those who are in charge of the event. Being underdressed can also make you stick out like a sore thumb. If you're attending an event where your employer or potential clients will be present, this can be affect their entire way of thinking when it comes to your abilities and performance.
With this in mind, you might be asking yourself: wouldn't I be better off overdressed than underdressed? In order to determine that, and decide how you should deal with being overdressed, we'll first need to consider a few questions.
Is it Really a Problem? When it comes to style and fashion, men often imagine issues that aren't actually real. If you're overdressed for an event, take a moment to consider- is it really a problem or all in my head?
Consider, for instance, that you're meeting your fiance's family for dinner at a nice restaurant. If you were to show up underdressed, without a jacket and tie, you might have a bit of trouble, depending on the restaurant you visit. Some restaurants have strict dress codes that require you to wear a jacket and tie, and if you show up without them, you'll either have to borrow them or be asked to leave. Overdressing doesn't usually have the same issues. If you were to walk into a restaurant that usually entertained casual diners wearing a suit and tie, would you be asked to leave or take off your jacket and tie? It isn't likely. In this case, no one else would have a problem with what you're wearing, and the perceived issue would all be in your head.
Do you Have a Problem With Confidence? If your choice to wear men's suits and ties isn't bothering anyone else, you may need to consider the fact that the issue you're having is your own. It could be caused by a lack of confidence. Sure, you may love the way you look when you're standing in front of the mirror at home, but if you can't retain that same confidence when you leave the house, it could indicate that the problem is personal.
Do you Know why you Overdressed? When men underdress for an event, it's typically because they didn't care to take the time or make the effort to pull together the right outfit. Overdressing is another matter altogether. If you overdress for an event, consider asking yourself why you did it. Was it to impress your boss, who you knew would be attending? Was it to appear more professional for a potential client? As long you understand why you took the time to dress sharp and what the end result would be, you'll be able to choose the right clothing and not appear out-of-place.
Is My Outfit Flexible? If you are still worried that you will overdress or underdress for an event, make sure to choose flexible ensembles that will allow you to change your entire look quickly and easily. Wearing a blazer, suit trousers, and a tie makes this easy. If the event calls for more professional attire, you can keep the blazer and tie on. If more casual dress is required, both the blazer and tie can easily be removed.
What's the Event? Before you even think about putting on any clothing for the night, think carefully about what the event is going to be. Is it a meet-and-greet with a client? Wear suits. Is it a birthday party for your nephew? Something casual, like a tweed jacket and chinos will work well. The type of event you're attending will tell you a lot about what to wear.
Does it Fit? There's no doubt that wearing men's suits provides a sharper, more formal appearance than wearing a men's tweed jacket and some chinos. However, your choices play a large role in how put together both of these ensembles look. How? By choosing clothing that has the right fit. Even if an ensemble is more casual, like a tweed jacket would be, the right fit can make you appear to be more 'dressed up' than you actually are.
It's for this reason that you ALWAYS have to pay attention to the way your clothes fit.
In order to quickly go from overdressed or underdressed to just right, you not only need to consider the fit of the clothing, but also the quality and the little style details. Focus on purchasing suits and men's tweed jackets made from high quality fabrics and avoid buying anything trendy or 'in right now.' These items will become dated rather quickly. Instead, stick to classic, timeless styles when buying your suits and jackets.
Worried about being overdressed or underdressed for an event? When in doubt, think carefully about what you're wearing, why you're choosing to wear it, and the fit of your clothing. And remember, most of the time it is far better to be overdressed for an event than underdressed.