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Mastering Old Money Formal Wear – Gentlemen’s Guide

Today, we’ll delve into the nuance of formal wear in the Old Money style, a timeless look that will let you showcase refinement, sophistication, and success.

Our inspiration for this article comes from a recent collaboration with Alexander, a 26-year-old investment banker and Princeton University graduate.

Alexander sought to mellow down his traditional black-tie attire and infuse his classic evening wear with a dash of modernism without losing the classic formal wear old-money look.

Together, we curated a selection of formal ensembles showcasing impeccable taste and a discerning eye for detail.

Alexander’s confidence transformation and manner at high-profile events were remarkable, garnering him well-deserved recognition and admiration from his peers.

Formal Wear in the Old Money Style

Formal wear, traditional black-tie attire, or classic evening wear embodies refined formal dressing and timeless sophistication.

This aesthetic pays homage to the rich sartorial heritage of society’s upper echelons while embracing the modern gentleman’s desire for impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail.

Whether you’re attending a gala dinner, a charity ball, or a prestigious award ceremony, mastering the art of old-money formal dressing will ensure that you make a lasting impression and cement your status as a true style connoisseur.

By focusing on these core principles of old-money formal wear, you’ll be well-equipped to build a wardrobe that radiates sophistication, refinement, and an unwavering commitment to elegance.

5 Old Money Formal Wear Outfits

To assist you in navigating the world of old-money formal wear, we’ve meticulously curated five distinct ensembles that will have you looking and feeling your absolute best at any black-tie event.

Each look showcases the perfect blend of timeless tuxedo styles and modern refinement, featuring exquisite garments, footwear, and accessories from the most respected heritage formalwear brands.

Prepare to elevate your formal wardrobe with these timeless and sophisticated formal ensembles.

1. The Gala Gent

Embody the essence of timeless elegance with a classic tuxedo ensemble.

Begin with a meticulously tailored black tuxedo from brands such as Brioni, Tom Ford, or Ermenegildo Zegna, renowned for their bespoke tailoring and exquisite craftsmanship.

Pair the tuxedo with a crisp white dress shirt featuring a spread collar and French cuffs, opting for brands like Turnbull & Asser or Charvet.

Add a black silk bow tie and a black silk cummerbund to complete the look, ensuring a polished black-tie look that adheres to the most refined elegant dress codes.

For footwear, select a pair of polished black patent leather Oxford shoes from esteemed shoemakers such as John Lobb or George Cleverley.

Style Icon

Cary Grant and Sean Connery’s iconic James Bond look encapsulates the classic tuxedo’s timeless appeal.

2. The Opera Aficionado

Add a touch of luxury to your formal attire with a luxurious velvet dinner jacket.

Choose a rich, jewel-toned velvet dinner jacket in a hue such as midnight blue, forest green, or burgundy from esteemed brands like Ralph Lauren Purple Label or Brunello Cucinelli.

Pair the velvet dinner jacket with black tuxedo trousers, a white dress shirt, and a black silk bow tie for a striking and sophisticated contrast.

Complete the look with a pair of black velvet slippers featuring an embroidered crest or monogram, opting for brands such as Stubbs & Wootton or Del Toro, known for their exquisite luxury formal accessories.

Style Icons

Tom Ford and Eddie Redmayne have showcased the velvet dinner jacket’s undeniable charm and elegance on the red carpet.

3. The State Dinner Debonair

For the most formal occasions, embrace the grandeur of the white tie dress code with a traditional tailcoat ensemble.

Invest in a meticulously crafted black tailcoat from bespoke tailoring houses such as Gieves & Hawkes or Henry Poole & Co., renowned for expertise in creating timeless tuxedo styles.

Pair the tailcoat with black trousers featuring a silk stripe down the leg, a white piqué front shirt with a detachable wing collar, and a white piqué bow tie.

Add a white piqué waistcoat and a pair of polished black patent leather opera pumps to complete this regal and sophisticated look, ensuring you adhere to the most elegant dress codes.

Style Icons

Fred Astaire and the Duke of Windsor exemplify the unparalleled elegance and refinement of the white tie dress code.

4. The Red Carpet Rebel

Showcase your style and flair with a creative black-tie ensemble with a modern twist on traditional formal wear.

Opt for a tuxedo in an unexpected color or pattern, such as deep burgundy or subtle jacquard, from innovative brands like Alexander McQueen or Dries Van Noten, known for their avant-garde approach to classic evening wear.

For a contemporary and fashion-forward look, pair the tuxedo with a black dress shirt, a black silk bow tie, and polished black leather Derby shoes.

Accessorize with a statement watch from luxury watchmakers such as Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin to add a personal style and showcase your appreciation for luxury accessories.

Style Icons

Jared Leto and Timothée Chalamet have demonstrated the power of creative black-tie dressing on the red carpet, pushing the boundaries of traditional formal wear.

5. The Debonair Warm-Weather Formal

For formal events in warmer climates or during the summer months, embrace the elegance of lightweight formal wear.

Select a cream or ivory dinner jacket made from breathable fabrics such as linen, cotton, or a lightweight wool blend, opting for brands like Canali or Boglioli, renowned for crafting refined formal dressing options for any season.

Pair the dinner jacket with black tuxedo trousers, a white dress shirt, and a black silk bow tie for a refined and seasonally appropriate look.

Complete the ensemble with black leather tassel loafers from esteemed heritage formalwear brands such as Gucci or Crockett & Jones.

Style Icons

Humphrey Bogart and Robert Redford immortalized the charm and sophistication of the warm-weather formal look in classic films such as “Casablanca” and “The Great Gatsby.”

Old Money Formal Wear Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s Don’ts
  • Invest in well-tailored, high-quality garments
  • Pay attention to fit and proportions
  • Opt for classic colors and timeless patterns
  • Focus on quality materials and craftsmanship
  • Accessorize with understated, elegant pieces
  • Avoid ill-fitting or poorly tailored garments
  • Steer clear of overly trendy or flashy styles
  • Refrain from mixing and matching formal wear pieces
  • Don’t overlook the importance of proper grooming
  • Avoid wearing casual accessories with formal attire

Elevate Your Formal Style with The VOU

You may think, “This all sounds incredible, but I’m not quite sure where to begin.”

Rest assured, The VOU is here to guide you on your journey to becoming a master of old-money formal wear.

As the world’s premier styling agency for discerning gentlemen, we offer unrivaled expertise and personalized guidance to help you curate a formal wardrobe that truly reflects your unique style and taste.

Your journey with us begins with a complimentary consultation – a comprehensive styling assessment designed to understand your needs, preferences, and aspirations.

Our experienced stylists will work closely with you to create a bespoke formal wear collection that seamlessly blends classic elegance with modern sophistication, ensuring you make a lasting impression at every black-tie event.

Until our next encounter, remain refined and poised, and always remember: true elegance is not about following trends but embracing the timeless principles of style and making them your own.

With over twenty years of front-row fashion and styling events, collabs with haute-couture houses, and a PhD in Luxury Fashion, Laurenti is an expert in crafting personalized looks that depict old-money sophistication.

With years of expertise in high-end fashion collabs and a PhD in Sustainable Fashion, Ru specializes in curating eco-luxe wardrobes for the modern gentleman seeking understated refinement.

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