Knowing the Rules
This brochure deals with evening casual clothing that is appropriate for most of Houston’s top restaurants, nightclubs, plays, concerts, and social events. In all the items previously mentioned some situations might require a suit or a sport coat and tie.
For Clubs & Restaurant’s dress code see Norton Ditto’s brochure on Guide For Dressing: Houston’s Clubs & Restaurants.
Rule #1 Sport Coats
In most situations sport coats are always appropriate and will enhance a gentlemen’s appearance. In addition, a well dressed gentleman will never totally abandon a dress shirt and tie to complement his coat. However, if one chooses not to wear a tie there are ample and attractive alternatives to maintain his well dressed appearance.
Dressing casually for the evening offers more opportunities for creative and relaxed wear then in the business atmosphere. An example might be may be a lightweight soft fitting non-constructed sport coat that can be worn with jeans or with a nice pair of dress trousers. Other fun coats may be constructed out of fabrics such as quality micro fabric, crushed velvet, silk, linen, and cotton. Also the coat’s color may be less conservative for evening then for business. However, it is wise to keep in mind, when the color is atypical the more difficult it will be to accessorize the garment. If you desire year around usage we recommend a fabric weight of 8 – 9 1/2 ounces. Obviously the color also determines a garment’s flexibility a suit coat with casual trousers.
Wearing a suit coat with casual trousers: Today’s fashion has initiated various looks. One fashion look is wearing a suit coat with casual trousers that are preferably jeans. If you enjoy that look we recommend a dark pin stripe suit coat with jeans. Other suit coats with certain fabrics such as a twill or light weight flannel will work.
Wearing a suit in the evening without a tie can be very smart. However, it is important to choose a suit with the proper fabric. For instance, we would never recommend wearing a blue pin stripe suit with sport shirt. However, the right fabric – such as Twill- with a crew neck, mock turtle, or turtleneck can be very fashionable. Individuals working in a creative enterprise, see our Business Casual brochure, might enjoy wearing this attire for business.
Before dressing for the evening it is always wise to think about whom you will be socializing with and where you are going. A concern is, if you encounter customers or work associates, will your attire be appropriate?
Remember in Houston the weight of a garment is important. If you desire year around usage we recommend a fabric weight of 8 – 9 1/2 ounces. Obviously the color also determines a garment’s flexibility.
Rule #2: Trousers
Some outfits you will choose for the evening will not include a sport coat. Therefore, the trouser plays a more important role in your appearance. For real casual situations khakis are fine, but well dressed gentlemen enjoy a gabardine or lightweight worsted wool. Linen, dress cotton, or quality micro fabrics are recommended for variety or seasonal wear. The trousers should be pleated with belt loops. The bottom of the pant should have cuffs and a break that is slight to full. If you prefer flat fronts or non-pleated trousers then the bottom of your trousers should be a “no cuff”. Solid colors remain popular but attractive patterns give the wearer some excellent options. Your body build may determine the color of the pant and the extent of the patterns. Remember, darker pants are dressier, and in addition, they encourage the observer to view the entire outfit.
Rule #3: Accessories
Shirts: Shirts can vary from dressy to fun patterns and designs. The selection depends on the occasion. For most business activities that require casual dress we recommend a more conservative approach. However, for social and fun evenings we urge customers to “dress a little out of the box” and enjoy a fashion forward experience.
Belts: For a majority of your evening casual events your belt selection can match the guidelines found in Norton Ditto’s Business Casual. However, if you decide to wear jeans or a more fashion forward apparel, then of course, you will need to wear belts that compliment the outfit.
Do not wear your suit belt! Choose belts with attractive buckles and tips. The skin of the belt can vary a great deal from alligator, crocodile, suede, pressed exotic leather, cloth finishes, and more.
A belt can make or break an outfit. Some people wear attractive trousers and shirts and blow the whole thing by wearing a suit belt or an old tired looking sport belt. If you enjoy jeans you will need to wear a belt modeled and styled to compliment the look.
Shoes: Rule A, please do not wear shoes that are designed for suits. If this area of dress is confusing, simply avoid the embarrassing mistake by never wearing lace up shoes with casual attire (Top Sider, etc. may have laces and are casual, nevertheless, they are not conducive to dressy evening casual wear.). It is important to note that there are lace ups that will work. For example, lace up shoes designed in suede and wovens are great. If you prefer lace up shoes but have concern about choosing the right one, follow Rule B. Seek professional advice. The majority of complementary shoes for dressy evening casual attire can be found in the loafer style. Loafers are available in polish leather, suede, skins, wovens, and much more. Styles featuring tassels are available. As a general rule the shoe’s color should match the color of pant. There are exceptions to that rule if you want to experiment. It may be wise to seek professional advice. Established quality men’s stores should have qualified staff to assist you.
Invited to a private residence: It is a great honor to be invited to someone’s home for dinner. There are a number of gestures that can demonstrate gratitude and good manners. One suggestion is to pay extra attention to your dress for the occasion. Even if the host or hostess say Dress casual wear a sport coat. No host or hostess will be upset because you dressed up for him or her. If appropriate, you can always remove the coat.