Gone are the days when ladies and gentlemen regularly donned their furs, fedoras or Ferragamos for elegant social affairs. Formal events often seem few and far in between, and consequently many guests aren’t quite sure what that dress code means anymore. That, combined with an increasingly casual culture, dress codes seem overlooked and the glamorous spell of a well dressed crowd is now broken with with abrasive visions of flip-flops and jeans.
The Bethune & Son gentleman values the purpose of time-honored dress codes. Dress codes ensure you are properly dressed and communicates more subtle values like respect, professionalism, and dignity. Many modern individuals consider dress-codes to be “stuffy” or “elite,” thinking of a time when such codes indicated social class and status. In truth, dress codes communicate respect for the gravity or salubrious nature of an occasion. They also protect your pride and how others may perceive you. Imagine what people would think if you came to a wedding in a Jack Daniel’s tee-shirt and jeans. Ok, maybe you wouldn’t do something that drastic, but it’s human nature to subconsciously judge and categorize others based on how they appear. A dress code ensures you come neither under- or over-dressed, both of which can be socially uncomfortable, embarrassing, and makes you look incompetent.
At Bethune & Son we have both a nostalgic and practical regard for dress codes. We are nostalgic in the sense that class and sophistication has been lost to a casual culture. We embrace the upper spectrum of the dress code, and prefer to be better dressed as a way of expressing the values of a true South Texas gentleman. When there is work to be done on the ranch, he feels at home in a pair of work boots and field pants. When he is a man of business, he communicates his sense of professionalism and intellect by dressing accordingly. When he is called to attend a formal event, he is just as comfortable in a tuxedo and cummerbund as he was earlier that day in work boots on the ranch. The Bethune & Son gentleman is adaptive and understands that he exists in multiple worlds, and is confident enough to embrace it with class and self-respect.
So how do I know what to wear?
Today there are countless “dress codes” you could find on an invitation from “Black Tie” to “Back Alley Suave.” Unless you live in Austin and know a bunch of hipsters, chances are you won’t encounter the latter. We broke it down into 9 fundamental dress codes the Bethune & Son gentleman may encounter in his social life:
8. Specialties: Resort Attire, Hunting Attire, etc.
7. Smart Casual
6. Cocktail Attire
5. Business Casual
4. Business Attire
2. Formal Day Wear/Morning Dress
Over the course of the next few months, Bethune & Son will present a 10-part series uncovering the mysterious intricacies and recommendations for each of these dress codes.
Today, we begin part 1 or our series with how the Bethune & Son man can decode the modern enigma of which dress-rule to follow.
1. Look at the invitation
If the invitation says “Black Tie”, go with it. Pretty straight forward. But what do you wear if the invitation doesn’t list a dress code, or it says something obscure like “Farmhouse Chic”? Your first course of action should be to analyze the invitation. Is the invitation itself more formal? Signs would include hand calligraphy, embossing, or quality card stock. Some store-bought or e-vite events may be more difficult to interpret (but in our opinion, if it was an e-vite it’s probably casual). Look at the wording, phrasing, or colors for signs of elegance. Look at the content too. If it’s during the day, then you can probably rule out formal attire. If it’s in the evening, then you can possibly rule out casual attire. Where is the event being held? If it’s at the St. Anthony Hotel, defer to dressing more formally than you would for a backyard birthday bash.
2. Ask the host
Chances are you know them if you received an invitation. Simply ask what dress code they envision for their event. We’re sure they would rather you showed up at their affair dressed appropriately. If you can’t ask the host, ask a mutual friend who may know based on experience or first-hand knowledge.
3. Consider the event itself
Is it marking a special moment in someone’s life, such as a wedding, bar mitzvah, or baptism? In that case defer to dressing better than casual. These events deserve respect by wearing the proper attire. If it is a 4th of July barbeque or a college football tailgate, then you will likely be safe dressing casually.
Hopefully these tips will give you a great start on dressing the part. Look for our next post on how the Bethune & Son man interprets casual dress.
Penny for our thoughts...
The Bethune & Son blog captures the lifestyle of the South Texas gentleman. From men's clothing, to recreations, food and values - this blog tells you all you need to know about being a Bethune & Son gentleman.