Black Jacket Suiting

What is a Lounge Suit?

Jul 24, 2018

Dress codes are confusing. And much to everyone’s annoyance, the people who set dress standards often have zero idea what it means themselves. When they say “black tie,” do they want you to wear a literal black tie or do they just want you to wear a suit?

Fortunately for you, we have decided to help explain what all these terms mean and we will also be providing you with some quick pointers on how to dress appropriately. Unfortunately, we can’t remedy event organisers who have no idea what they’re doing so don’t be afraid to ask an organisation if you think they’ve got no idea.

What is a lounge suit anyway?

“Lounge suit” is a catch-all term for “any suit that isn’t a dinner suit” (known as a tuxedo by some). They come in every colour, pattern, fabric, price and cut you can imagine. Chances are that if you have a job in an office, you’re already wearing one all day.

Lounge suits are worn when the dress-code states “cocktail” on the invite. Some people use “cocktail” as plea for you to wear a jacket, regardless of matching trousers to make an entire suit. And honestly, if you can at least manage to find a decent jacket to wear you’ll be fine. Think of the stereotypical guy at Friday’s; navy blazer, beige chinos, RM boots. That’s cocktail (or cocktail enough, I suppose).

Wait… so, what’s a dinner suit?

As stated earlier, a dinner suit is often referred to as a tuxedo and there are several major differences between a dinner suit and a stock-standard suit:

Dinner suits usually feature a satin face on the lapel (the flappy bit around the chest, for those who still don’t follow). They also have a matching satin stripe on the trouser which runs down the outer seam of the leg. This stripe is kind of falling out of fashion, however, and is not really that essential.

Tuxedos are usually worn at “black tie”-coded events as they are predominantly black and worn with a white dinner shirt and black tie or bow-tie. But really, as long as you have the satin on the front of the lapel it can be any colour you think you can reasonably get away with.

Is there anything else I should know?

There is an elusive, higher dress code than black tie. The prestigious “white tie” is rarely seen in Australia because who in their right mind would want to wear that?

White tie is where you absolutely must wear tails, white shirt, white waistcoat and white bowtie. Gloves are also recommended since you may as well after you’ve come this far. We have never in nearly three years had anyone request a white-tie outfit, so just know that it exists, what it means, and be relieved that you probably won’t ever need to go to one.

For a guide on wedding suits, visit our wedding suits page to suit your style.

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