What to Wear to a Fashion Show

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You’re going to a fashion show.  What do you wear?

Every year, my university puts on a fashion show for charity.  Designers donate their time and their money to create beautiful garments which guys and girls show off amongst applause of attendees and the flash of cameras. After the presentations, the collections can be bought, where the proceeds go to charity.  It’s a whole event of style, fashion, personality, and helping the world.  The selected charity this year is charity: water. 

Klarissa, director of REVO this year, asked me to make this article to help guys dress for the event.  Even though I love to dress up I have to admit; I was a bit stumped.  Yes, I realize that a fashion show isn’t an everyday event for most people.   In fact, its an opportunity to show off you style in an elevated way.  Photographers, designers, and models will all be around before and after the show, so you should always look good because you don’t know who you’re going to meet! However people still go to REVO dressing in regular clothing.  Why not get in on the fun?

Now last year I was a designer of my own necktie line, so it was only natural to dress up.  In fact, Rajesh and I went peacocked a little bit to stand out before and after the show!  As an attendee, it made me think a little bit on what I would wear. I also realized not many people have a sartorial style.  So for this article ,I asked a couple of old faces (and some new ones) to create an outfit based on this challenge utilizing their own style!  Some are the usual fare while others are a bit more eclectic and different.  Perhaps it’ll give you inspiration as REVO 2016 is right around the corner.

Matthieu – The Eclectic 

Outfit
This is my pal Matt, that we’ve featured before during my Valentine’s Day post!  He’s got a very diverse style, sticking with classics like a denim jacket and boots to straight up eclectic.  Matt is studying media to work in the fashion industry, so he’s got interesting style inspirations and gets to wear whatever the hell he wants.

Instead of going with something super modern and fitted, Matt decided to use his outfit to experiment with the concept fits.  If you want to try that, I would follow Matt’s lead and thrift some pants. That way, you can tailor and change it up as much as you like without worrying about potentially ruining a piece of clothing.

Fabric details

Pleats are awesome when worn right.

Shoes
Matt’s outfit really blurs the line between attendee and model; it could really pass for either one at this point. His super thin loose sweater, cropped-yet-loose-fit trousers, and black long wing shoes, really set his outfit apart.  “My goal was to play with my leg’s proportions in an interesting way, because I’m really skinny and have almost twig-like legs”, he said.  “The blockiness and sudden stop of the pant legs purposefully draws attention to itself.  I would definitely wear this to any arts based function.”  I have to agree with Matt; the amount of creativity and “breaking rules” badassary make this outfit perfect for a fashion show and is one of my favourite outfits of his so far.

If you like Matt’s style (and photography) feel free to follow him on instagram! 

Sweater from Lemaire, Thrifted Pants, Black Longwing shoes from Frye “James”

Ben – The Peacock 

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Ben’s style is what I’d call the true mix between Street and Sprezza; he likes to look dapper and yet have some streetwear inspiration.  You can definitely get those vibes from his outfit.  He’s almost going all black with a pop of white with his awesome patterned dinner jacket.  It’s something I’d expect Bruno Mars to wear to a performance!  It’s truly something you’d see from New York Fashion Week or even Pitti Uomo.

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Normally, I wouldn’t recommend wearing jeans and a dinner jacket since you’d be clashing with formality rules.    However Ben pulls it off well.  If you’re going to mix and match, you’ve got to add some personality and fun to it like Ben does here.  With pieces like the patterned jacket and a fedora with an upturned brim, the entire outfit becomes a statement piece that would typically only work in this context.

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If you can’t tell, Ben really loves his bling.  It’s another great way to stand out. You can either go subtle or go big.

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Tim – The Street Photographer

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Unlike Ben, Tim isn’t the stand out kind of guy.  He prefers to be the photographer, staying in the background.  However, that isn’t a reason not to go in style! As  a guy who is much more into streetwear and modern trends, this outfit is perfect subtle variant to wear to a fashion show!

You could even argue that this is a play on Matt’s outfit.  Tim’s still got a wide crew neck shirt which is a bit longer than normal, but he’s got skinny jeans instead of loose pants.  Instead of rocking cropped pants ,Tim prefers his pants to have stacks, which plays well with his hightop sneakers.  Even though this is pretty casual, all of the details give this an edge.  It really looks like Tim’s a street style photographer for New York Fashion Week!  This look is a perfect inspiration for you casual guys who want to add an extra edge to their outfit.

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A baseball cap with a minimal logo is the best way to rock one, in my opinion.  It’s no longer just for dads!  You can wear it with any of your outfits!

Rajesh – The Sprezz

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Don’t let anyone tell you that suits can’t be worn casually. When you have one in a casual fabric like cotton, it’s perfectly normal to wear it without approaching it with formal rules.  For example, Rajesh dresses down his outfit by ditching a tie bar and his socks!  Raj’s style is all about suits and ties, but he doesn’t have that business persona.  So he puts his own spin on it to show that even though he’s wearing a tailored garment, he’s still free to be himself.

This definitely wouldn’t work for a conservative office, but it’s perfect to wear to a fashion show!  In fact, he’s pretty much channeling the style at the spring/summer edition of Pitti Uomo.

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Rajesh is really channeling style icons Jake Grantham and Chad Park with his slouch.

When most guys dress up to a fashion show, suits and blazers are usually the norm. However they make the mistake of wearing plain shirts and ties; there isn’t any creativity or style.  Instead of following the norm, Rajesh wears his bespoke tie from our line we designed last year.   It was made from a hawaiian shirt, which makes the tie unique in terms of fabric, pattern, and manufacturing!  Paired with a cotton suit, it becomes a great part of a casually suited outfit.  Who said suits are boring?   There are plenty of ways to look good with a suit, and formal is only one of many.

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Note that Rajesh’s pocket square has a subtle pattern.  It’s a step up above the typical white ones that most people wear!

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In his designs, Rajesh added a button on the insides of each tie, so you could fasten them to your shirt.
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Blue Cotton Suit from Suit Supply, Shirt/Pocketsquare from J.Crew, Bespoke Tie, Vintage shoes

Ethan – Vintage Inspired 

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My outfit is probably the most different than the rest of the others in this article, mainly because it isn’t as peacock-y. Instead of floral ties and loose fits, I went with a pretty modern version of a typical 1960’s Ivy outfit.  I’ve got on a vintage 1960’s Brooks Brother’s suit jacket, a striped tie, button-down collar shirt, and black penny loafers.  Everything is sharp and fitted, which is a huge contrast to Matt’s look.  Perhaps at something like New York or Milan Fashion Week, I’d be the one to stand out amongst the experimental and eclectic looks.

This outfit of sportcoat and trousers is perfect for the guys who don’t wanna go to experimental or go to dressed up.  Perhaps you don’t have a suit in a casual fabric or maybe you don’t have a cool tie; that’s totally fine.  When you have separates, you can always go with something classic like my outfit.  Just make sure that everything fits exceptionally well.  

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Any bonus points for matching my suspenders to my tie?

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I must admit that I have fallen into the trap that I mentioned earlier: white shirt and white pocket square.  However, I believe that it’s the perfect accessory when worn with a sleek outfit that fits impeccably.   If you’re going for a 1960’s look, whether inspired or true vintage, you’ve got to have these subtle details down.  In this case, the details are simple. Just don’t forget the sprezza-tie; it’s a way to keep things casual in an otherwise “formal outfit”.  I’m not that stuffy of a  person and I certainly don’t want my clothes to convey that sense, even if I am in tailored garments.  My tie is just a way to show that I’m not always looking to be clean and pressed all the time.

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Just like Raj, I’m going to sockless with my shoe choice.  I wouldn’t recommend it with wingtips or captoes, but it’s a no-brainer when used with loafers.  I’ve heard that black penny loafers are an oxymoron since black is a formal color and loafers are inherently casual.  However, the combination of the two gives you a diverse shoe that works well to “dress up casually” with a variety of outfits.  I could have worn black captoe shoes, but that’s an expected choice.  I’m really not the guy who plays with the hard rules of menswear.  This is Street x Sprezza isn’t it?  Why not try to do a twist on something established?

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Vintage Brooks Brother’s Jacket, Shirt from Uniqlo, Vintage tie, Pants from Banana Republic, Penny Loafers from Alfred Sargent 

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I decided to let Klarissa share some of her own thoughts on this matter.  I mean who better to talk to than the director herself?
“Dressing well is a form of good manners.” Legendary American designer Tom Ford said that.  
At their core, true runway events are rarely casual. At the bottom line, fashion is about having fun and expressing yourself. If there’s a time to wear that fun, crazy, elevated outfit you’ve kept hanging in your closet, this is that time. 

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This isn’t just a university event for charity where attendees are outside the sphere of fashion simply observing a show students have put together. We want you to feel immersed in the world we’ve created for you, from the models walking the floor, to the red carpet, to the spaces for autographs on your program. An important part of helping us create that experience is wearing an outfit where you feel like your best self. 

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These designers have dedicated months to perfecting collections that they have fought to bring to life through hours of sewing and fittings. In my mind, they deserve more respect when showing their collections than me sitting there in sweatpants and a t-shirt. 

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My sample outfits are in the grey area between business casual and cocktail, though those dressing categories are murky. Specific words and phrases I would use in my mind when creating an outfit for this event include: true to my personal style, quality fabrics, chic, and “If I had one chance to attend a runway show at New York Fashion Week, what would I wear”? 

Conclusion 

The point of this article is to put your personal style into an elevated spirit!  A fashion show is all about creativity, not just for the models and designers but for the attendees!  Instead of going through the motions, why not try to stand out in your special way?

Ben showed us that you can definitely play with formal rules and bend them to your style.  Matthieu showed us that you can even experiment with how clothes fit!  And in Rajesh and my case, it shows that suiting up doesn’t have to be rigid. It can still be sharp with just a hint of personality that makes it much different than dressing for a conference room meeting at a law firm.  This doesn’t mean that you can just wear a suit or baggy pants and call it “fashionable”.   If each of your choices are intentional and not a result of “throwing things together” randomly, it doesn’t matter what you wear.  Just be yourself!

I hope this article has given you inspiration on what to wear to REVO or to any arts based function that you are fortunate enough to attend! Big thanks to Ben, Matt, and Klarissa for participating!

Always a pleasure,

Ethan W.

Street x Sprezza

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