As we’re pretty sure Vince Lombardi once said, it isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you dress that counts. And whether you’re polishing your Oscar acceptance speech or gearing up to take home that trophy for Regional Sales Rep of the Year, here’s our advice for how to stand out, subtlely, from the penguin pack—without having to remind people it was an honor just to be nominated.
Start at the bottom.
No matter how sharp the tux, the wrong shoes can sink the entire look. Best to keep it to either of two possibilities: the black lace-up in patent or calf leather, classically proportioned and minimally adorned, or (if you’re feeling jazzy) some really elegant loafers.
Make it all about you.
Separating yourself from the mob in this context requires the kind of personal touches only you can provide, so give your celebrity stylist the day off. Break out the heirloom cuff links and watch (or get new versions of each you plan on turning into heirlooms), and that zippo your first girlfriend had engraved for you (you may want something to fiddle with during everyone else’s interminable speeches).
Keep it in proportion.
Whether you opt for a peak or shawl lapel, make sure they’re in proportion with your shirt collar and tie—bow or otherwise. I.e., a skinny tie requires a correspondingly narrow collar, and so on.
People will be taking your picture. And, aside from mastering the art of the pose, nothing will set you apart in the Monday morning style roundups like high quality fabrics. Add just a little luster, a subtle tone-on-tone pattern on the dinner jacket, or an alternative fabric—read: velvet—for a real splash.
A few bonus points…
Show up when you should show up.
Have something prepared… A great speech or toast can make a graceful loser the champion of the night.
Make sure you have a getaway plan. You’ll be wanting to untie that tie when and where you please.