Almost a decade ago, the camera company Canon flooded the airwaves with the slogan “image is everything” with a star tennis athlete Andre Agassi serving wicked shots at an unseen opponent. Everyone understood the message and how the statement extended far beyond the realm of sports.It’s of significant importance to make sure you make a smashing first impression. Whether you’re about to order a custom cheer jacket for your home tennis team, or putting together the best smart casual outfit for a business lunch, it’s important to look your best because you never get a second chance at a first impression.

With that said, different occasions require different fashion ensembles. We’ll take a look at what your fashion choices can be that will draw attention without making you appear out of place.

What to Wear to a Lounge

A semi-professional and yet laid-back approach works well here. In general, men should go with the darker suit and white shirt – it can be eggshell, or some other shade of white – that has a French-cuff. A tie is optional here; but a vest will fit better because you don’t want to appear too formal. As an example, take a look at David Beckham’s sizzling vest in this example of men’s fashion.

Women can choose to go business-casual, or wear a dress that stops just short of the knees – not low-cut, and a bit reserved in color. A small, stylish jacket to cover your arms is optional. The above ensembles work well for outings or business breakfasts, engagement parties and other similar occasions.

Dinner Attire or Formal Invite

A general “rule” for the ladies is to skip the denim and cotton for dinner – in fact, this goes for the guys, as well. Silk dress pant or a soft skirt can never be out of place. A good rule of thumb is to think “what would you wear to church,” and go from there. Going to dinner and going to church are similar events, in a sense, as far as the dress code is concerned.

To this end, men should consider trousers and a blazer, paired with oxfords or leather loafers. Wearing a tie is completely up to you here. Just make sure that your clothing fits perfectly, as this is not a specifically casual affair where loose-fitting attire would be more acceptable.

Black Tie Events

A wide range of formal events fit this description, such as political parties, weddings, charity fundraisers, silent auctions and galas. Historically, men opt for silk blazers and dress shirts. Here, a tie is a must. You can certainly mix it up as long as it’s color coordinated, and the shoes match the belt.

Cocktail dresses and long gowns will dominate black tie events, as the ladies distinguish themselves through different combinations within the generally-accepted dress code. There are many accessories that a woman can wear to claim a particular style as her own – especially for galas and silent auctions. Weddings are a bit more restrictive, since you’re there in a supportive capacity to the bride and, to a lesser extent (arguably), the groom.

Style and fashion are continuously evolving, and the above tips are meant as general guidelines. If you consider yourself a pioneer, then start with these and mold them to your own unique style – perhaps you will be able to pull it off.

Image by Micah Gianneli –