Dress Codes: Cocktail Suit


You’re invitation’s arrived and it requests you to don your cocktail attire – that means, pull on a jacket and look neat and chic for a special occasion. Think of the cocktail attire dress code as overlapping with what you’d wear for a business meeting but with a touch more expression than in the office.

Your cocktail attire should be elegant and simple. You want to show that you made an effort for the occasion, you respect your hosts, and not draw attention away from the groom or the guest of honour.


Cocktail attire for men isn’t limited to matching jackets and pants. Matching your pants and jacket is optional for a cocktail party. In terms of fabrics, stick with cotton, wool, moleskin, or linen (weather permitting). The colour of your pants should complement your jacket and not vice-versa. Stick with darker greys, navy, and black for a safer look. Try to avoid your jacket and trousers being close to the same colour but made from different fabrics. This can tend to look like an attempt to create a suit. You’re better to go with a contrasting combination. A suit is two, or three pieces of matching fabric and colour and should be only worn as such. Having said that, a suit jacket can also be used effectively as a blazer providing it doesn’t have a pinstripe or herringbone texture.

Upon arrival, make sure that the buttons, with the exception of the bottom one, are done up. As soon as formalities, such as greetings are completed, it is acceptable to undo the buttons on your jacket. If you’re wearing a waistcoat, the bottom button of your waistcoat should be undone, but those above should remain fastened. When you depart the function and are thanking your hosts, return to the way you were dressed when you arrived.

Accessories can make or break the Cocktail ensemble.

If your blazer or suit has a slight check then make sure your shirt is plain in colour. A single coloured jacket can look great with a patterned shirt but an array of differing patterns rarely succeed, and it is all about a great coordinated look. Your shirt should be collared and fit well. The sleeves should poke out about a centimetre from the cuff of the jacket. Button-down collars are great when you’re wearing a tie, not so much if you choose to go without one.

The same can be said for the belt and shoes. belts are not only to hold your pants up but they create a neat transition between the trousers and shirt. If your pants have belt loops, you should always wear a belt, and that belt should be the same colour of leather as your shoes. Your shoes need to be lace-ups or slip-ons and made from leather. A good pair of dress boots are also quite acceptable. Brown or black will go with any colours, but make sure the browns are close in tone.

The cocktail ensemble can be worn with or without a tie, which can be a straight one or a bow tie that isn’t black or white, keep those for your tuxedo (see our Black Tie section). Match your choice of tie with a pocket hank to bring the look together. Pocket hanks are also great without a tie, adding that burst of colour to show some of your own style and pizazz.

Some items in your wardrobe won’t last for more than a season. You shouldn’t spend too much on those. But others will stay with you for years. That’s particularly the case with your suit or blazer. Decide which style you want and invest in quality over quantity. As very few gents can buy directly off the rack, buy your suit or jacket well before the event so that we at Brown’s can have it tailor altered for you. A poorly fitted suit is not worth having, let alone being seen in.

In general, if you’re requested to wear cocktail attire, it means that you should pull on a jacket and look sharp for such a special occasion. The location and time of the occasion will dictate how exactly you should dress.


Such a great local family business that’s given caring, friendly service to our family for years. Big thanks to Wendy and Cameron for fitting out our son Liam with his first suit. At over 2mtrs it wasn’t an easy task, they helped him look and feel great walking out with a smile.

Kerry Thomas browns mensland reviews

Great service by all the team at Brown's Mensland came in for a quality suit left in style with a quality fit thank you

Caine Devlin

Great service, affordable pricing. Highly recommend

Joe Lichstein

Great store ,large range of stock and size for all shapes of men . The staff is so helpful and very friendly making you feel very welcome and special . Thanks Browns Mensland very professional

Helen Turner

Friendly service and great prices, couldn't ask for anymore!

Dale Ricketts

friendly service, great quality clothing wouldnt go anywhere else.

Jay Turner

Just wanted to say a huge thank you to all the team at Browns Mensland for the suits for our fabulous wedding. We were always greeted with a smile and all the suits fit like a glove! The whole process was made so easy by the team and their good old fashioned customer service. I would highly recommend you to all! Thank you!

Kelly Hailes suit-hire-testimonial-geelong

To Peter & Team thank you so very much for all your patience, kindness and professionalism. We walked in your shop quite a bit during all the planning for our suits but every time we walked out, was with a huge smile!
The boys suits were complemented all day and night and a lot of recommendings were made :)
Could not thank you all enough!
Highly recommend! A big hi-5 to Browns Mensland!!

Danijela Hodges wedding-suits-geelong

A huge thank you to Brown's Mensland especially Cameron. He went above and beyond to help suit my husband and 5 groomsmen.
From head to toe including socks, belts, shoes, pants, vests and jackets. The suits were perfect and looked great on the day.
Would highly recommend to anyone and will definitely use them again in the future.
Thanks Cameron!

Leanne Fiolet wedding-suits-geelong

Needed a wedding suit and went into Mensland first, then went and compared some other stores before I realised I made a mistake by leaving in the first place. Cameron was wonderful from the very beginning, don't go anywhere else!

Russell Grey

Always such a pleasure to shop at Brown's Mensland. Wonderful range of clothing for all shapes and sizes!! To Peter and his Team, Merry Christmas, and we look forward to seeing you in the shop next year.

Pauline Fallander pauline-fellander-browns-mensland

Just celebrated my sons confirmation. Came into the store. Service was excellent. Nothing was too much trouble. Both my boys looked like red carpet movie stars! Recommend Brown's Mensland to everyone. Go in and ask for 'The Dude'! You won't be disappointed!

Nina Mihicinac boys-suit-hire

I purchased a new suit last week and the staff and service was excellent.

Patrick Mckay browns-mensland

I needed something slick for my job interview. So i went and saw the great prople at Browns Mensland. Cameron showed me around and helped me get a few options for that important shirt and tie combo. He took the time to give me different looks and options and let me decide. It was quicker than i thought it would be and i was on my way. Plus i was successful in the interview!!! Thanks Browns Mensland. I'll be back soon.

Stuart Anderson suit-hire

Thanks so much to Cameron for organising our boys' groomsman outfits. With some logistical difficulties involving groomsmen from all over Victoria, Cameron was nothing but patient with us! The extra detail when it came to accessories and preparation for our day was nothing short of impeccable. My husband has found 'his shop' for any future formal needs. You will definitely see us again

JL Steel Wedding Suit Testimonial Geelong

Recently my son was a part of a bridal party and on the day of the wedding the suit that was ordered for him didn't fit. I rang Brown's Mensland on the morning of the wedding and asked if they could assist. With no hesitation they asked us to swing in and they would sort it out. Which they did, they found a suitable suit, fitted him and sent us on our way. The best service I have ever received, they made what started out as a stressful morning, a perfect day! Thank you very much!

Jacqui Mcgrath