Editor's note: Men of various ages answer questions in this extra edition of the regular 20-40-60 Etiquette column that runs in The Oklahoman and on NewsOK.com.
QUESTION: Recently, my father received a lifetime achievement award from a golf association in another state. Cocktails for the event, attended by 400 people, were at 5:30 p.m. followed by 6:30 p.m. dinner.
One of the guests, a 40-something male, and I had a conversation about the dress for the event. He noted he was uncertain what to wear given the event's time, type of event and time of year (warm, summer evening). He wore a suit and tie. Other men wore sport coats with slacks. How do you determine if a tie is necessary?
NICK TANKERSLEY, 30s, Web editor, NewsOK: A tie is only necessary if the invitation clearly states the dress guidelines; otherwise it's all a matter of personal style and whatever code of etiquette you subscribe to. I only wear a tie when I am wearing an outfit in which it will fit as a part. I don't force in a tie just to appear more professional or proper. From what I've seen, those that wear a tie as a way of saying “look, I'm dressed like a real life grown-up” usually wear the worst, least stylish ties and tend to tie very small, unappealing knots. To summarize, if the rest of your outfit calls out for a tie, then wear a tie; otherwise don't worry about it.
Now, as for what to wear in such a situation: I tend to favor anything that will keep me from becoming a sodden mess under my clothes. We all sweat, but some of us much more than others. That should have a lot to do with how you dress. There are few accessories less appealing than giant sweat rings under your arms. Dress in a way that will breathe and will keep you comfortable. I would avoid any heavy blazers, and jeans are just as hot and uncomfortable as any pair of wool slacks. There are two questions I would ask myself: 1. Does this look good? 2. Can I wear this all night without passing out? If you answer yes on both accords, then, that's what you wear.
FORD SANGER, 30s, local businessman: To determine if a tie is necessary, I would consider that this is an evening event with more 400 people. I also would imagine you will see a little of everything when it comes to fashion and dressing for the event. Since this is an award for your family member I would consider wearing a tie and looking your best out of respect. As the evening progresses and if you feel that a tie is too much, you can always take it off and have a more casual look.
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