Gentlemen, you only need three things to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style. You need champagne. You need it to be December 31. And, most importantly, you need the right clothes.
You don’t have to go crazy. A survey of Vancouver fashion leaders shows many of them planning to keep it casual and comfortable yet still convey a sense of occasion.
Take Fidelity Jeans founder and owner Jason Trotzuk. He’s ringing in 2007 with family and friends.
“I’ll be wearing black velour Hugo Boss pants that I picked up in Los Angeles at Fred Segal,” says Trotzuk. “And I’ll keep it simple with a crisp white poplin top by 4You I found at Leone, with French cuffs.”
It’s an elegant combination that benefits from the soft, festive sheen velour has to offer. You might try velvet instead.
Kildare Curtis, owner of Main Street’s Eugene Choo, has plans that are even more low-key. He says, “I’m going to the remote wilds of Washington state for dinner and drinks in a one-on-one evening with a lady friend.”
What will he be packing?
“I’m taking my APC blazer—it’s a grey flecky tweed—and a Steven Alan shirt. Both from the shop. My shoes are black brogues, and my pants are nice Filippa K flannels I got at the Block in Gastown.”
To top the whole ensemble off, Curtis says, “I’ll also be wearing a three-inch Pendleton Plaid tie in the Black Watch regiment pattern.”
With a simpatico partner, you could bar-hop, eat streetside smokies, drop ’shrooms, and run around a local boreal rain forest, and as long as you’re rocking a James Bond–ian tux, it will be a night to recall. Just make sure you do it right.
“There’s a lack of knowledge on how to approach formalwear,” Curtis cautions. “So men try to grasp at the familiar.” Usually that translates into unfortunate tuxedo details like notched lapels and long ties that transform the composition into a rental business suit.
Patrick Rattenbury, co-owner of the Black & Lee formalwear chain, is more open-minded, but he does note the loss of elegance when a man eschews the bow tie and peak- or shawl-lapel jacket.
“Very seldom do men order a shawl collar. It’s been seven or eight years since anyone has ordered one. I saw Ryan Seacrest wear one last year, but he dressed it down with a pair of jeans. Men are afraid to look classic.”
Don’t be. And if you want to work your way slowly up the sartorial ladder, Rattenbury has a hybrid to offer. “It’s called a notch shawl. It’s a skinny lapel with a small notch that we designed ourselves.”
You can also buy a vintage shawl collar. Get a good tailor to tighten the jacket up, skip the cummerbund and vest, and if you remember to keep it buttoned up, you’ll look sharp. And buy an all-cotton shirt with a turn-down collar. Wing collars are reserved for members of the German general staff.
Then on the big night, knock back a couple of stiff ones and get your honey to tie your bow tie for you. And if things get intimate, well, it’s always nice to start the New Year with a bang.