Most of the time, men’s formal dressing seems fairly straight forward in comparison to women’s. However, there are a few instances when an invitation’s dress code might throw a wrench in your event-focused fashion plans – “Black Tie Optional,” we’re looking at you. If you’ve received an invitation with this proclamation, there is no need to panic. The rules here are actually quite simple. Embrace your current wardrobe status and fashion preferences, while considering your affiliation with the event itself. If this is an event where you are included in a wedding party, a co-host of a charity, or looking to make an impression, it might be wise to don a tux. (Check back in for more information on renting vs buying a tux in the coming weeks!)

However, if you are just a regular guest, we believe that when you are given an option, you should feel free to take it. Consider it an olive branch, now you can flex your decision making muscle as you won’t have to invest in (or rent) a tux. If you choose to skip the pomp and circumstance, keep it traditional by dressing in a formal, dark suit (black, dark gray, or navy are really the only colors you should consider for this dress code) paired with a white dress shirt, sophisticated tie, and appropriate dress shoes to complete the look.