Do you need to scrub up? Whether it’s for professional purposes or a special personal occasion, your instinct, when it comes to more formal events, may be to reach for your tried and tested two piece. But if you’re keen to look smart with an on trend edge, it may be time to think outside of the box, blazers and starched collars.

Formality today is a much more fluid beast and, for gents keen to push the odd style envelope, taking a different approach can really pay off. A suit, in 2016, is no longer the only route to a spot on formal ensemble. To help you shrug off the suit and do formality more fashionably, we’ve compiled a few handy pointers to staying sharp when suitless…


1. Roll with it1(Pictured: Mini Roll Neck Jumper – Topman)

In recent seasons the rollneck has become a formal fashion staple, replacing the classic shirt on catwalks. A slim fit is essential for a sleek, smart look which doesn’t seem too “cosy” for formal wear, so opt for a well fitted, fine knit to create a smarter silhouette. Tuck into smart, slim-fit chinos or wool tousers and a statement pair of vintage-look brouges to complete the alternative-smart ensemble, with just a touch of Clarke Kent.


2. Go Woolly2(Pictured: Milano Knit Merino Blazer – Jigsaw)

Texture has been a huge hit on SS16 menswear runways, with a particular focus on natural fabrics like suede, leather and wool. Incorporate this look into your next formal ensemble by switching out a traditional blazer for a woollen alternative. The swap will up the fashion ante, while maintaining that formal shape. A smart, well fitted T-shirt will work for semi-formal occasions, but to err on the side of smart, a crisp shirt is essential. We also like this look with a granddad collar.


3. The Modern Classic
3(Image: Lookastic)

Mix one part fitted jacket with one part crisp, fitted T-shirt and one part well-cut chinos – and you have the recipe for a modern classic formal look which doesn’t feel fussy or look stuff. In fact, this tried and tested style has a definite Continental feel which blends the fashionable with the formal effortlessly. Make sure your T-shirt is 100% cotton in a subtle but signature shade to seriously pull the style off. Go a step further by adding a silk scarf to the mix.


Do you want to break away from the classic besuited formal look? Do you think you could pull off these three styles in formal situations? Have your say and share your formal wear pet peeves with other readers in the Base London Facebook group.