Dress codes decoded: Lounge suit
Dress codes are supposed to be a rigid set of guidelines. It is easier to tell apart cocktail from white tie, or black tie from smart casual. Lounge suit is where it all gets confusing, because the name tells you very little about what it is. You will usually only ever encounter the expression on an invitation such as to a wedding or a lunch. It is also the dress code commonly assumed for business events. Lounge suit tends to be for daytime affairs. In a nutshell, lounge suit is smart, dressy and businesslike. Lounge suit is intended to be neat but not overdone. It is formulaic; you have to follow a restrictive set of guidelines and there are few opportunities to add some flair to your outfit.
It’s informal, but it’s not
Lounge suit is also known as ‘informal’. Despite the name, it does not mean that you can dress however you like. In the context of dress codes, informal and casual are very different. Confusingly ‘informal’ is colloquially referred to as ‘formal’. Lounge suit lies between semi-formal and casual dress.
Lounge suit can also be used interchangeably with ‘business attire’. Note that this is not the same as ‘business casual’, in which you do not need to wear a suit. You have probably been wearing lounge suit without even knowing the word, as it is the assumed dress code to events such as weddings and funerals, if a dress code is not specifically given.
Wear a suit
Lounge suit is the name of the dress code, and it can also be used to refer to the type of suit that men can wear in keeping with said dress code. Your suit can include a waistcoat, but it does not have to. When wearing a waistcoat, make sure to leave the last button undone. Your suit should be dark colored. You can show your individuality with a navy or grey suit, but there is otherwise little room for showing your personal style. It is common to have a black suit for a lounge suit dress code, but as it is generally for a daytime event, grey can be more refreshing. Wear a white, long-sleeved shirt done up all the way to the top. A tie is essential, and you may not substitute a bow tie. Of course you will need dress shoes, preferably in black leather. Match the color of your belt to your shoes, unless you are wearing a waistcoat, in which case it looks strange to wear a belt at all.
An understated knot
There is a time and a place to sport a large and elaborate knot on your tie. An event with a lounge suit dress code is not one such opportunity to show off your tie tying skills. A half-Windsor knot is ideal. You want your knot to be small and refined. Anything fancy like a trinity or an eldredge knot does not belong with a lounge suit.
About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at: http://mensstyleandfashion.com/