Prom season is approaching and many guys are faced with one of the first formal parties of their lives. For most 18 or 19 year olds, this might even be the first time they wear a dress suit or a tuxedo, so it can all be quite confusing and overwhelming. Many boys consider that they are a little behind their female counterparts, as “they have probably worn fancy dresses in their lives before”. But that’s not necessarily true. In fact, most young ladies face the same challenges as teenage boys do when it comes to picking out their prom attire. While girls have websites such as Victoria’s dress which help them pick out their unique prom dresses, guys are, as it usually happens with men and fashion more limited when it comes to choosing clothes. While women have a very wide array of clothes laid out for them (just check out the endless stream of options unique prom dresses, including plus size prom dresses one can find on the Victoria’s dress’ website), boys are faced with a narrower stream of options.
When you are putting your prom outfit together, you should make sure that it meets the occasion and does not stand out in a bad way. This means that you should keep in mind that you are neither going to the Academy Awards, or to playing soccer.
This being said, as you can see by flipping the articles we write month after month, men can also be creative and look great even if the choices when it comes to men’s clothes are more limited. One of the major questions young lads ask when it comes to their prom attire is whether they should match their date or not. Of course, asking this question narrows it down to having a “date” to match your outfit to, which is one of the preconceptions about prom: that you should have a date. You can go by yourself (in which case you don’t need to worry about matching your clothes to anyone) or you can go with your friends and wear matching clothes (even though this might make you look like you are in a band). This is why we won’t use the word “date” anymore. Let’s call it company.
But let’s go back to matching clothes. Usually matching your clothes to someone else’s is the cultural symbol of being attached to that person. This is why in our opinion there are different degrees to which someone can match their clothes to their partner’s.
1) A strong match. A strong match usually means that you are wearing the exact same color, the exact same patterns and that your clothes are made from the exact same fabric. Matching your clothes like this to someone else, will not only make you look like you are twins, but it also looks a little desperate. Wearing the exact same thing, unless it’s made in a joke, will look like you are clinging to one another a little more than normal.
The issue with this type of outfits is that they lack individuality. As humans, we constantly communicate who we are through our looks and wearing the same thing as somebody else will convey the message that you are basically one and the same, with no individual traits or personalities. Yes, you should match, but not that much!
2) A moderate match. A moderate match is of course the middle way to go and maybe the best way to if you choose to match your clothes to your company’s. If you are going out with a girl who is wearing a green dress for example, you can choose to wear a green pocket square or a green vest for example with your suit. It does not have to be the exact shade, but it would be best if it were close. You can also wear a color that does not match with your date’s dress, but that goes well with it. To learn more about matching colors, you can study the color wheel and see how some colors go better together than others. For example, if your date is wearing a dark blue dress, you can wear a light blue tie to match it. This is very subtle and looks great.
Also, matching a detail, such as an accessory (your cufflinks to her bracelet) is also a good way to go, but, depending on the case, it might look desperate. What you should do is try these things on before and see how they look.
3) No match. You don’t need to match the person with whom you are going to the dance, but this will signify a distance between the two of you. Having absolutely nothing in common is not bad, since this is just prom and you are probably not even 20. However, we would say that you shouldn’t look disharmonious. Looking disharmonious means that the two outfits simply do not match such as gold and silver or something that will simply make your eyes hurt. The best way not to match and still look amazing is to wear a classic dress suit or an evening suit.
For guys who take out another boy out for prom, the issue of matching your clothes is put from a slightly different angle. Since you are both probably going to wear a suit or a tux, you will be already matching, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We don’t think you should wear clothes in a diagonal (one’s vest should match the other’s bow tie and vice versa), but you can wear similar pieces, but these should not look exactly the same. For example, if you both choose to wear blue accessories, one can wear a tie and the other one can wear a bow tie or more color or, so that you still express your personality through your style and keep your individuality.
Prom should be a fun party and not an event to stress over. There will be other events to stress over, don’t worry! Make sure you don’t overdress or treat it as a rite of passage, as it’s just a party. But if you are going, then you should enjoy it and have fun with your colleagues!
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. What do you think? Will/did you wear fancy clothes to your prom? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!