Cocktail hour is a relaxed yet polished occasion where a few key rules apply. Whether for a business-related occasion or a more personal celebration, I’ve picked up some useful tips throughout my career - on attire, conversation starters, bar etiquette and of course cocktails - that are guaranteed to come in handy when cocktail hour rolls around:
1. Attire should be fun and frivolous, but always formal: this is a rare opportunity to subtly express your eccentricities whilst maintaining a sharp aesthetic.
2. Have fun with your jacket and don’t be scared to experiment with patterns and textures. Cocktail hour is the perfect excuse to dust off that single-breasted pinstripe jacket that you’ve been itching to show off. A windowpane check suit will also do the job nicely, but steer clear of garishness - darker tones like navy, olive and burgundy will ensure you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
3. A smart pair of linen trousers will bring balance to your ensemble, contrasting a formal element against the more playful jacket. Sharp pleating along the front and back and simple detailing is what you’re looking for here.
4. Keep shirting understated and straightforward, as your jacket should be doing most of the talking. A formal white cotton shirt with pearl buttons and a cutaway collar will seamlessly bring everything together… or a hidden button-down collar is always good.
5. Opt for a pair of sleek leather or dark velvet penny loafers on your feet. If you’re feeling daring, a tassel is always a welcome addition.