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The Ultimate Men’s Prom and Graduation Clothing Guide

April 19, 2023

Prom and Graduation Dress Guide

Whether you’ve got your own sense of personal style on lock or are still figuring it out, dressing up for big milestones in your school career can be stressful. Plus, the most important ones come back-to-back: prom arrives first, with graduation just a few weeks later.

The good news? Dressing up for each can be fun and even easy, as long as you’re prepared. Here’s what you need to do now to make sure you look fresh at the end of the school year.

What Do You Need for the Prom?

There are a few items you need on prom to look the part, all of which you can adjust to suit your own style. Then, there are optional items that you can include if you want to inject more personality.

Prom Necessities

  1. Suit or Tux: A tux is appropriate for black tie proms, while a suit is perfect for all other occasions. Black will always be the most formal, but you can have fun with color and pattern.
  2. Dress Shirt: A button-down shirt won’t do - you need an actual dress shirt. If wearing a tux, you may want to pair it with a tuxedo shirt. If your suit is a solid color, feel free to have fun with a patterned shirt.
  3. Tie or Bow Tie: Totally up to you, but keep in mind that tuxedos tend to go best with bow ties. Keep the tie plain if you’re wearing a patterned shirt or suit - if not, add some pattern or texture with your tie.
  4. Shoes and Belts: These two items should match in color. Generally speaking, black is best as it's more formal, but you could go with brown or even a fun color, like maroon.

Optional Accessories

  1. Vest: A three-piece suit with a vest can look really elevated, but it isn’t necessarily a must.
  2. Cufflinks: Cufflinks come in a variety of colors and styles, so they’re a fun way to add your own eye-catching flair.
  3. Pocket Square: Another way to add a pop of color or print.
  4. Suspenders: Add a vintage or retro vibe with suspenders.

Should You Match Your Date? And the Theme?

It’s traditional to match your date. However, being too matchy-matchy can feel outdated. Likewise, it’s easy to get wrapped up in matching the theme of the dance. Instead, aim to acknowledge your date’s outfit or the theme with small accessories.

For example, if your date is wearing purple, you might add a pocket square with purple detailing. It doesn’t have to be the same shade. If the theme is a masquerade ball, you might wear socks with masquerade masks on them. This gives a nod to tradition without taking away from your own style and personality.

Prom Outfit Ideas

The Colorful Suit

Young Man's Pink 3 Piece Suit for Prom

Not afraid of color? Go with a full head-to-toe look centered around one color. We love this pink three-piece suit. Pair it with a neutral white shirt, coordinating tie and pocket square, and brown leather shoes.

All Black Everything

Mens Black Tuxedo

An all-black outfit makes for a bold yet understated look. Go with a fitted black tuxedo or a black suit. To really make a statement, wear a black dress shirt, tie, and shoes. Play with different textures to make it interesting.

Casual Vibes

Mens Casual Prom Outfit

Wearing suit separates allows you to add the most personality. Go for a suit jacket with a nice pair of chinos, a colorful dress shirt, and a fun tie to match.

What Do You Need for Graduation?

Getting dressed for graduation can be tricky, especially since the venue and post-grad events can vary widely. However, there’s a simple formula you can use to get dressed and still look dapper.

Graduation Necessities

  1. Suit or Suit Separates: If graduation is a formal affair at your school, wear a two-piece suit. If it’s more casual, you can go for suit separates. Suit separates offer nice flexibility as you go from the ceremony to after parties, especially in warmer weather. It's generally best to go with classic black, gray, or blue to avoid clashing with your graduation gown.
  2. Dress Shirt: A dress shirt is best, as the collar is designed to be worn with a tie. Both will peek out of your robes, so be sure to wear complementary colors. Aim for a cotton or performance blend shirt to avoid getting too hot under your robes.
  3. Tie: Traditional ties look best. Feel free to include your future college’s school colors in your tie for a fun twist.
  4. Shoes: Black leather dress shoes will be the most formal. Brown leather looks great with navy suits and is a bit more casual. Or, wear a clean sneaker for a fresh, updated look.
  5. Socks: Your socks will be visible outside of your robe, so have fun with them. A patterned dress sock can go a long way.

Optional Accessories

  1. Cufflinks: Cufflinks will peek out of your robe and give you a chance to show off your personal style.
  2. Watch: Be sure to match the metal of your watch to your cufflinks for a cohesive look.
  3. Bracelets: Layering a bracelet or two with your watch can elevate your look, especially if you’re removing your suit jacket later on at a graduation party. Make sure they tie together, whether via material or color.

Graduation Outfit Ideas

The Formal Affair

Formal Suit for Men

A tailored navy suit is the perfect choice for formal daytime graduations. Pair it with a white dress shirt, then add a tie that includes your future school’s colors. Add black dress shoes, a nice belt, and a watch to complete the look.

Smart Semi-Formal

Mens Beige Semi-Formal Suit

A tan suit is a touch less formal. Look for materials like linen or cotton to keep cool if your graduation ceremony is outside. You can also do a beige suit jacket with navy or light gray dress pants. Pair it with a white dress shirt, patterned tie, and dark brown loafers.

Ready for Anything

Mens Casual Dressy Wear

Pair a dark gray suit jacket with the chinos of your choice - just about any color goes with dark gray. Draw eyes with a patterned pair of dress socks or a nice pair of white sneakers.

Shopping for your prom and graduation essentials? Be sure to check out Franky Fashion for trendy suits, the latest accessories, and the best quality shoes.

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