The Ultimate Guide to New Years Eve Clothes for Men

By Dana Hinders , last updated January 15, 2012

Although women have access to piles of fashion magazines and websites offering advice on selecting the perfect party outfit, finding the ultimate guide to New Year's Eve clothes for men is a little trickier. Until now, that is. New Year's Eve is often a time to celebrate with your friends, as well as a great opportunity to meet new people. Whether you're looking for a new lady friend or just out to expand your social circle, first impressions count. Choosing the right New Year's Eve outfit sets the tone for a successful evening.

Outdoors

Watching the ball drop in Times Square is the most obvious example of an outdoor New Year's Eve celebration, but there are many other smaller events across the country that take place outdoors. If you're planning on celebrating on a party deck, rooftop, or anywhere else exposed to the elements, your outerwear is more important than your actual outfit. Your goal should be to choose something that is stylish, comfortable, and practical for the weather in your area. Sacrificing warmth for fashion will only result in you having a miserable time while everyone else is enjoying the festivities.

To stay warm while looking your best, wear a nice leather jacket. If you can't afford leather, a dark gray mohair trench coat is a budget-friendly alternative. If you're more the sporty type, a quilted jacket with a fake fur hood will keep you warm, while still making you seem approachable.

Select a hat, gloves, and scarf that match to finish off your New Year's Eve outdoor party ensemble. This is a good place to add pattern and color to your outfit, although it's fine to stick to the same colors as your jacket if that's what you prefer. A basic ski cap, fedora, or bowler are all stylish choices for hats. Avoid ear muffs, pom-pom hats, and anything that looks like it was made by your grandmother or a crafty ex-girlfriend.

At the Club

For many men, especially those who are single, celebrating New Year's Eve means going out to a club. This is the perfect time to experiment with a more fashion-forward look than what you're used to. Wear a dressy shirt in a "notice me" color, such as a deep plum, topped with a leather blazer.

Leather pants are a hot item for celebrating New Year's Eve, but you'll need to choose these very carefully. Avoid plastic leather, commonly referred to as pleather: it often looks cheap and sends the wrong message. It's better to choose a pair of jean cut, trouser-style pants. Look for stylish options at stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic.

At a Rave

If you're going to a rave for New Year's Eve, wear dark colored track pants, comfortable sneakers, and a tank top in black, dark blue, red, or purple. The sporty look is best for this type of celebration, since dancing will make you sweat throughout the night. Clothes made from breathable fabrics that wick away moisture are ideal.

At a Casual House Party

If you're celebrating New Year's Eve at a casual house party, this doesn't mean it's OK to show up in ratty jeans and your favorite football sweatshirt. Even though you're hanging out with friends, it's still a good idea to recognize that New Year's Eve isn't just any ordinary day. Dark jeans are a good choice for a casual party, as long as they are relatively slim-fitting. Stay away from baggy light-wash jeans at all costs. A cardigan over a graphic t-shirt gives you a casual, yet distinctive look. An argyle sweater paired with a matching button-up shirt is a slightly classier alternative if you're more the preppy sort of guy.

At a Formal Party

Celebrating New Year's Eve at a formal party requires you to either wear a tux or a sharp-looking suit. If the invitation says "black tie," you need to wear a tux. If the invitation says "black tie optional" or "black tie invited," you can wear either a tux or a suit, according to your own personal preferences. If the invitation says "semi-formal," "business formal," or "cocktail attire," it's fine to wear a suit to the party.

When wearing a tux, it's best to stick to classic black and white styles. If you need to purchase a suit for your New Year's Eve party, choose a well-tailored black or light gray style that can be worn throughout the upcoming year. Avoid cheesy, holiday-themed ties in favor of subtle prints with touches of festive seasonal colors, such as a cherry red.

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