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MEN'S FASHION

Hello, anti-tux

Start with one dressy piece -- say, a velvet jacket. Play it off polished basics and accessories with a real sense of style. Then hit the holiday party.

December 09, 2007|Melissa Magsaysay and Adam Tschorn | Times Staff Writers

For men, getting dressed up is not as black and white as it used to be. Looking polished now can be as easy as pairing pieces from contemporary labels with formal fare and then kicking it up a notch with accessories. Call it the "anti-tux" -- or an a la carte way of going dressy that's tailored to your personality and your closet.

Coloring outside the sartorial lines is up to you (and quite popular these days), but to be clear, "black tie" on an invitation means a traditional tuxedo jacket, tux pants with a matching side-seam, bow tie and patent-leather shoes.

"I'm overdressed for everything," says Decades boutique owner Cameron Silver, an avowed tux lover. "But sometimes I'll pair a tux jacket with a loafer instead of a tux shoe depending on the event." Silver has also noticed that other combinations, like the black suit and four-in-hand tie, have crept into the formal arena. "That outfit's kind of a hybrid tux now," he said, which makes the mix-and-match a kind of "anti-tux."

The easiest route to an anti-tux is by building around the dressiest item -- a deep blue velvet Ben Sherman blazer dresses up a pair of black, wax-coated Diesel jeans, an Armani blazer and a pair of Stubbs & Wootton evening slippers can take a pair of Levi's Capital E jeans from daytime to dapper.

Don't do evening slippers? You can still get away with wearing your everyday sneakers without getting dogged at a formal affair. Tan leather Vans look as rich as high-end loafers when worn with a Rag & Bone tux jacket, Ben Sherman tux shirt, Reiss scarf and Lacoste jeans. The piece de resistance and instant conversation piece? A feather lapel pin from Gucci.

Whimsical accessories such as skull-and-crossbones cuff links give a bad-boy spin to the anti-tux, while vintage gold and ruby cuff links inject a touch of color. Nixon's "The Score" watch is sleek and silver with a classy retro flair that can easily go from day to night, casual to dressy. And Chrome Hearts' weighty, punk-inspired pieces, such as a fleur-de-lis pendant anchored by a safety pin, look rich.

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Photographs by Annie Cusack, styling by Melissa Magsaysay, grooming by Sonia Lee at Exclusive Artists, models August and Adam at Next L.A, fashion assistant Ronit Nabi.

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