Trend Report: Black-Tie Rule-Breakers With James Cornwell

, one of Washington’s top stylists, shares his tips for fighting the fashion status quo — Guys Edition

ALTON LANE oxford shirts ($165); Alton Lane, Washington, DC, 646-896-1212 (Photo courtesy of ALTON LANE)

James Cornwell

James Cornwell

James Cornwell is a longtime stylist with numerous credits that include fashion shows, photo shoots, tele- vision and film productions. He is also the founder of Cornwell Styling, the art director for PR at Partners and Photography, and serves as co-host for fashion podcast “Fashion BS.”

Just because the invitation says “black-tie” doesn’t mean your tie has to be black.

Put on some color. I love to see pink, purple or patterns like paisley with a pocket square in the same tone; it doesn’t have to match the pattern of the tie .

Don’t wear a tie at all!

There are some amazing options for tie-less shirts. Shirts that have hand-sewn designs with large colored buttons where the tie would be are an edgy way to express your style. For a very formal look try gold, silver or crystal embellishments.

Most people don’t get semi-formal, especially guys, who tend to break the rules in the wrong way.

Picture this instead: A killer charcoal grey suit, white or light pink French cuff shirt, black skinny tie and all the formal pieces: suspenders, watch and cuff links. Wear patent leather high- t4ops or a pair of old-school Converse.

Most people think formal means a clean shave.

Who doesn’t love a guy in a suit or tux with some scruff? Just make sure it’s neat — No mountain men please.

(Photo by Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

MARC BY (Photo by Peter Michael Dills)

DESIGNER TIES silk ties (price upon request); , 703-761-0700 (Photo courtesy of )

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