School formals are a chance for the boys to dress to impress

NICE THREADS: It doesn't take much for boys to pull together a smooth look for their school formal, but it does help if they know what they like.

NICE THREADS: It doesn't take much for boys to pull together a smooth look for their school formal, but it does help if they know what they like.

THE occasion of the school formal is as much about a chance for the boys to dress to impress as for the girls.

And while it may seem easy for lads to scrub up and choose something flash to wear, it is not necessarily as simple as all that.

For many boys, this is probably the first time they've ever worn a suit, let alone had to buy one.

How does one even start suiting up?

When it comes to boys buying a suit for their formal there are two distinct camps - those who know what they want ... and those who don't.

Judy Lewis has 25 years experience in textiles and fashion, and said helping boys buy a suit was "rather interesting".

"If they've got a girlfriend they'll get told what to wear," Judy said.

"If not, some of them have definite ideas of what they want to wear, while those that are unsure bring Mum."

The modern scourge of being bombarded with a plethora of visual information also helps inform what suit style is desired.

"They come in, pull out their phone and say they have seen this and want something that looks like that," Judy said.

"However, they need to take into account things like the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere having different seasons."

Judy said slim fit double-breasted suits are making a comeback with boys keen for the "Gatsby" or Peaky Blinders look, reminiscent of the 1920s.

Boys will soon tell you if they don't like something. As long as they're happy with what they're in, they'll wear anything.

Judy Lewis

The range of colours can also be daunting with some boys specifying classic black, with others preferring blue or grey. Judy does find it harder to get them to move away from flat colours and think light checks or plaids.

"A lot of them don't have any idea, so they'll be guided by what you tell them," she said.

"You just need to explain to them why it works and why it looks good."

"It is just a matter of getting the right size then they'll get the shirt and tie, shoes, everything to go with it."

Once they have their suit sorted, it may take a little while to get used to it.

"It is a different way of dressing," Judy said. "Most of them have only been in shorts or jeans, sneakers or thongs.

"On the other hand, you do get those boys who really know what they want.

"Boys will soon tell you if they don't like something. As long as they're happy with what they're in, they'll wear anything."

One dressing tip for suit jackets is to always leave the bottom button undone, whether there are two or three buttons.

It goes without saying that accessorising is also an important consideration.

"They're liking the pocket handkerchiefs, which can be different, but as long as there are similar colours and it all ties together," Judy said.

"Unless the suit is black, boys tend to go with wine or tan coloured shoes. We then match it with the belt as close as possible."

In the end, it does all come down to personal preference and taste.

"For example, there are those who are very definite about bow ties," Judy said.

"Or it could be choosing a floral short with a plain tie or a white short with a wild tie.

"It is all about what pulls together and looks good. They get an 'a-ha' moment and think 'I like that'."