Morning dress is a particular category of men's formal dress. Outside of court dress, it is the most formal type of clothing worn. Despite the name, it may be worn at any time before 5 PM; however, many are wearing this clothing style later. The correct equivalent formal dress for evening occasions, after 5pm, is white tie (see evening dress).
Morning dress consists of:
- a morning coat,
- a waistcoat (US:vest), which may be single- or double-breasted,
- a pair of formal trousers, worn with braces (US:suspenders),
- a double-cuffed shirt,
- a stiff white collar,
- a cravat or tie (some people, particularly at weddings, prefer an ascot),
- black formal shoes.
- A black silk or grey top hat, which may be omitted
Suitably formal gloves in suede, chamois or kid leather may also be worn.
The coat is usually black, in which case the trousers will almost always be grey striped. Alternatively, a morning suit of grey coat, waistcoat and trousers can be worn. The latter is especially popular on the Thursday of the Royal Ascot race meeting.
The waistcoat was for many years almost always grey, with buff or white as alternatives. Nowadays coloured and patterned waistcoats are sometimes seen, but these are really only suitable for weddings. A black waistcoat is the most formal option, being worn for funerals, memorial services and with academic dress. Sometimes a white slip, an under-waistcoat just showing inside the top opening of the waistcoat, is worn.
The trousers should not have turn-ups (cuffs), and should have one pleat to each leg. Braces should be worn to prevent the waistband from appearing beneath the waistcoat.
The shirt should have double cuffs fastened with cufflinks. It would normally, and most formally, be white, but if a coloured or striped shirt is worn, the cuffs should ideally be white. A white stiff collar is worn, normally of the plain turned-down variety, though with an Ascot a wing collar is worn.
Previously, a grey or (if at a funeral) black tie was obligatory. Now all colours are worn.
Shoes should be of the traditional, Oxford type, black, and highly polished or of patent leather. Spats were once frequently seen with morning dress, but are now rarely worn.