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What to Wear to: a Movie Premiere

Planning the Perfect Outfit for an Exciting Night on the Red Carpet

Date: 2022-09-06

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the most hotly anticipated annual events in the city.

With internationally celebrated movie stars jetting in from all corners of the globe – to convene in little old Toronto, ‘The Six’ most certainly has a tangible buzz in the atmosphere throughout the entirety of the festival.

Attending any TIFF movie premiere is exciting – no matter if you’re seeing an indie art house flick or a shoe-ins for Best Picture at the following year’s Academy Awards – but if you asked us, dressing up for a premiere is almost equally enjoyable as the show.

To ensure your movie debut outfit doesn’t fall short of your red carpet best, read or guide on what to wear to a TIFF premiere here.

A Dressed-Down Tuxedo

If – and only if – you were personally involved in the production of the premiering film and you personally received an invite to the event then you are permitted to show up in a tuxedo.

However, it’s important to remember that this isn’t The Oscars, and few people will treat their get-ups as such. A slightly dressed-down tuxedo offers a fun compromise between showing reverence for the event and awareness of its social gravitas.

What do we mean by dressed-down? Kill the cummerbund, lose the tie, swap your shirt for some knitwear, flick off your socks, and trade in your patent leather shoes for a simple pair of loafers.

Remember: There’s nothing lamer than a glorified movie-goer dressing up as though they directed the thing themselves. That is, unless you can use it to finagle your way into the official after party...

A Soft Sport Jacket

If you’ve reluctantly come around to the idea that TIFF just isn’t the place to showcase your best black-tie ‘fit, then at least you can take solace in knowing opportunity still exists for you to showcase your love of tailoring at the festival. That being said, you’re going to have to tone things down quite a bit if you don’t want to look out of place.

Instead of your velvet-tipped tux, reach instead for a soft, unconstructed sport jacket. Not only will this keep you from looking too try-hard at the premiere, but will also allow you to sit much more comfortably in your seat for the film’s run-time.

If you really feel the need to jazz things up, add in a contrasting pocket square to make the night worth your while.

Some Dark Denim Jeans

Pare down your tailoring up top with some simple dark denim jeans down below. This style move isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s stayed around this long for a reason. It’s practical, comfortable, contemporary, and essentially always looks good.

Feel free to go for a slimmer cut but don’t go anywhere near skinny, which is very much not en vogue within today’s artsy film circles. As for colour, a dark indigo will go with everything and will seamlessly transition from evening into night once the film is finished. And then from there, your night out on the town, of course.

Your Favourite Leather Loafers

You could get away with sneakers here, but why take an opportunity like a movie premiere to dress down when a pair of leather loafers would mark the occasion so much better? Simply cuff the hems of your designer denim jeans, exposing their stylish selvedge stitching, and slide on your loafer of choice (worn sans socks, naturally).

Going sockless is a subtle way of saying, “I’m part of TIFF’s ‘it’ crowd” instead of “I’m part of TIFF’s IT crowd.” Not that there’s anything wrong with working in IT, but everyone knows bare ankles are film fans’ kryptonite.

An Extra Nice Knit

TIFF typically takes place during mid-September, and in Toronto, that means one might encounter a whole host of different weather forecasts whilst attending. Depending on what your most trusted weather app is calling for on the night of your premiere, choose a knitted underpinning for your soft sport jacket accordingly.

If it feels like summer’s still clinging on well into September, a Pima Cotton or silk-blended T-Shirt is a great choice. If the weather’s feeling closer to fall, then a cashmere crewneck or turtleneck sweater will help keep you insulated without adding any unfashionable bulk.

Whatever the night’s forecast calls for, keep your knitwear simple. That means no attention-grabbing patterns or vibrant colours – blacks, greys, navys, and whites are the way to go, giving your jacket the starring role it deserves.

A Classic Watch

There’s nothing more obnoxious than watching a film in-theatre only to be distracted by someone’s incessantly pinging smartwatch. While we’re sure it would be fascinating to track your heart rate changes during the film’s hottest, heaviest scenes, glowing screens of any kind just aren’t kosher at these types of festivals.

We advise a classically inspired timepiece instead – you know, the ones without the built-in alarm clocks. Take a style cue from the stars of Hollywood’s golden era and instead opt for something with some vintage, silver screen appeal. Go for a leather strap to match your loafers and a nice clean face to match yours. Trust us, your step-counter isn’t going to be very active during the show anyway.