How to Do Black Tie Events in Style
A gentleman of distinction will receive invitations to numerous events and will always dress for the occasion. Admittedly, there’s a worrying trend of underdressing that may have left you wondering if an effort is even worth it. However, showing up in sweatpants when everyone else is wearing a dinner suit will probably get you banned from future gatherings.
The black tie dress code is actually quite common and you may come across it in weddings, award ceremonies and even office Christmas parties. If you’re unsure what it entails or if you just want to know whether there’s anything you can do to upscale your game, read our blog and ace your next appearance.
What does black tie actually mean?
Just to be clear, the one thing it doesn’t mean is an actual black tie. You’re expected to wear a dark dinner suit or, as it’s called in the U.S., tuxedo. This consists of:
- A dark dinner jacket, preferably single-breasted and with satin peak or shawl lapels
- Matching fitted trousers with an optional satin braid along the seam
- White dress shirt with double cuffs, which require cufflinks, and a wing or turndown collar for the bow tie
- Matching bow tie, usually black, which shouldn’t be a clip-on
Can I be creative?
The black tie dress code used to be very rigid. It was effectively a “uniform”, which meant all guests looked the same and one had to rely on manners, merit and conversation skills to stand out. Nowadays hosts accept, or even encourage, creativity and, provided you respect the theme, you can definitely explore different colours and edgier designs.
Are accessories even allowed?
Yes, provided they work well with the whole concept of black tie. The following are essential or, at the very least, acceptable:
- Dress shoes: A pair of black oxfords, in patent leather or meticulously polished.
- Suit socks: These are thin and long because your legs needs to remain covered even when you sit.
- Cufflinks: Dress shirt sleeves close with cufflinks instead of buttons. All Aristocracy London dress shirts come with free cufflinks.
- Wrist watch: Not essential but, if you do wear one, make it classy.
- Waistcoat or Cummerbund: Our dinner suits come with a waistcoat but you can purchase an additional cummerbund and bow tie set and replace the waistcoat to create a second look.
- Pocket Square: A black dinner suit, accompanied by a black bow tie, is matched with a white pocket square in a presidential fold. Both our ties and cummerbund sets include a pocket square for your convenience
Now that you’ve got your black tie outfit sorted, don’t forget to pair it with the right attitude and manners. Start by checking our blogs on The Rules Of Handshake Etiquette or The Etiquette Tips For Making Introductions.