Black-Tie Dress Code – Dos And Don’ts

Black-tie is one of the most formal dress codes and, if dressed right, can be the perfect opportunity to stand out and make a lasting impression. That leads us to the question; what are the dos and don’ts of the black tie dress code.

Before we detail the specific items of clothing required for black-tie events, let’s first refresh ourselves on what constitutes a black-tie event. Simply put, a black-tie event signifies importance, such as; awards ceremonies, milestone birthday parties, grandiose weddings or prestigious balls. These events are often memorable, meaning there’s no time for cutting corners.

Now that we know what kind of event requires a black-tie dress code, let’s get into the specifics of what clothing items are required for men.

1. Dinner Jacket

A black dinner jacket, also known as a tuxedo, is essential to any man’s black-tie attire. The dinner jacket should fit well, not too tight and not too loose. You want the jacket to hug your body without constricting your movement.

The silk-lapelled jacket maketh the black-tie outfit. Black-tie events traditionally see the dinner jacket tailored in silk, but in modern times wool barathea has cemented itself as a sophisticated substitute. Alternatively, a velvet jacket is just as acceptable and, in some cases, chicer. For upcoming summer events, look for lighter-coloured dinner jackets such as tan, grey and light blue.

Do not wear a traditional suit, sport coats or blazers; the black-tie dress code strictly means a tuxedo or formal dinner jacket outfit.

2. Trousers

The rule of thumb is that as long as the trousers are dark, fitted and match the jacket, you’ll be safe. Ideally, the trousers accompanying your dinner jacket should also be made from the same fabric. A pair of trousers with a satin stripe running down the side of each leg is a classy touch and looks great when paired with a matching dinner jacket. Additionally, trousers can have braces to increase comfort and permit the belly to indulge.

Two glaring no-go’s for trousers are; having no more than one hem and certainly not wearing anything that clings.

3. Shirt

The shirt is the base for the black-tie ensemble. A black-tie shirt, formally known as a dress shirt, is the right way to go. Preferably one traditionally pleated with a winged collar and holds for cufflinks on the sleeve.

Going shirtless is a definite no-no. Now that’s cleared up, stay away from open-collar dress shirts as the black-tie dress code stipulates a bow tie or a formal necktie is required.

4. Shoes

Firstly, do not keep your black office shoes on. Black-tie events are a step up from your everyday work function, so your footwear should reflect that. A black shoe, leather and patent is the classic route that never fails. Depending on your outfit, velvet slippers are another solid option too. Just as important as the shoes are the socks you wear with them. Look for mid-calf socks in classic natural colours such as black and navy.

When looking for shoes for your upcoming event, both opened-toed and tennis shoes are the two options we recommend to steer clear of.

5. Tie

All stipulations made for the jacket apply to the bow tie. Bow-ties should always be hand-tied, so give yourself half an hour for preparation time.

Unsurprisingly, the one golden rule for a black tie event is the tie can never be white. White-ties are reserved for the white-tie event, which is among the loftiest of dress codes.

6. Accessories

A slim dress watch and cufflinks are brilliant options to add flavour to your outfit. A pocket square is always a nice touch that adds personality to the outfit. A waistcoat is also an essential black-tie dress code clothing item.

Avoid large and chunky accessories as they take away from the sophistication of the look. Keep it simple and elegant.

Dressing for a black-tie event doesn’t have to be daunting. Following the guidelines and having the right clothing items, you can easily put together a fashionable and dapper outfit that will make you look your best. Remember, the key is to keep it simple and let the quality of the garments speak for itself.

The black-tie dress code is the highest level of formality in men’s fashion and is sure to make you stand out at your next event. Now that you know what clothing items are required for a black-tie event, as well as some tips on how to put together the perfect outfit, all that’s left to do is polish your shoes, straighten your tie and enjoy the event.