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What to Wear to a Black Tie Event

Man wearing a black suit and black tie 

 

When most men hear the words Black Tie Event they shudder. They get nervous and tensed. The thought of not only dressing up but knowing the right things to wear can be confusing. Listen up, men; it does not have to be this way. Black tie means special occasions, usually an evening affair. It means you need to wear an outfit unique to anything that you would wear to any other party. No, your business suit that you will wear everyday. There are no worries. A black tie event has its own dress code. If you follow it to the tee you will fit right in. If you go out to rent this outfit they may try to get you to add other fashion accessories. Do not be persuaded. Wear exactly what the dress code says and you will look elegant while at the same time sticking to the code. The Dinner Jacket for Men Let us start with the dinner jacket. First let us just say that a dinner jacket is NOT a suit jacket. It is never alright to wear a suit jacket to a black tie affair. The single-breasted jacket is the best jacket to wear. It is the most formal. There should be no slits to the jacket or any additions. An undecorated shawl lapel is the best black tie option for a black tie affair. This is where the lapel runs in a simple ribbon around the back of the neck. Some men choose the peaked lapel. This is accepted. But if you want to stick to the code of undefined elegance then you should stick with the shawl. Notched lapels are also a choice but these are not considered to be right for a real black tie event. Now for the color of the dinner jacket; They should be black. Midnight blue is also acceptable. But remember the midnight blue will make you stand out more. The whole point of black tie affair is to stick with the dress code and blend in with everyone else. White jackets should NEVER be worn to black tie events.

 

 

Formal Men's Trousers

 

Next there are the trousers. They should be made out of the same material as the dinner jacket and be the same color. The fabric on the trousers should match the lapels on the dinner jacket. A single braid is the most common seam decoration. There is a simple narrow band of fabric that is even more common and is also accepted. There should be no cuffs on the trousers. When it comes to trousers worn for a formal event they should have a waist covering. This could be a waistcoat or a cummerbund. These will need to be held on with suspenders. Do not wear a belt. It will never be accepted. Of course the trousers will sit high on the waist but this is the correct way to wear then for a formal event. Most of these trousers have pleats on the front of them. Men's Formal Waistcoats Do you know what a waistcoat is? It is not a vest though some people call them just that. They button low across the torso. This allows the shirt to be seen. A lot of these waistcoats have their own lapels. Or they may be made out of the same fabric that the dinner jackets lapels are made from. There are waistcoats that have no back and are held on my straps. This is a piece of formal wear designed for comfort. Cummerbunds in Men's Formal wear

 

 

 

 

Man wearing a black waistcoat and a black suit

 

 

If you would rather you could wear a cummerbund instead of a waistcoat. A cummerbund is a wide cloth that goes around your waist. At one time these were worn only in warmer months but now they are acceptable to wear any time of the year. They will be pleated on top. Some of these have pockets in them. Even if they do not, en sometimes sticks tickets into the folds of the cummerbund.

 

 

Black Tie Men's Shirts

 

There is only one color shirt that is accepted to wear to a black tie event and that is white. At no time is another color of shirt accepted. The collars on this shirt should turn down. But at times the sharply-pointed wing collar will work as well. There are some people that say that the wing collar is to tawdry. But that does not mean you cannot wear it. Just remember wearing this kind of collar may draw unwanted attention to you. These white shirts should have doubled-over bib of fabric on the front. They should not have buttons but studs. These should match the cufflinks. There is no choice in cufflinks they must be black, gold or mother-of-pearl. The Black Tie of "Black Tie"The tie should always be black, no exceptions. A fixed length bow tie is the only choice for a black tie event. If you have excess tie it will put a bulge in your tie. The ends of the tie should be as long as the outer corners of your eyes. If you go smaller it will make your head look bigger. The material for the tie needs to match the material of the lapel on the dinner jacket. If it does not, it will make the whole outfit look out of uniformity. Never ever wear a pre-tied or a clip-on tie. Your tie needs to meet the black tie dress code to a tee. This is very important.

 

 

Men's Shoes in Black Tie

 

If you are a man who goes to a lot of black tie events then you need to invest in a good pair of shoes that are strictly for these events. These can be any black patent-leather dress shoe. The style is your choice. Plain toe oxfords are a great choice for black tie. If you cannot afford an expensive pair of shoes or you do not attend black tie events enough to warrant buying them then you can wear a pair of black leather shoes but you will need to shine them. Remember these shoes will show even the slightest scuff so you will have to be extra careful. The real deal should actually have a black bow on the front. Some people think this is to girly and will not wear them but if you are going for the classic black tie look they should be worn with bows. Final Details of Black Tie Menswear There is one more detail that we cannot not leave out; This is a pocket square. A black tie outfit must have a pocket square to be correct. People will notice if you do not have one. You can fold this as you choose. It must be white. There are some people that will simply put the pocket square in the pocket and let it take its own shape. This is fine. But the classical folds are more accepted. Do not use a pre- folded pocket square. Fold it yourself. This simple little thing can be a big difference in if you are dressed correctly for a black tie event.

 

 

Tuxedo and Black Tie Boutonnieres.

 

 

Man wearing a grey tuxedo with a boutonniere

 

 

Now when it comes to a boutonniere it is your choice whether you want to wear it or not. A boutonniere is a small flower that is in the buttonhole of the left lapel. Some black tie events demand that they be worn. You will need to check before hand. If you have a florist that can make these flowers in the right way to be appropriate for a black tie event then by all means do so. The flower can usually be of your personalized taste. But there are special black tie events where all guests are required to wear a certain color and kind of flower.

 

 

Outerwear for Formal Dress

 

A lot of black tie events are held in the colder months. This means you will need to wear a coat to and from the event. This coat should always be black, midnight blue or a dark gray. This coat needs to be in a material like Gore-Tex or nylon. You can also wear a white scarf. Black or dark gray gloves are also accepted. Some black hats are also accepted like fedoras or homburgs. As you can see there is a specific dress code for black tie events. It is a classic code that has been around forever. It is what makes these events “black tie”. If you make sure that you follow this code to a tee, you will walk in the door of the event feeling confident that you are dressed appropriately; and maybe impress some women in the party. Do not let the mention of a black tie event scare you away. If black tie events are new to you, don't fret - as long as you are dressed correctly you will enjoy it, black tie events are usually elegant events and you will fit right with your elegant black tie outfit. Photo Sources: (1) (2) (3) (4)


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