THE BLACK TIE DRESS CODE GUIDE
Always in style, Always in fashion
It's a timeless wardrobe essential for every man. The Black Tuxedo exudes style and sophistication.
Alas, most of us mere mortals don’t get to dinner suit up with regularity. But even if you only wear black tie once in a blue moon, you still need to be a black belt for this invitation. Because chances are the occasion will be seriously special: a wedding, awards do, high-stakes poker game, bucks party, fancy dinner do. Whatever it is, you’ll want to ace it.
The History Of Black Tie
Evening wear scholars have traced the origins of black tie to when donning tails for dinner was de rigueur. You’d swap your tailcoat for a smoking jacket in order to have a puff in the drawing room, then revert out of respect for the ladies.
In 1865, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, desired a garment to suit the more relaxed environs of Sandringham House, which was really a sort of getaway castle in Norfolk, England. He would often be dining by himself and wanted something a little bit more casual and easier to wear, so he didn’t have to spread his tails every time he sat down.
What Black Tie Means Today
Black tie was conceived as effectively lounge wear, however nowadays black tie is synonymous with the best chance men have to really make an effort and look smart.
The strict definition of black tie has also relaxed over the years, with an infinite variety of styles and colours available. But while black tie doesn’t have to be black, any urge to stand out should be tempered by a regard for uniformity.
In short: a black tie event is a party where you dress up fancy – not a fancy dress party.
The New Rules For Black Tie
Don’t Always Bet On Black
A midnight blue dinner jacket might seem strange in this day and age, but it’s more historically accurate.
Match Your Metals
Your black tie-appropriate timepiece isn’t the only hardware that will require synchronisation. The trick is to marry your studs, watch and cufflinks.
Oh, and your wedding ring.
If you’re wearing black onyx studs edged with silver, then you want to wear a watch with a silver case; if you’re wearing mother of pearl studs edged with gold, then you want to wear a watch with a gold case.
Play A Team Game
Unless your invitation says ‘black tie creative’ – then withhold the individual flair.
What makes a dinner suit is the cut and fit, and the balance and putting together of the complete outfit, getting the perfection in it. A tux doesnt need to be flamboyant.
Crush It In Velvet
The smoking jacket favourite is breaking out of the drawing room. As well as being advantageous for less formal events, and more fun, as with cocktail attire.
Give Hollywood A Pass
Black tie is not the same as a black suit. Or a black tie. There’s nothing worse than seeing guys slouching around in an evening suit when everyone else is wearing black tie.
A dinner suit jacket will feature contrast lapels, while the trousers have ribbon down the leg – both will usually be made from a material such as satin, grosgrain or faille.
Button Your Flyway
Some like to show off their waistcoats, but as with any tailored jacket, you should fasten it up unless seated.
This custom is also supposedly an invention of the Prince of Wales, albeit an unconscious one. Legend has it that he couldn’t do his waistcoat up all the way after overindulging; so as to flatter – or not offend – him, his companions undid theirs.
Break With Tradition
Style rules are meant to be broken – but there’s a time and a place. Make sure that you’re going to that place at that time before you go crazy.