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The Ultimate Guide for Wearing Black Tie

Don't fret if you are invited to an event with a black tie dress code, and it is your first time attending one. It may sound intimidating, but with some pointers, it's not that hard to pull off. But first, you might want to know what a black tie dress code actually means. It is a dress code for formal events that usually start after 6pm. Read the invite carefully, and determine if it says black tie, black tie preferred, or black tie optional.

If it says black tie preferred, you are not required to wear a black tie, but it's better if you do since the host and majority of the guests will wear it. Black tie optional is also similar to the preferred since you are not required to go black tie, but it's still encouraged that you do, although you can expect that not too many guests will, giving the event a more laid-back vibe. But if it says black tie without the words preferred or optional, you must adhere to the stated dress code. Here's a guide to ensure that you'll look dashing and confident at your first black tie event.

Mad Men
Mad Men

Get a tuxedo 

A black tie dress code calls for a dinner jacket or tuxedo. Unlike a regular suit, a tuxedo has pockets, buttons, and lapels made from satin, which is a different material from the rest. A suit is more for black tie preferred and optional events. You will be surprised that a party planning site carries information on where to get your tuxedo or your entire ensemble for the event. It doesn't just provide a list of suppliers for food, venues, entertainment, and logistics for various events, but also suppliers of event wear, including black tie. 

Match with trousers 

The trousers should be dark and must match the colour of the tuxedo jacket. Plus, it should fit you well. Avoid going for trousers that are too long or too short for you. A customised pair of trousers will look perfect on you, and you will feel more confident in attending the event.

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren

Wear a dress shirt 

A pleated white shirt is a safe bet. The collar can be winged or regular, while the buttons can be black or white. A cummerbund is an optional but stylish choice. If you decide to wear one, opt for a non-pleated white shirt to keep it simple and prevent the look from being too busy. 

Add a bow tie 

You will not go wrong with a black bow tie, but if you prefer a different colour, that's okay as long as it works well with the colour of your tuxedo. The only colour you cannot have for a bow tie is white, as it's for white tie events only. 

Choose a waistcoat 

A waistcoat is also optional. A black vest is the most popular choice. If you want something that will give you that extra touch of sophistication, include this in your ensemble.

Wear black dress shoes 

Leave your everyday black office shoes at home and go for the more formal and refined-looking black dress shoes. Those that are round-toed are the best options. If you prefer velvet shoes, that's also acceptable, but not suede. The latter doesn't look good in bright lights. Wear black socks too. It's not the time to experiment with your sock colours. 

Finish your overall look with simple cufflinks. A pocket square, also known as a pocket handkerchief, is also an excellent addition. If you want to wear a watch, choose a slim one with a black leather strap, and if possible, with a gold or silver casing.


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