In simple terms, “black-tie” refers to a particular dress code for men. It typically consists of the traditional tuxedo, a formal shirt, trousers, and matching accessories. Oftentimes, this type of dress code is implemented for formal events like weddings and galas where wearing a casual outfit is out of the question.
While it might seem a little daunting to dress up for such formal occasions, it’s not all that difficult to put together a black-tie outfit. To give you a better idea of what you need to wear for this kind of event, here’s a complete guide of what makes for black-tie attire, from bow ties to dress socks:
In black-tie events, the most important part of your attire is the tuxedo. Also referred to as a dinner jacket, this piece is actually what makes the entire outfit look more formal. Unfortunately, people usually mistake suits for tuxedos even though various points set them apart.
In general, tuxedos have a satin or grosgrain facing on lapels, buttons, and pocket trims, unlike formal suits that are covered in the same fabric through and through. While these details might seem unimportant, the truth is that they make the physical difference between the two distinguishable. These minute details also make wearing bow ties and cummerbunds look better when paired with tuxedos rather than suits.
In general, tuxedos have a satin or grosgrain facing on lapels, buttons, and pocket trims, unlike formal suits that are covered in the same fabric through and through.
To serve as a reference, most tuxedos come in black wool or midnight blue colors. You can also choose between single-breasted and double-breasted styles as these are both acceptable for formal events. The pockets of a tuxedo should not have flaps. Instead, they’re supposed to be jetted. You can also opt for one that has a vent, but tuxedos without vents are considered more formal.
Unlike normal dress shirts worn with suits, a tuxedo shirt has a more elegant style as it’s designed to be worn with formal attire. It has a few functional differences compared to traditional dress shirts. These differences can be spotted based on the type of fabric, collar, and cuff. Additionally, tuxedo shirts only come in white, since it’s the sole acceptable color for black-tie clothing.
The most important thing to remember when choosing trousers for your formal attire is that they must be constructed from the same fabric or material as the tuxedo you’ll be wearing. More than that, it must also match the type of facing your jacket has, creating uniformity. Also, tuxedo trousers are not like the normal trousers that you wear with suits because they take buttoned suspenders, not belts.
Vest or Cummerbunds
Wearing a vest or cummerbund is optional, but these are often used when wearing single-breasted dinner jackets. There’s no need to use a waist covering if you’re wearing a double-breasted tuxedo, since this type of jacket remains buttoned and closed. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the fabric of your vest or cummerbund must match with the jacket facings. As an additional tip, you’ll never go wrong should you choose to wear one made out of silk.
Any black-tie look is not complete without an actual black tie. Hence, this piece is equally as important as your tuxedo or dining jacket. Traditionally, you’re required to wear a black bow tie to match your outfit.
Don’t forget to complete your outfit with perfectly-polished leather oxfords and silky dress socks. Remember that your socks must be long enough not to expose any part of your ankle or leg when sitting down. Also, you can opt for leather pumps instead of oxfords as these shoes are traditionally worn for formal events.
Remember that your socks must be long enough not to expose any part of your ankle or leg when sitting down.
Truth be told, it’s much easier to come up with black-tie outfits because you need not mix and match colors the way you do with business suits. While there are strict guidelines on the kinds of pieces you can wear for this particular dress code, they can be quite helpful in putting together a fitting ensemble for formal events.