Style Guide

What to wear to a black tie event?

With the party season in full swing, there’s a good chance you may have been invited to a black tie event or two.  Whether it’s corporate or social, first impressions count, so let us help you dress to impress with the ultimate black tie guide from Ties R Us.

What is a black tie event?

So you’ve got the invitation, you’re looking forward to the night, then you suddenly stop and think, hang on a minute, what is a black tie event?  If like us, your mind instantly conjures up ideas of James Bond or celebrity red carpet events then, to be honest, you’re not a million miles away.  A formal event? Yes. A chance to look and feel your best? Also yes. A reason to panic? No no no. A black-tie event is a special occasion that requires a step up from your usual night out ensemble.  An important business event, prestigious awards ceremony or a New Years Eve ball are just some of the reasons to host a black-tie event, all of which give you the chance to shine, and we don’t just mean your shoes!  

What to wear to a black tie event?

While we appreciate you may not have black tie attire in your everyday wardrobe, it’s easy to create the perfect outfit depending on the level of formality that is required.  Sometimes a black tie is optional, meaning a formal dress code is expected but you won’t be turned away if you don’t have a bow tie, a sharp suit will be perfectly fine, or a 3 piece if you want to take it to the next level.   However, on other occasions you’ll need the works, so let’s break it down. . .

Trousers – Black, smart, crisp and clean.  Trousers should be well fitting, erring on the side of a slimmer fit as opposed to a wide leg because no-one wants to look like a scene out of Big wearing their Dad’s suit!

Jacket –  The famous dinner jacket, or tuxedo as it’s also known, complete with satin or silk lapels and of course, single-breasted.  For a modern twist you could opt for a velvet jacket or even a glitzy jacket if it’s “creative black tie”, but if in doubt stick with what you know and keep it simple in black.

Shirt – A white dress shirt with winged collars for the bow tie is a must.  A pleated front is optional but adds a little extra sophistication. It’s not often you get the chance to go all out, so go for the pleats we say.

Bow tie – A black bow tie, to match the suit, naturally.  Hand-tied or elasticated is perfectly acceptable as long as it’s straight.  At Ties R Us, we stock a selection of handmade satin bow ties to complement the satin of the jacket lapels perfectly.  You could even at a satin pocket square too, for a little extra definition.  

Cufflinks –  Understated.  A little bling is ok but novelty or brightly coloured cufflinks are not.  If your shirt has black buttons, then black cufflinks would be an ideal match but if your shirt has white or covered buttons, a simple cufflink will suffice.  We recommend keeping things monochrome in black and white for a super smooth look.

Shoes – Dark, preferably black, clean and tidy.  Don’t let your shoes let you down when the rest of your attire is impeccable.  

Did you know?

The dinner jacket dates back to 1865 when the Prince of Wales ordered a short midnight blue jacket as an alternative to the more formal tailcoat which the upper class wore every evening, how ironic.  Originally known as less formal evening wear, the dinner jacket eventually became socially accepted and the tailcoat was limited to extremely formal occasions. Moving onto more recent times, black tie styling has changed throughout the decades, but the importance remains the same.  

What to wear to a black tie wedding?

Who doesn’t love a good wedding?  A chance to dress up, share an intimate day with the special couple and then, of course, party the night away.  But if you’ve been invited to a black tie wedding, that’s a whole different ball game. Don’t expect to see knee slides on the dance floor at a black tie wedding, this is a formal event, with no exceptions.  Men are expected to wear formal black tie attire unless stated otherwise and women are expected to wear a formal gown. So if you have been invited to a black tie wedding then simply refer to the above guide, to ensure you arrive in style . . . just be careful not to outdo the groom!   

You Might Also Like