Black-tie is your opportunity to dress like 007. The black-tie attire applies to formal evening weddings, business award ceremonies, and exclusive private dinners.
Tuxedos and black bow ties are the hallmark staple of black-tie events. You can either wear a black or midnight blue tuxedo.
In fact, dark blue tuxedos were originally worn to black-tie events as they appear equally dark under artificial lighting.
Your dinner jacket should have shawl lapels. Your lapels and the inside of your jacket should have shiny satin facings.
Tuxedos usually have a single-breasted jacket, but a double-breasted jacket is also appropriate.
The tuxedo jacket should only have one silk button. Four silk surgeon buttons will decorate the cuffs of your tuxedo jacket.
Your tuxedo jacket should not have vents. It gives a cleaner and sharper appearance. Also, you should avoid tuxedo jackets with flap pockets or notched lapels, as these features compromise the formality of your suit.
Straight jetted pockets will lend a cleaner aesthetic to your suit. You can either wear a black waistcoat or a cummerbund under your jacket, but never both.
Tuxedo Shirt and Cufflinks
A tuxedo shirt is a white cotton shirt with a twill weave.
The center strip of your dress shirt can be minimalistic, showing no studs (fly front placket). But you can also choose a plain placket that will show your decorative studs.
The third option is to choose a tuxedo shirt with pleats on each side of your placket with visible decorative studs. The front placket will add some extra detailing to your plain white shirt.
You can choose French cuffs, barrel cuffs, or convertible cuffs for your tuxedo shirt. Don’t forget to close your cuffs with an elegant black or silver cufflinks set.
Make sure that your dress watch matches your cufflinks. Wear a silver watch, or even better, a watch with a black leather strap.
The Black Bow Tie
Finally, choose a self-tie bow tie to complete the look. The bow tie is the staple to the black-tie attire, and there’s no way you can circumvent that.
The bow tie’s fabric should be from the same material as the tuxedo jacket’s lapels.
Your pants should be high-waisted with a single line of decorative satin or braid piping down the leg.
Tuxedo pants should have a slight break when meeting the top of the shoe. Tailoring your pants will ensure they don’t hang on the floor or bunch up at your ankles in an unflattering way.
The half-break is usually the best way to tailor the bottom hem of your tuxedo pants. Also, pant breaks that make use of cuffs or turnups are inappropriate for black-tie events.
You can either wear black patent leather lace-up oxfords or opera pumps for a black-tie event. Alternatively, you can wear a pair of black capless leather shoes that aren’t necessarily lace-up oxfords.
Lace-up oxfords have leather soles which makes them fantastic for dancing. They are lightweight and don’t stick to the floor as much as rubber soles do. Wear black calf-high socks with your shoes.
Accessories you should consider are a white or red linen pocket square, a boutonniere, a signet ring, or an opera scarf. Don’t forget your black leather dress watch.
If you choose not to wear a waistcoat or a cummerbund, putting on suspenders can be a good alternative.
Always choose button suspenders, as clip-ons are inappropriate for formal and black tie events.