Black Tie Affairs: Dressing For The Event
Updated: Jan 27
Properly dressing for a black tie event means first understanding that the term ‘black tie’ means. For those that have never been to a black tie affair, the term refers to the most formal of wear for an occasion – men are expected to wear tuxedos and women floor-length ball gowns. If you have never been to a black tie event or never dressed up to the max, 8th Lining is here to cover all the bases and answer any questions you may have about the dress code. With our assistance, you will look the part from head to toe.
The Dinner Jacket
There are a multitude of dinner jacket options for a black tie affair, but in order to play it safe, we suggest a single-breasted, one-button option with a peak lapel, a formal option that stays firmly formal and simple without making any waves. When it comes to black tie dress, a strong and simple statement goes a long way. Black tie dinner jackets are commonly made from wool barathea, a matte that appears darker to the eye. But if you want to make a bit of a style statement, a black or dark blue velvet dinner jacket is a nice touch.
A fitted white dress shirt with double cuffs and holes for cufflinks are the standard for a black tie event. There are two options to choose from – either a pleated or unpleated stiff cotton that comes with a turndown color. There are no hard and fast rules for buttons, so you can opt for either black or white.
A bowtie definitely looks more sophisticated if it is one you actually tie yourself, but pre-tied or clipped options are also available. Just be sure to select the proper size to ensure that it is proportional to your head as well as your collar. Basic black is the go-to color here, but again, you can opt for a dark blue, burgundy, or green as a stylistic alternative.
Although you don’t have to wear a cummerbund, adding one will give your final look that extra boost. Just be sure that it is a traditional cummerbunds with pleats facing up. If you prefer to wear a waistcoat, remember that you are never to wear the two of these together. Whichever one you do decide on, the material should cover the trouser band and conceal the bottom of your crisp white shirt. Basic black or other dark colors work the best for a black tie event.
The trousers you wear at a black tie event should be fitted, dark, and match the dinner jacket perfectly. Traditional black tie trousers come with no belt loops, but braces are the best option for such an event as they will smooth the trousers out and provide more comfort throughout the night.
Only polished black shoes are in order for a black tie event, so be sure to invest in a great pair if you want to look your absolute best. Patent loafers and Oxfords are two options to consider, or alternatively a pair of dark velvet slippers with thick dark socks work as well.
To add a touch of class to your black tie outfit, an elegant, slim dress watch is a perfect addition. When paired with a pair of understated cufflinks, you cannot go wrong. Just be sure that both are made from the same (or matching) metal. These are really the only accessories you will need for such an event, but you can also opt for a subtle, low-key pocket square or white handkerchief in your suit jacket pocket.
These are the essential guidelines to menswear for a black tie event. Follow them to the letter and you will remain firmly in step with traditional fashion rules.