Black Tie Basics

black tie pic

Black tie means a tuxedo or a dinner jacket.

The tuxedo is usually black, but in summer, white jackets are often worn instead.

The key to dressing up, though, is to have fun while looking good.

When you’re wearing a tux, you should be wearing a white tuxedo shirt with French cuffs and a wing collar or a medium turn down collar.

black tie with girl

Wing collars do not work with shawl collar jackets.

The wings should always be behind the tie

Rent or buy? If you’re well advised, you can look elegant in a tuxedo rental. Do the math: How often will you wear a tuxedo in your life? Generally, it’s worth the cost to buy if you see yourself wearing it at least a few times.

Most tux shirts are made to wear with studs, and usually stud sets come with matching cufflinks. Often studs are gold or silver, but if you want to keep it simple you can find white studs that look like pearly buttons

Whether it’s a bow tie or a long tie, your neckwear should match the lapel facing on your jacket. Satin with satin, grosgrain with grosgrain. Traditionalists wear bow ties, and it’s certainly a far more formal look.

tux with tie

Beware of the phrase ‘Black Tie Optional’ on a wedding invitation, it could unwittingly lead you head first into an embarrassing trap!

Your 1st option is obviously to dress in full black tie and to feel confident that you have not risked putting a sartorial foot wrong.

Alternatively you could avail of this chance to dress in a casual yet dapper way. The use of the word ‘optional’ on the invitation is merely an indicator that a tuxedo is not strictly essential. However the dress code should be interpreted as follows:  A conservative dark suit,  A crisp white shirt,  A classic tie,  A pair of smart shoes, A pair of dark socks

It can be worthwhile speaking to a member of the wedding party beforehand to ascertain if the bride & groom really mean ‘optional’ or, confusingly, if they expect black tie to be honoured.

If this is not possible, find out as much as you can about the venue, and speak to other guests to suss out what they are wearing. This will shed light on whether you will look foolish in anything other than a tuxedo.

‘Creative Black Tie’ is another dress code that causes widespread confusion among the male species. In short it allows for a colourful shirt, tie or cummerbund and is a great opportunity to embrace current fashion trends. You can opt for one or a combination of the following:  Black/coloured shirt, Coloured/patterned bow tie, Coloured/patterned cummerbund.

It is worth taking the time to observe and decipher a dress code; it makes for a more relaxed guest and avoids a memorable faux pas being made!

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