From Sean Connery to Paul Newman, only the swankiest of dressers have managed to master black tie with great panache. But how do you join such fine company? Luckily, it’s far simpler than you might think…
To help, we’ve put together a handy guide explaining exactly what to wear to a black tie event.
What Suit to Wear to a Black Tie Event
Otherwise known as the tuxedo, the dinner suit is your most important purchase. Not to be confused with a classic black suit, the tux has contrast peak lapels (often in silk), detailing on the buttons and braiding down the trouser legs. Worn buttoned (you need to avoid showing your waist), your dinner jacket should leave a slither of cuff on show, whilst your trousers look best just hitting the laces on your shoes.
What Shirt to Wear to a Black Tie Event
When choosing your shirt, it’s all about being understated – rather than looking to stand out from the crowd. The root of all black tie mistakes stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the dress code, so it’s important to follow our advice and keep things classic. Ideally, you’ll want to choose a white dress shirt with some detailing on the front – such as pleating or black buttons – with a classic or wing collar. A normal white shirt isn’t a deal-breaker, but if you go for this option, pick one with a double cuff to keep things looking formal.
What Shoes to Wear to a Black Tie Event
Get the shoes wrong and it can ruin your whole look. Yes, really, they’re that important. To avoid such a disaster, you’ll want to choose a pair that match the dressy nature of your evening suit and shirt – nothing clumpy or overly decorative. Our recommendation would be a pair of black Derby shoes; timeless and fuss-free, they’re just what the doctor ordered.
The Best Accessories for a Black Tie Event
Whilst the accessories that are deemed appropriate are limited, that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. To master this formal dress code, simply invest in a black silk bow tie (never a tie) and a classic white pocket square (folded square). For an added touch of luxury, a pair of subtle cufflinks would finish things off perfectly.
Discover our black tie essentials, or find out more about the black tie dress code.