Basics For Dressing Black Tie
The black tie event, invented in England, dates back to the mid 1800’s from a fashion standard created as an accommodation to the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII of England. The dress code for this occasion has virtually replaced all other required attire for formal events in terms of popularity and worldwide recognition.
The black tie event is a cultural remnant of the imperialistic influence of Great Britain, from the days when Britannia rules the waves and dominated the world, but it has surpassed its totalitarian roots and now become the most popular style of choice for formal events. The continuing popularity of this formal attire has become a matter of choice not imposition and is well accepted as formal attire virtually anywhere in the world. There are definitely standards for such elegant events that still predominate to this day.
This is true testimony to the staying power of the black tie event. The black tie invitation has replaced the much more formal white-tie dress and offers an alternative to the white tie event which has waned in popularity. Black tie attire became vastly more popular than white tie attire and reigns supreme to this day. The formal required attire consists of the following:
* Dinner Jacket (that is either black or very dark navy blue)
* Trousers (that match the dinner jacket)
* White Waistcoat or Cummerbund
* White Dress Shirt with a turn-down or wing collar
* Black Bow Tie
* Shirt Studs with Cufflinks (that match each other)
* Black Dress Socks (silk or fine wool)
* Black Dress Shoes (that are highly polished)
The most common form of the black dinner jacket is the single-breasted jacket, although double-breasted versions are acceptable. The lapels should be made of silk The trousers do not have cuffs or belt loops because there is not a use for a belt, instead suspenders are used. The waistcoast or cummerbund should be low cut.
Traditionally, the dress shirt is made from cotton or fine linen and its color is either white or off-white complemented with a turn down collar. The black bow tie should be made of silk and it is preferable not to wear a fake tie if you can find a real one and tie it properly. The dress shoes are traditional formal well-polished pumps or oxfords. Avoid wearing any shoe with laces as they are not appropriate for a black tie event.
As for accessories, you can make a choice between a pocket square or wearing a boutonniere. A white linen pocket square is very dapper when placed in the pocket of the dinner jacket which would seem empty without it. The alternative is to wear a boutonniere which is a single flower placed in the buttonhole of the left lapel. You should not wear both. If you choose to go with the boutonniere then you can pick a single bud of a flower that has powerful color statement such as a blue cornflower, a deep red or pure white carnation, a rosebud or a gardenia. You are now dressed properly and you are ready for the black tie event.
For more dress code tips Hendrik recommends his retail site – a retailer for Cheap Ties and information on Mens Dress Codes