What to Wear to Black Tie

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How to guide

What to wear & when What to wear & when

What to wear & when

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Black Tie Dress Code

What Is Black Tie?


Black tie is considered one of the strictest dress codes, reserved for formal evening events such as weddings, dinners, balls, award ceremonies and charitable affairs. As expected with any form of dress code, one must abide by certain rules by which to wear a black tie suit. It is one of the best excuses for a man to present himself in a purely sophisticated, and unashamedly stylish attire. The below guide on what to wear will show you how to dress appropriately for a black tie event, and show you where to find the products on our site.


A Black Tie Invite Requires


1. A tuxedo or dinner jacket with matching tuxedo trousers
2. Patent leather shoes
3. Preferably a black bow tie
4. Cummerbund
5. A wrist watch should not be worn.
6. A silk dress scarf

The tuxedo, which is the main requirement of the dress code should conform to certain standards also. A black tuxedo has remained a staple of this evening dress code for over a hundred years, so you should be safe with this colour choice, although modern takes on black tie has relaxed somewhat.


Black Tie Tuxedo Styling Advice


Peak lapel

A peak lapel jacket includes lapel edges that point up towards your shoulders, and is common on morning suits, tuxedos and other formal garments.


Shawl lapel

Shawl lapels maintain one continued, smooth curved on the lapel from shoulders down to the mid chest and is nowadays really only ever present on tuxedo jackets.


Notch lapel

A notch lapel is identified by the point at which the lapel meets the jacket collar, at around 75 degrees from its original direction.
Have a look through our range of tuxedos here...


Tuxedo Trousers

Tuxedo trousers differ from regular suit trousers in 3 main details. They do not have turn ups at the ankle, nor do they contain belt loops. They also hold a braid of material, or stripe, matching that of the lapels and bow tie, continuing down the outside of your outside leg.


What Shirt To Wear to Black Tie

Dress shirts are expected to be white, when worn with a tuxedo at black tie events. A dress shirt varies from regular smart shirts in the way that the buttons are concealed, or replaced with studs, as all parts of a tuxedos fixtures, and components (buttons, seams etc) are always to be covered. They are also expected to have a plain or pleated panels on the front, You should really also wear a double cuff shirt, and then feel free to accessorise, if not to individualise, your outfit using stylish cufflinks.



You should really wear a black bow tie and matching cummerbund, however, these days you can push the boundaries of what accessories you choose to pair with your tuxedo, for black tie events.



Black tie events requires you to wear patent leather shoes.


We've got all of this on our black tie collection page, to save you time searching for them all.


The Rules of A Black Tie Event

There are strict rules by which you must abide when donning black tie. Sure, we all get a little excited at the idea of wearing a tuxedo, but the behaviours and choices surrounding it are more than simply a guide; they are a requirement.

You cannot wear a watch when you are wearing a tuxedo. Since the beginnings of black tie events, organisers and other guests would be offended that their time was less precious to you, than that of another engagement. As a black tie is an extremely well planned event, with much prior notice given within your invitation, your social dairy should be clear of other appointments that same evening. Wearing a watch may suggest you are simply watching the time, which would not be well received by your host. Avoid this pitfall by keeping your smart phone in your breast pocket, and check it discreetly, under the table.


There are even expectancies regarding the bow tie you've chosen to wear. It is suggested within the upper class circles that a self tied bow tie is the done thing. Don't be put off of the complexity of this accessory, this guide will show you how to tie it, and there are many Youtube videos demonstrating just how easy it really is. Just don't leave it to the taxi ride to your event to learn, as it does take a little practice. We, however, at Dobell are happy to provide you with a pre-tied bow tie, and will keep our fingers crossed for you that no one notices.


Whilst we're still discussing neck wear, don't ever wear a “black tie” to a black-tie event – it's a bow tie only affair, and we're campaigning to ensure that new-age lax rules don't dilute the prestigious nature of the evening dress code.


You may add some style and creativity to your tuxedo with a pocket square, Try a number of different fold patterns to ensure you stand out on the big night. The firm favourite is the “Presidential” Fold, due to it's simplicity, but we prefer a “Wave”. It's easy to achieve, and will be an eye catching conversation starter.


Here's one of our favourite Youtube guides on what to wear, and how to dress for black tie.