Style Guide

How to guide How to guide

How to guide

What to wear & when What to wear & when

What to wear & when

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White Tie

White tie is the height of formal dress for men, worn in the evening for royal ceremonies, state banquets, the opera, the ballet and balls. It may also be the dress code for formal evening weddings. You may not think it, but white tie events do happen quite often and there is a very specific dress code to adhere to. Listed below are a few handy hints on getting the essentials right for this look!

White tie is traditionally worn to balls, the opera, the ballet and state banquets. If you are lucky enough to be invited to an event which requires you to wear white tie, make sure you get it right. No doubt it will be an exclusive occasion; you’ll want to feel confident in your attire, rather than out of place.


Let's start with your jacket. Most importantly this should fit correctly. You want to look your sharpest for the occasion. You are looking for a black jacket with tails. The tails should finish at the back of the knee and must fall no lower than this point. The lapel should be a peak and will be covered in either satin or silk.


Trousers are simple, and they should be black dress trousers to match the jacket. These should have a satin/silk side seam on the outer leg to match the lapels of the jacket you have chosen. Like all dress trousers these should not have belt loops. Braces are advised as an alternative if needed. Most importantly though to get the fit right, your trousers should fall to the heel of your shoe. Be careful that yours are not higher or lower.


Your shirt should be a brilliantly white, ironed cotton shirt, fronted with a Marcella panel. Next you must have a stiff wing collar, the tips of which should sit just behind your bow tie. The shirt should have a studded front. Here is your chance to add a little pizzazz with your personal choice of stud set. Silver or diamond studs are most popular, but the decision is yours. Similarly, your cuffs must be fastened with matching cufflinks. For stud sets and cufflinks follow the links to check out our collection...


There are a few basic rules when it comes to your waistcoat. First and foremost it must be long enough to cover your waist and the top of your trousers, including the fastenings of your braces. The waistcoat/vest in question should be made from a Marcella cotton similar to that of the shirt. The waistcoat should be a deep V low cut shape fastened by three small mother of pearl buttons. View our range of waistcoats here...

Bow Tie

When it comes to your bow tie, you will need to wear a thin, white, Marcella bow-tie to meet the white tie dress code. Both pre-tied and self tie are available in the correct Marcella cotton. However, there's something a little more distinctive about a self tie bow tie. Take time to learn how to tie it properly.  For advice, follow this link to our how to guide... or view our extensive range of self tie and pre-tied bow ties here...


When wearing white tie every little part of your outfit must be fine tuned to the rules of the dress code. For footwear patent dancing shoes are most appropriate. View our range of shoes here...


This one's simple, but can be easily over looked. Black socks are an absolute must. Knee high silk black socks are recommended; however at the end of the day, as long as they are black you should pass!


White is the only rule when it comes to the handkerchief for white tie occasions. Ideally it should be cotton linen but a white silk handkerchief is just as suitable. This is then to be folded into the front pocket of your jacket. View our range of handkerchiefs here...
To learn how to fold your handkerchief correctly, follow this link to our how to guide...


When it comes to white tie the only hat suitable is a top hat. However, this is not essential to your outfit, as it would only be worn en route to the event in question. Having said that,,if you do decide to go down this route, particularly for a winter occasion, you should also wear an overcoat to complete the look.

There are many other accessories that are also available if you choose, such as white gloves, an ivory scarf or a dress cane.