Black-tie is considered one of the most formal dress codes. For men, black tie events happen in proportion to how large your business and social network grows. When you do get invited to such an event, it is crucial to know the rules of the black-tie dress code. Played right, black-tie gives you a prime opportunity to stand out and look you’re very best.
At Jaxson Maximus, we know that navigating this dress code can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, we are here to help. Our custom clothing stylists have put together this awesome guide to help you navigate the dos and don’ts of the black-tie dress code.
THE DEFINITION OF A BLACK-TIE DRESS CODE
Black-tie is the go-to dress code for most formal events. What we know of the modern black-tie dress code dates back to the mid-19th century when King Edward VII commissioned his friend Henry Poole to make a short jacket absent of tails to wear to formal dinner parties. These jackets were more comfortable than the traditional tailcoats and soon grew in popularity among the wealthy of Europe.
Today, a black-tie dress code falls right between semi-formal and white-tie. White-tie is the most formal of all dress codes and has stringent dress rules that must be followed. On the other hand, a black-tie dress code gives you a few formal options to consider wearing, such as a traditional tuxedo or dinner jacket outfit.
WHAT TYPE OF EVENTS MIGHT HAVE A BLACK-TIE DRESS CODE
A black-tie event will typically take place in the evening after 7 pm. A black-tie event is more sophisticated than a regular business function or other social gatherings, which usually adhere to a semi-formal dress code. You might often find a black-tie dress code on invitations to formal weddings, galas, balls, company functions, award ceremonies, or a milestone party.
WHAT TO WEAR TO A BLACK-TIE EVENT
When determining what you should wear to a black-tie event, opt for classic options such as a tuxedo or dinner jacket. Black-tie does not mean you have to wear black. At Jaxson Maximus, we have made hundreds of formal tuxedo and dinner jacket cloth options in every color and textured pattern you can think of.
It is important to invest in the quality of your black-tie garments as well as the fit. You want to keep your look modern, simple, and clean. Nothing is worse than looking like you just threw on your grandfather’s old dated tuxedo from the attic.
A tuxedo is simply a formal jacket and pant made from the same cloth trimmed with contrasting black satin or grosgrain on the lapels, jacket and pant pocket piping, buttons, waistband, and outseam stripe on the formal pant. A tuxedo can also include a waistcoat made from the same cloth or a contrasting cloth.
The color of the tuxedo is traditionally black. However, other popular options are shades of blue from midnight navy to royal blue and grey tones. For those that want to make a larger statement, other options may be burgundy or very dark hunter green.
Besides color, the texture of the base cloth is also a way to distinguish yourself from others and provide a real custom look to your black-tie attire.
With all of the components of a black-tie dress code, it is important to have a great base for your black-tie outfit. For your formal shirting options, opt for a classic white spread collar shirt or wing collar shirt with French cuffs. You can either have a plain non-textured formal white shirt or opt for a dressy white-on-white with fancy textures.
A formal shirt front can have a placket with formal studs showing or a clean fly front, which doesn’t require formal studs and hides the buttons.
Black-tie attire typically calls for a black bow tie. We recommend selecting a velvet, satin, or grosgrain black bow tie.
Bow ties have different shapes. The most common is the butterfly, however, when working with Jaxson Maximus, we are able to access your facial shape and lapels of your black-tie outfit to custom make a formal bow tie in the best shape for you. We can custom make them in pre-tied or tie yourself.
Like having a great toast, knowing how to tie a bow tie is one of those things that every man should know. Don’t know how to tie a bow tie? Check out our article that shows you in a few easy steps on how to tie the perfect bowtie.
A dinner jacket and formal pant outfit is another great option to don when invited to a formal black-tie event. A dinner jacket outfit is different than a tuxedo in that the jacket base cloth is different than the formal pant’s base cloth. If you attend black-tie frequently, we suggest having a great black or midnight navy tuxedo and at least one dinner jacket, if not several, to alternate between black-tie events.
Patent leather formal dress shoes are always the best option for your black-tie look. You can keep your shoes classic as with a patent Oxford or go more modern with a slightly narrower round-toed style shoe. Depending on your outfit, velvet slipper can be a fun way to add a more youthful look to your outfit.
Just as equally as important as the shoes are the socks, you wear with them. With a black-tie dress code wearing an evening sock is a requirement. Look for mid-calf socks in your classic naturals such as black and navy.
A tuxedo or formal pant will never be made to be worn with a belt. Most have adjustable side tabs on the waistband and formal brace buttons in the interior of the waistband to secure your set of formal braces. Common color options for formal braces are black, white, red, burgundy, silver, and gold.
FORMAL STUD AND CUFF LINKS
Most stud and formal shirts are sold in various qualities of silver or gold from faux, plated, or solid metal. Some sets may have jewels such as rubies or rhodium added to them.
There are a wide variety of choices. One recommendation we have is to make sure your stud set has five studs. These are hard to find.
At Jaxson Maximus, we custom make our stud sets to include five studs. The reason for this is that the cummerbund is no longer in fashion, which hides the fifth button-hole on your placket when worn. Without a cummerbund, you will need five studs.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A BLACK TIE EVENT
Just as important as it is to know what to wear, it is equally as important to know what items you should save for a less formal event. For a black-tie event, avoid wearing:
- Suits even black – black-tie dress code means a tuxedo or formal dinner jacket outfit.
- Opened toed shoes
- Opened collar dress shirts without a bowtie or formal necktie
- Sport coats
- Tennis shoes
- No socks