Black Tie Dress Code

Black Tie Dress CodeA black tie dress code is usually reserved for formal events, such as weddings, going to the opera, or a formal dinner. When people think of black tie attire, the first thing that comes to mind is a black tuxedo with a black bow tie. What does a ‘black tie dress code’ mean precisely?  It is a term generally used to describe the attire for a man to a formal affair taking place after five pm. Its style is more formal than business casual and less formal than white tie, usually entailing a black wool suit along with crisp white shirt and a black tie.

While the colors for a black tie dress code have remained virtually the same, today men have more choices that allow them to include their own personal style and preferences for an outfit that has prescribed rules. If you make sure to follow the specifically laid-out guidelines, you will be spared from making a fashion faux pas.

The Shirt

The types of shirts that go with a black tie dress code are usually made of a finer material than the shirts that you would wear every day. Also, they will be a bit stiffer that what you are usually accustomed to. The color is typically vanilla white. However, it is not an absolute rule that you have to wear a white shirt. Color variation is acceptable, but the color should be extremely light that it almost looks white. Examples are dilute blue and pale yellow. This will give your outfit a subtle splash of color, without making you stand out too much from the rest of the crowd.

If you choose to go with the traditional and classic style, the rule is to go with a bright white colored shirt that has a pleated front. There are also French cuffs, which are fastened with cuff links. Another appropriate alternative to this style is a dress shirt that has a plain front.

The most common types of dress shirts for a black tie dress code are wing-collar shirts and flip-over collar shirts. Wing-collar shirts have a more starched collar, which stands up on your neck. It is called a wing-collar shirt because it gives the appearance of a wing tip. The tips of the collar are folded down. A flip-over collar consists of a collar that looks like any other regular dress shirt. It is made to look more formal with the addition of French cuffs that include cufflinks. There are also folds (pleats) in the front of the shirt.

The Tie

For a black tie dress code, men are usually required to wear a necktie or a bow tie. There are a variety of different styles of ties from which you can choose, as well as different ways that you can wear them. This means that you have an opportunity to create a customized and unique outfit that will make you both blend in with the rest, and simultaneously stand out.

The first thing to remember is that the tie should always be black. There are no exceptions to this. Also, the fabric of the black tie should correspond with the fabric of the lapel on the dinner jacket. The reason for this is to make sure that the entire outfit is uniform. A bow tie is the appropriate type of tie to wear, and the length of the tie should not extend past the outer corners of your eyes. Any bigger, and it will look bulky. Any smaller than the defined length, your head will look bigger. You can wear a big bow tie, but one that still does not exceed the length specified above. Or, you can even wear a very thin bow tie that will make your outfit look minimalistic.

However, the bowtie and the cummerbund should not be made from the same material. This would make the outfit too uniform and bland. The purpose of the bowtie and the cummerbund is that they should slightly contrast one another. So, regardless of whether you are buying or renting, it is a good idea to have the bowtie and cummerbund be together in one set. It is recommended that the bowtie and cummerbund be the same color, or different shades of the same color. The texture should also be different.

The Trousers

When it comes to selecting your trousers for the event there are a couple of considerations to keep in mind. First of all it’s a good idea to make sure to select trousers of the same material and color as your jacket. Make sure to have them cleaned and pressed if you don’t do so yourself, most dry cleaners do so for a nominal fee.  When selecting the trousers make sure they have a good fit that is neither too large nor too small. When either renting or purchasing seek a professional to help with the fitting.


Many men are initially hesitant when they hear the word accessories. They associate accessories as something that women wear, and think of jewelry. How would a man accessorize with a black tie dress code? The fact is there are various ways that a man can add accessories to their formal attire to give their suit a more unique look.

Some options are cuff links, belt buckles and a watch. It is important to be careful when selecting the appropriate cuff links. While they can make a black tie outfit look better, you should not select cuff links that are too flamboyant. Cuff links should also match with the rest of your outfit, as well as other accessories you plan to wear. If you plan to wear a belt buckle, then that should also match with your cuff links, as well as your watch. Another option is a white handkerchief made from linen, silk or cotton. Remember not to overdo the accessories-Less is more.

Types Of Tuxedos

A tuxedo for a black tie dress code consists of a single-breasted jacket that is fastened with one button, as well as a peaked or shawl satin-faced lapel. The black tuxedo consists of a black dinner jacket that has either a satin lapel or ribbed silk facings. It is recommended that you have the jacket and pants tailored to make sure that it fits you correctly. The trousers should also be black, and made from the same fabric as the tuxedo jacket. They can be either pleated or flat front, and have a satin or silk stripe that goes down the leg.