Black tie is a classic and sophisticated look that if worn correctly can make you feel a million dollars. However, after the event invite arrives stating a black tie dress code there are many questions… What shirt do I wear? Do I need to buy new shoes? How do you tie a bow tie again?

The tuxedo or dinner jacket worn with a bow tie originated in the 1800’s as a form of loosening the dresscode from the more formal tails. This was then adopted by the New York Tuxedo club where black tie became the dominant code of dress.

Essentially a black tie code consists of a dinner jacket, dress shirt, trousers, cummerbund or waistcoat, black shoes and a bow tie.

The dinner jacket, typically black but this can also be worn in off-white, navy or even grey for the more adventurous. Dinner jackets can have a range of lapels, with the shawl lapel being the smartest option. The trousers should match the jacket (but never white) and be well fitted, often worn with braces. The dress shirt should be a crisp white, traditionally pleated with a cufflink sleeve. The shoes must match the formal occasion so a black shiny patent leather shoe is recommended.

A deep U shaped waistcoat is an option over the more traditional cummberbund (a sash the covers the waist to create a flattering look) The icing on the cake is a black or coloured bow tie to compliment the suit (but never white as this is reserved for the most prestigious dress code of all) The bow tie should always be hand tied (there are lots of tutorials online if you need refresher) The final touches can include a pocket square, cufflinks and a splash of your finest aftershave.

This classic look should always be tailored to perfection, allowing the garments to skim the frame appropriately. If the rules are adhered to this is a stunning look that universally flatters and will never go out of style.

If you have an upcoming black tie event please get in touch and we can help you build a perfectly flattering suit to fit your frame and your style.