Although men are limited to black and other dark, muted tones, an able man will stand out if he thoughtfully considers all the little, yet important, details of his outfit.
A little history before we start. The practice of wearing a black waist coat and black bowtie along with a dinner jacket became a convention, establishing th e basis of the current black tie dress
code, during the Edwardian era. After WW I, the dinner jacket became the de facto evening wear while the evening tailcoat was limited to extremely formal and ceremonial occasions. In the
decades after WW II, black tie became special occasion attire rather than standard evening wear.
Cummerbands, bowties and narrow lapels became very popular during this time. In recent
times, midnight blue has also gained acceptance in black tie dressing.
To begin with, every black tie event calls for a good suit. Here are a few components which you should ensure when purchasing or getting a suit tailored.
The standard in formal wear is a short evening jacket, because the tailcoat has fallen out of consideration. It is usually single-breasted and must have upward sweeping, peaked lapels. Although a shawl collar is acceptable, it is rarely favoured because it does not provide emphasis on the shoulders and height as
much as peaked lapels do. The exposed part of the lapel should ideally be made with glossy material. A single breasted jacket is a better option when it comes to comfort because of how open it is.
Black trousers are also known as dinner jacket trousers. They should have plain hemmed bottoms. Although flat front trousers are more popular, you could also opt for a pleated pair. The
current style trend is a slight slimmer fit. The trousers should have only a single braid down the side of the trousers. Make sure the side pockets are in line with the side braid to give it a neat
Your shirt should always have a turn down collar. While getting a pleated shirt, one must be
attentive not to diverge down the 70’s ruffled look. Currently, nice tight, neat pleats are in vogueand look great. The collar and cuffs of the shirt should be starched. The cuffs are best worn
with simple and elegant cufflinks.
A waistcoat or cummerband
Ideally, a waistcoat should be worn when wearing a single-breasted coat. Waistcoats come in varying styles like a V or a U shape, backless or fully backed
versions, double or single breasted, with or without lapels etc. Waistcoats are a great option
when the weather is a bit cold.
The cummerband was derived from the military dress uniform in British India and is worn with
its pleats facing up. The cummerband, the bow tie and lapels should strictly be of different
materials.Though a Cummerband is not commonly worn these days, it can be quite the
charmer for someone who appreciates vintage styles.
A tie or Bow-tie
Learning to wear a tie and a bow-tie is essential. It’s as easy as watching a tutorial and practicing. Once you get the hang of it, you can try different styles of wearing both your ties and bow-ties. Your tie can be matched with the fabric of your suit. However, you can also experiment andtry something different. A different feel or texture will look great, but do not experiment too
much with different patterns and colours.
Black Formal Shoes.
Black formal shoes should always be well polished and have silk laces. When buying formal
shoes, make sure they allow you to be at ease whether you are standing or even if you decide
to burn up the dance floor.
Traditionally, visible watches are not worn with a black tie outfit since timekeeping is not
considered a priority. Pocket watches were more acceptable. However, times have changed.
You could choose to wear a classic time piece to add an edge to your outfit.
A boutonnière or lapel pin.
A boutonniere is typically a single flower or bud. In the past, boutonnières were worn rather
frequently. Now, they have been reserved for special occasions like weddings, proms etc. It is
worn pushed through the lapel buttonhole and the stem is held in place with a loop at the back of the lapel. Times are changing and more often than not, the boutonnière is replaced by a
Formal wear has essentially remained consistent over the years. It has subtly evolved over time, but sticking to certain rules is what will make all the difference. A black-tie event is a case of dressing appropriately rather than making a fashion statement.
The best thing about black tie outfits are that although you may have to wear it only a handful
of times a year, it will last you a decade, sometimes even more. That’s why it is essential to
invest in a well fitted timeless suit.
We hope that through this article we have helped you get a better idea on what is required
when you dress up for an elegant “Black tie event”. As always, do leave a comment on what you thought of the article. Blog suggestions are also welcome!
Goodbye and stay dapper always!