The ominous but alluring “Black Tie” invitation arrives at your door. Do you wear a short dress or a long gown? The words ‘black tie’ strike equal amounts of excitement and fear. Excitement that for the opportunity to dress up, fear that a. there is nothing to wear, and b. the outfit will be completely wrong. Men often face a similar dilemma. Bow tie or tie? Waistcoat or no waistcoat?
Here are a few formal wear etiquette tips to keep in mind for your next black tie gala or wedding.
I. WHITE TIE
“I’m so fancy.”
Men, you will need a black dress coat (tail coat) & matching trousers, wing-collared shirts with shirt studs and cuff-links, a white piqué waistcoat and a white bow tie. Pair this with black patent-leather or calfskin evening pumps and black silk socks.
II. BLACK TIE
“Bond, James Bond.”
There’s really nothing as sophisticated as a man in classic black tie. He should wear a dinner aka tuxedo jacket with matching trousers, bow tie, and cummerbund or waist-coast. Pair this outfit with black patent-leather or calfskin pumps or laced oxfords.
III. BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
“Play it safe.”
A dark suit with a conservative tie and dark shoes or a tuxedo if you’re feeling particularly Bond-esque!
Make sure to never get it wrong from now on. And remember Oscar Wilde’s great words, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated”.