The Unwritten Rules of Dressing For A Black Tie Event

The Unwritten Rules Of Dressing For A Black Tie Event

Posted By the Robert Old Team | 13th September 2023

A black-tie event is an exciting formal occasion that requires a certain level of elegance and sophistication in your attire. Whether you are attending a wedding, a gala, or a corporate function, you want to make sure that you dress appropriately and impressively. However, dressing for a black-tie event can be tricky, with the unwritten rules that govern its existence. You don’t want to look too casual or too stiff, but rather find the perfect balance between style and comfort. Explore Robert Old’s definitive dos and don’ts of tailoring for a black-tie event that will help you achieve that goal.

Do: Choose A Classic Tuxedo

The most common and traditional choice for a black tie event is a classic tuxedo. A tuxedo is distinguished by its satin or grosgrain lapels, buttons, pocket trims, and stripes on the trousers. A tuxedo should fit you well, but not too tight or too loose. The jacket should fit well, the sleeves should end at your wrists, and the trousers should break slightly at your shoes. The shirt should have a stiff collar and cuffs, and be either white or light blue. The bow tie should match the color and material of the lapels, and be either black or navy. The waistcoat or cummerbund should also match the color and material of the lapels, and be either black or navy. A classic tuxedo is a timeless and elegant option that will never go out of style. Our classic black-tie arrangements of a tux, shirt, bow tie and shoes are set out below

Robert Old Black Micro-Pattern Wool & Silk Tuxedo
Buy Now

ETON White Wing Collar Slim Fit Shirt
Buy Now

Crockett & Jones Black Audley Oxford Shoes
Buy Now

Robert Old Black Silk Hand-Tied Bow Tie
Buy Now

Belvest Black Wool & Mohair Tuxedo
Buy Now

ETON White Plissé Wing Collar Contemporary Fit Shirt
Buy Now

Santoni Black Polished Leather Oxford Shoes
Buy Now

Robert Old Black Silk Hand-Tied Bow Tie
Buy Now

Don’t: Experiment with Colours or Patterns

While you may be tempted to spice up your outfit with some colors or patterns, a black tie event is not the place to do so. You want to stick to the classic colors of black, navy, or charcoal for your tuxedo, and avoid any flashy or loud colors such as red, pink, or purple. You also want to avoid any patterns such as stripes, checks, or florals on your tuxedo, shirt, or accessories. Patterns can make your outfit look too busy or informal, and clash with the refined atmosphere of the event. The only exception to this rule is if you are wearing a white dinner jacket instead of a black one, which is acceptable for summer or tropical events. In that case, you can pair it with black trousers, a white shirt, and a black bow tie.

Do: Accessorise with Style

While you want to keep your outfit simple and classic, you can still add some flair with some accessories. Accessories can enhance your look and show off your personality without being too distracting or overbearing. Some of the accessories that you can wear for a black tie event are:

1. A Pocket Square

A pocket square is a small piece of cloth that you fold and place in the breast pocket of your jacket. It adds some color and contrast to your outfit, and can be either solid or patterned. However, make sure that your pocket square does not match your bow tie exactly, as that can look too matchy-matchy. Instead, choose a complementary color or pattern that goes well with your outfit.

2. A Boutonniere

A boutonniere is a small flower that you pin on the lapel of your jacket. It adds some freshness and elegance to your outfit, and can be either white or colored. However, make sure that your boutonniere does not clash with your pocket square or bow tie, as that can look too busy or tacky. Instead, choose a subtle color or shape that blends well with your outfit.

3. Cufflinks

Cufflinks are small pieces of jewelry that you use to fasten the cuffs of your shirt. They add some shine and sophistication to your outfit, and can be either plain or ornate. However, make sure that your cufflinks do not overpower your outfit or draw too much attention to themselves. Instead, choose a simple design and color that matches your outfit.

4. A Watch

Helpful for both adding a touch of flare to an outfit and telling the time. It adds some functionality and style to your outfit, and can be either analog or digital. However, make sure that your watch does not look too casual or sporty for the occasion. Instead, choose a sleek and elegant watch that suits your outfit.

Don’t: Overdo It with Accessories

While accessories can enhance your look, they can also ruin it if you overdo it. You don’t want to wear too many accessories at once, as that can make you look cluttered or ostentatious. You also don’t want to wear accessories that are inappropriate for the occasion, such as sunglasses, hats, scarves, or gloves. These accessories can make you look out of place or disrespectful to the event. The rule of thumb is to wear no more than three accessories at a time, and to choose accessories that are suitable for the event.

Dressing for a black tie event can be challenging, but not impossible. By following these dos and don’ts of tailoring, you can ensure that you look sharp and stylish for the occasion. Remember to choose a classic tuxedo, avoid colors and patterns, accessorize with style, and don’t overdo it with accessories. With these tips, you can impress everyone at the event and the most important part... Enjoy the occasion and have a good time.