How to Dress for a Black Tie Event

Black tie events are simple. Black tie events are complicated. Unfortunately, both of these statements are true. The dress code, while simple at first glace is notoriously vague. But, the one thing you can count on is that the styles don't change by much if they do at all. So once you have it figured out, you will be set for life.

The Jacket

As Vesper in Casino Royale so eloquently said, "There are dinner jackets and there are dinner jackets." Investing in a fine, tailored dinner jacket is a must as it will last you a lifetime. And the devil is in the details, make sure the lapel and buttons are of good quality. Most tuxedos come as a set, a jacket, shirt, pants, and a vest or cummerbund, but when buying a separate jacket, coordinate it with an appropriate pair of pants. 

Dinner jacket without vents are the norm, though more and more are being made with side vents to give access to back pockets. The lapel should either be peaked or a shawl and always satin.

Another option is the velvet dinner jacket. Be careful and choose a color that coordinates with your pants, shoes, and skin tone.

The Shirt 

The formal shirt comes in two varieties, turn down collar or wing collar. The fabric often consists of a micro twill or poplin patterns. Most shirts have concealed buttons for use with studs. This gives a nice clean look when paired with matching cufflinks. 

The Trousers

Your formal dress trousers should never feature belt loops. Traditionally trousers were held up with suspenders, so maybe it's time to indulge in a new pair of suspenders. Though, if your trousers do have loops it's not the end of the world, you can still wear them to any Black Tie event.

The signature of formal pants is the satin stripe running down the length of the pants. To stay on trend, go to your tailor and ask him or her to taper the leg.


If you want to be really bold Navy Blue tuxedos are becoming a staple of high fashion. Just check out the red carpet next time.

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