What to wear to a black tie event
by Slaters Style February 21, 2020
Well, if the invitation says ‘black tie’, the answer is pretty straightforward, and Slater Menswear has everything you need to nail it. If your invitation is ‘black-tie optional’, though, the options are more varied but fall within a few key guidelines. And yes, we have everything you need to nail this, too – from expert guidance to a comprehensive range of outfitting options to match the brief.
‘Black tie optional’ is essentially a courtesy that means you needn’t go full tux if you haven’t the funds or inclination to – but it’s by no means a licence to dress down.
What does ‘black tie’ really mean?
First things first – it doesn’t mean you can just wear a black tie and be done with it. Strictly speaking, it means a tuxedo, accompanied by a black dinner jacket and matching trousers, with an optional black formal waistcoat or cummerbund, a white formal shirt, a black bow tie or long tie, black dress socks, and black formal shoes. In likely hot weather, a white or ivory dinner jacket is perfectly acceptable… with a cummerbund instead of the clashing dark waistcoat.
Sounds uncompromising and formal, but in its pure form, it is. And the last thing you want at a black-tie event is to have missed the meeting on what to wear!
And it’s a big but – genuine black-tie events are fairly rare beyond military or highly exclusive events, and ‘black tie’ can mean different things to different event organisers. The best policy is to get a definitive answer on the dress code before you start to build your outfit. Chances are the brief is more along the lines of black ‘dinner suit’ and accessories. Phew!
There’s not much leeway in terms of colour schemes, with only the bow or necktie and pocket square being anything other than black or white – but the stylistic options are there for you to explore and find the formal outfit that has you looking and feeling the part. Slater Menswear has a range of black 2 and 3 piece dinner or ‘evening’ suits in slim and tailored fits, with double-breasted and ‘horseshoe’ waistcoat options for three-piece suits. Meanwhile, many dinner suit jackets feature the signature shiny lapel for additional ‘suaveness’. It’s a nice touch that befits any formal evening event.