So you’re invited to a black tie event or your just curious on what black tie is. Either way you have come to the right place! What is black tie you ask? Black tie is a dress code derived from British and American costume conventions of the 19th century and is still popular today. Black tie attire should only be worn after 6:00 p.m. Black tie is a formal dress code that is less formal than white tie but more formal than casual or business dress.
- A white dress shirt (not a button down)
- A dinner jacket (called a Tuxedo in the United States), of black or midnight blue wool
- An evening waistcoat
- A black bow tie
- Black court shoes or black lace-up oxford shoes
- Tuxedo dress pants/trousers
A jacket worn with black tie is called a dinner jacket and is generally single breasted. Double-breasted jackets are less popular but are still considered appropriate.
Shirts that are worn with black tie attire are called “formal shirts” or “dress shirts” and generally have a standard fold-over collar or a winged collar. Dress shirts worn with black tie generally have double (or “french”) cuffs. Note that a button down collar shirt is not appropriate for this occasion.
Black tie trousers have no cuffs (turn-ups in British English) or belt loops. The outer seams are usually decorated with a single braid of silk or a certain material that matches the lapel facing. Suspenders can be worn with black tie if the jacket hides it enough but you should never wear a belt with black tie.
A low cut waistcoat (vest in American English) is generally worn with a single breasted jacket and should never be worn with a double-breasted jacket because it will not show. Waistcoats usually come in a “U” or “V” shape and can be single breasted or double-breasted.
You should wear black lace-up Oxford shoes or court shoes decorated with grosgrain bows.
Where black tie can be worn:
- Cocktail parties
- Fancy dinners
- Cruise ship dinners