What to Wear: Black Tie (Formal) Wedding

June 18, 2013

Black Tie

Black Tie


Black tie is a term that tends to scare away a few men who aren’t very familiar to a certain dress code when attending an event such as a wedding. When you think of black tie the movie James Bond to come to mind as the character is always found attending a black tie affair. However, not everyone has a James Bond stylist readily accessible when wedding invitations flow in and its now their turn to play Bond.

For the most part, evening wear has not changed over the decades since it was presented. It has somewhat evolved to the modern day man, but the elements of what black tie is, still remains the same. The key elements of black tie is a tuxedo, or dinner jacket, white buttoned up shirt, black evening shoes, cuff links for style and bow tie.

When picking out your tuxedo its important to choose a quality tuxedo to make your black tie look stand out. In the midst of possibly hundreds of other men in the same look, you want to ensure your are in something that is properly fitted, sleek and has a clean look that’s certain to last for years to come. For instance the material that the peak lapel is made out of can be the world of difference between you and the gentlemen standing to your right. A peak lapel gives the wearer a V-shape that you tend to see from a well fitted suit.

Next to take into consideration is the bow tie. Most men are very familiar with how to tie a standard tie, but its recommended that you learn the craft of a bow tie. Wearing a clip on is not an option as its a dead give-a-way for a gentlemen who knows the difference. Consider different textures and even visiting a specialty shop can ensure you are the only one with that particular bow tie.

Cuff links are an added bonus to present a sharp appearance that allows more of your personality to shine through. If you are going to wear cuff links be sure to have a double cuffed shirt. With your shirt its completely ok to wear pleats. Just ensure its not the 70s ruffled look from the movie The Wedding Singer.

Lastly, shoes are just as critical as any other item to pull this black tie look together. Traditional evening shoes go perfect for your black tie creation, but don’t be afraid to wear patent leather shoes. Most importantly if its black tie, the only white we recommend is in your shirt not your socks. Wearing the same color black socks as your trousers is the wisest decision you can make if you plan to sit down showing what’s covering your ankles.

These are the perfect elements to pull together your black tie look when attending your next wedding.

Black tie White Dinner Jacket 2

If you aren’t inclined to wear a tuxedo but you still want to ensure that you follow the request of black tie there are a few other variations you can go for. One option to wear is a white dinner jacket which is very classic and clean for a man to wear. However, you are a little more restricted to when you can wear a white dinner jacket.

A white dinner can only be worn during certain occasions. Dating back to the 1930s the white dinner jacket was worn only during the summer months and in the daytime for formal occasions such as a wedding. Never wear a white dinner jacket in the evening or in the winter months.  Yes I know it just looks great to wear and a key way to standout. But you want to standout for the right reasons and not stick out like a sore thumb with a fashion faux pas.

The other elements mentions previously still applies for this classic look.

Black tie White Dinner Jacket 3

For the man that wants to truly be sophisticated, wearing a velvet dinner jacket is the final alternative for a black tie wedding setting. This is a look that will truly stand out, but in order for your look to be the topic of conversation, it must be well fitted. The biggest tip to keep in mind is what to wear with a velvet dinner coat. We highly advise that you steer away from wearing velvet pants at all costs. Black trousers are quite suitable enough to make your point at a black tie wedding.

Some do consider a velvet dinner jacket as less formal, but its all in how you wear the jacket. If worn like a tuxedo you should have no problems wearing this look to a black tie event. Some consider this as a classic vintage look and is something many gentlemen have worn throughout the years. As stated, the black tie look has changed somewhat so done be afraid in wearing a velvet dinner jacket to a wedding with a bow tie, white shirt, evening shoes and cuff links.

One last tip to keep in mind is that typically jackets of this material are paired with cravats, but you have to be certain this will be acceptable at the wedding. If you have to question wearing one then save it for another time i.e. when you invite your friends over to indulge in the latest cigar.


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