Black Tie 101
Simply put, “black-tie” is a dress code that requires a tuxedo in some form. More refined than “formal”, yet more relaxed than “white-tie”—which calls for a very traditional coattail jacket—black-tie is one of the most longstanding of dress codes, and can be expressed in one of two main ways: full tuxedo or dinner jacket & trouser pairing. Our guide to black-tie is made to help you pull off either style effortlessly.
The Black Tuxedo
A hallmark of upscale evening style, the traditional black tuxedo has stuck to a set of foundational pieces for over a century. This look typically requires a matching black jacket and trousers with silk-lined details, a plain, bibbed, or pleated white shirt featuring french cuffs, black patent leather shoes, and a black silk bow tie. Though there are more modern variations, this ensemble is considered the iconic classic.
The Double-Breasted Tuxedo
An icon that's only becoming more popular, double-breasted tuxedos’ sharp lines & masculine aesthetic is perfect for a striking evening look.
Dinner Jacket & Trouser Separates
A common variation on the black-tie look is to go with separates—think white jacket ith black trousers. A popular choice during the spring & summer months, white dinner jackets not only absorb less heat from the sun, but are also well-suited for breathable fabrics like pure and blended cotton and linen. As always, be sure to finish it with patent leather shoes & black bow tie.
Occasionally you’ll come across the elusive “creative black-tie” dress code. Here, you can loosen up a bit on the traditional rules while keeping the black-tie aesthetic. In a sea of traditional black tuxedos, a light grey dinner jacket with a bold shawl collar, paired with black trousers and sock-less velvet loafers is bound to get noticed.
A sleek pair of patent leather lace-ups have long been the standard of tuxedo footwear.
The most contemporary of black-tie options, velvet loafers add texture and style without skimping on the elegance.