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Black Tie vs. Black Tie Optional

This will probably be my shortest blog entry as the concept of "Black Tie vs Black Tie Optional" is rather

easy to explain and conceptualize. It's always proper etiquette to follow the details on your invitation, if it says RSVP — YOU MUST RSVP, if it asks your preference of food — YOU MUST MAKE A CHOICE, this helps eliminate any complications and allows for a smoother flow during the event. When it comes to the Black Tie vs Black Tie optional, most people think of weddings, however this option goes for everything from weddings to gala affairs to the Nyew Years Eve party of the year. Here is a breakdown of what is considered the proper way to rock both styles.

Black Tie

Black Tie is a dress form that for men consists of the traditional tuxedo and all trimmings: a black dinner jacket and matching trousers, an optional black formal waistcoat or black cummerbund, a white tuxedo shirt, a black bow tie or alternatively a black long tie, black dress socks and black formal shoes. In hot weather a white dinner jacket may be substituted.

It does get slightly sketchy where styles come in, but this is where you check you invitation. If it's a more traditional affair, it's best to follow traditional attire as follows:

Jacket and Shirt

  • black wool or midnight blue is equally correct.

  • single breasted or double breasted is fine, but choose wisely, single is better at all time.

  • lapels, peak or shawl, leave the notches for your work and non-formal suits, a satin or grosgrain finish is super stylish and traditional.

  • no vents, you don't need them at all

  • one button on the jacket is more traditional and looks better

  • no flaps on the pockets

  • a white tuxedo shirt is best, go for the traditional style with eyelets for studs. The pleated version is preferred but a simpler version works for the modern man.


  • Same fabric as jacket, with single braid along outseams to match jacket lapel, no cuff and suspender buttons are the best and more traditional option.


  • Black self-tied bow-tie it is more traditional, but if you just can't grasp it, find a realistic lookng pre-tied version.

Shoes & Accessories

  • You must have black polished or patent oxfords. The end, no if and or buts.

  • Leave the accessories to a minimum, a watch or ring is enough, a white pocket square is sophistication on the highest level and very 007.

Black Tie Optional

With Black Tie Optional, you can be formal but more relaxed. If you don't own a tux, a dark suit works just as well. With the prices for Made to Measure and Custom Suiting at its greatest, you can get a great suit made to your body measurement with customizations for wearing at more semi-formal events. Nothing looks worse than being the guy wearing his work suit to a semi-formal event.


  • Black, charcoal or navy are great options

  • opt for a peak lapel instead of a notch

  • go for a slimmer more trimmed fit

  • always 2 buttons, and only button the top button

  • double vent please


  • same rules apply here, as the suit, go for something more dressy than your work attire

  • white is best, light blue or pink can be great options as well


  • matching fabric as the jacket

  • no cuff, go for a taper fit


  • a bow-tie is the smarter and better option, but a straight tie is ok in this case Shoes

Shoes & Accessories

  • Feel free to get creative your shoe options! This is the perfect time to try a new shoe style you haven't tried before.

  • Leave the accessories to a minimum, a watch or ring is enough, but go ahead and add a punch of color with a great pocket, grab something that matches you tie but doesn't look like its identicaltwin.

With these great directions you'll be able to ace any event, especially tonight!



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