The black tie guide
Invited to an event that requires Black Tie? Good. Black Tie events are the most special occasions. Unsure how to prepare for such formal occasion with such a strict dress code? Don’t worry, we've got your back.
Black tie: a long and rich history
Think of a smoking, and the first image that pops into your mind is either Sean Connery looking cool at a Roulette table, or perhaps stars arriving on Oscar night. Black Tie (or Smoking, or tuxedo, depending on your geographical location) is a rare beast. Unlike most fashion, it seems immune to well…. fashion. Instead of being a style that gets regular updates with changing culture, the Black Tie outfit is traditional and has persevered over a hundred years.
How has a dining outfit for Victorian aristocrats managed to survive two world wars, Rock ‘n Roll, Hippie counterculture, Punk and Hipster? Well, by sticking to the rules, of course. But more important, is has also become an enduring style because it's emphasizing the good aspects of the male physique. It makes you look tall, athletic and stylish. The fact that it is basically a uniform for aristocrats is enough to give the wearer a testosterone boost.
Black Tie is a formal dress code, don’t get too creative
The biggest danger of Black Tie events is that you might look out of place if you don’t follow the dress code. Believe us when we say you are not going to feel at ease if you get rebellious and do your own version of the black tie outfit, or if you get confused with the waiter. So, how much room for improvisation is there? You can get a bit creative as you’ll see later on. For the very brave there is even a black smoking shirt. You can play with the fabric of your (black) bowtie, for instance. But for the most part, we advise to stay within the 10 rules laid out here:
1. Wear a black smoking
Always ensure you have a well fit slim-fit black smoking. Combining the best of tradition with modern details, our slim-tailored smoking features a slightly curved peak lapel, a single silk-covered button and adds to the impressive silhouette with soft shoulders. The trousers have silk down the sides and side adjustments, so the a belt is not only against the dress code, but also unnecessary.
2. Black bowtie
Get yourself a black bowtie. Bowties come in two basic variants: pre-ties and self-tied. Although the self-tie bowtie is traditional, nobody will be offended if you wear a pre-tied bow tie.
3. Wear a white smoking shirt
Do not show up in a regular white shirt. Not even if it’s your finest Egyptian cotton shirt. Smoking shirts are special and not something you’d wear to the office. A smoking shirt has a blind placket and double cuffs.
4. Wear cufflinks
Having said that, the cufflinks are an accessory that allows you to inject some of your rebellious personality and get a bit creative. The cufflinks can be anything from your family heirlooms to a fine piece from our cufflink collection. Go for instance for black onyx ones for the classic look.
5. No belt, but braces are an option
Belts are, of course, much too practical for such a festive occasion. On the contrary, braces are an accessory that can add personality to the smoking and is well within the rules.
6. A white pocket square
The finishing touch on the Black Tie outfit is truly the white pocket square. Stick with white or off-white and fold it in a way that only a thin white stripe can be seen.
7. Black lacquer shoes or smooth black shoes
Resist the temptation to wear your fine black brogues and get yourself the proper black lacquer shoes that the outfit requires. If you can’t get lacquer, go for smooth black shoes without any details. Polished, of course.
8. Long socks
Now that you look your stylish best in eveningwear, it would be a shame to spoil the magic by revealing some of your calves when you sit down and your trouser legs pull up. Long socks will save you from showing skin.
9. Be clean shaven and well groomed
To look and feel your best, get a haircut in the week before the event and show up freshly shaved. Take it from us, it contributes to your self-confidence.
10. Do not wear a watch
Sorry gentlemen, but your cherished watch is staying home. You don’t want your hosts to think you’re in a hurry to get out of there. You’ll have to show class by simply looking good.
And that’s it gentlemen, all you need to know to look your aristocratic best at a Black Tie event. Now go do that voodoo that you do.