Have you just received an invitation to a black-tie event? Are you confused about how to dress up for it? Well, don't worry we can help you out.


When you are going to a black tie event you need to follow a certain set of rules. If you fail to do so, you’ll most likely be frowned upon. However, worry not. You can avoid that fate thanks to this article.


We’ll be talking about how you can dress up for a black tie event. We’ll be covering everything from shirts to shoes to dinner jackets so you’ll know exactly how to dress for the event. Just make sure to read it all.


What Is The History Of Black Tie?

Contrary to popular belief, the black tie is not a product of modern fashion. The origins of the Black tie date all the way back to the seventeenth century in France. You can thank Louis XII for the trend. However, the idea wasn't originally his. He stole it from Croatian mercenaries he had hired during the Thirty-Year War.

Louis XII only made the black tie compulsory to wear in his courts. It was The Prince of Wales, future King Edward VII, during the 18th century who paired the black tie with a black suit for casual outdoor dining. During that period of time, men were accustomed to wearing tailcoats.


As the Prince dined out more, he desired a more comfortable piece of garment. He and his friend Poole came up with the idea of cutting off tails. The first jacket was tailored at Sandringham, the British Family’s country estate which was worn with a black tie.


Since then, the attire has spread like wildfire all over the world, appearing in the US, France, and other countries. The style took on many forms to the year, evolving to the modern-day black tie suit.


What Does Black Tie Dress Code Mean?

You might wonder what “The Black Tie Dress Code'' actually means. Well, the Black tie dress event is a formal dress code requiring attendees to follow a particular set of rules.


The men are required to wear a matching set of trousers and dinner jacket along with a white shirt, black tie and black formal shoes. Whereas the women are expected to show up in full length gowns.


The dress code is set for occasions like weddings, balls, hallmarks, birthday parties, and award ceremonies. Black is still a symbol of elegance and fashion. The black-tie dress code has eased in strictness over the years, allowing attendees to add a dash of colour and experiment with their outfits. However, the attendees are still required to maintain a sense of uniformity and not colour too outside the lines.


How Should Men Dress For A Black Tie Event?

A black-tie event is not like your other events. The occasion requires you to dress your best while following the dress code. A dinner jacket with matching trousers with a white shirt, bow tie, and formal shoes makes up the required attire for the event.


What To Wear To A Black Tie Event?

Here’s a crackdown of what to wear at a black-tie event.



As for shirts, a simple classic white shirt is more than fit for the occasion. You should go for dress shirts that come with holes for cufflinks and show off a winged collar. A traditionally pleated one really brings out your figure.


Standard collars work as well. In case you are going for a waistcoat to complete your outfit, white buttons will work. However, in the case of a cummerbund, you might switch it up with black buttons. 

wing collar dress shirts are the best for black tie events



As far as trousers are concerned, the rules are pretty simple. First, they need to match the colour of your jacket. Second, they should not cling or hang loose. Mismatched trousers and jackets don't look appealing at all. On the other hand, trousers hanging loose around the ankles are not flattering either.


Aside from these two factors, the rest of the styling for the trousers is up to you. You can opt for a break at the hem or skip it. According to one suggestion from Simon Cundey, your trousers should have braces to make for a pretty good comfort zone.


Dinner Jacket

Black satin shawl or peak lapels are absolutely great selection for black tie dress code


When it comes to colour, black and dark blue are your choices. Infant dark blue might be the better option since the black-tie wasn't originally black. It was, in reality, midnight blue since the original black looked a bit dusty under artificial light.


So, wearing dark blue might just have you acknowledged as someone who knows their fashion history. You can go for a classic tuxedo or velvet blazer. A touch of burgundy and bottle green in your dinner jacket can give you that vintage look.


And, for lapels, they should always be black. You can, however, choose between peak or shawl lapels. The peaked lapels are a rather straightforward and bold choice, compared to the shawl lapels, which symbolise timeless elegance. 



a bow tie is a must to wear with a black tie suit
Now we come to the most important attire for the evening. Surprisingly, you can go for any colour of the tie as long as it's not white. That’s reserved for white-tie events. The best choice would be to go for hand-tied ones over pre-tied ones. Although, if you are going for a pre-tied once, a little imperfection might give the illusion of it being a hand-tie tie.


You can choose between bow ties or regular ties according to your preference. However, there’s an increasing trend of people going for regular ties these days. These are called Hollywood black ties and work best with a regular suit instead of a dinner jacket. 



wear nothing other than black patent shoes for black tie events


You might want to take the easy route and just wear your black office shoes, but we advise against that. This is a formal evening, and your outfit needs to meet the mark. With that said, go for a simple black classic pair of shoes.


All you need to know about the shoes is that they should bring together your outfit and compliment it in a smart and sleek way. On the other hand, suede is an absolute no-no for the night.



When you’re wearing shoes, socks are an absolute must. No one wants people to peek at their hairy patch of legs at the dinner party. A simple pair of black socks is the best you can go for. There’s no need to spice things up by wearing Christmas socks or other coloured socks. You would only be frowned upon.


What Accessories Do You Need For A Black Tie?

In addition to the basics, you can stand out at the event by going for some accessories. If done right, these simple additions will surely land you in the spotlight. Here’s a list of acceptable accessories for the black-tie event:



Cummerbunds are an excellent choice if you want a more streamlined and sleek look for yourself. These are the board pleated sashes worn around the waist. And, when it comes to what colours you should go for cummerbund? Burgundy, plum, and dark green are elegant choices.


However, a simple black cummerbund remains a timeless choice. Just make sure to ditch the pleated white shirt and go for one without pleats when you wear a cummerbund.



Waistcoats are another good choice when it comes to creating a grateful look for yourself. This simple wardrobe piece will transform your regular look to deep dark elegance. The waistcoats bring out the deep V of the dinner jacket. You can keep it simple by going for a traditional black waistcoat, or you can spice things up with a textured fabric. Just don't experiment too much.



Watches are a gentleman’s best friend. They add an element of finesse to our outfit. Earlier, it was considered unacceptable to wear a watch to a black-tie event, but now there are no such constraints. If you choose to wear one, just make sure that your watch is slim and gold.
You can go for something unique by pickling a luxury watch for yourself.


Pocket Squares

A pocket square is better than an empty one. It’s still optional, though. If you plan on adding one to your outfit, keep it simple. A white pocket square is more than enough. Make sure not to go for personality squares or any other colours.



Cufflinks add a touch of elegance like no other. The one rule you need to keep in mind with cufflinks is that the more simple it is the more elegant it will look. There’s no need for something fancy or something that grabs too much attention.


How Does James Bond Wear Black Tie?

If you’re a fan of the Bonds franchise, you’re well aware that it has taken on various forms over the years. But, one thing that remains the same is that the legendary intelligence officer fights all of his crimes dressed in a black tie suit. Whether he’s sitting at the bar drinking martinis or out on the streets chasing bad guys, Bond’s attire remains a symbol of fashion.


In the classic films, you will find Bond adorned in a midnight blue coloured shawl lapel jacket paired with a midnight blue satin detailing. Additionally, he topped it off with a Dr. No Black dickie bow effortlessly.


Since the release of the original classic, 25 more Bond movies have made it to the screen. In the many different films, you’ll find James dressed in Marcella’s shirts and pleated ones along with single-breasted jackets. He’s also been spotted with waist coverings a couple of times.


In his two recent films, you can see Bond wearing a cummerbund. As for his shoes, they’re always patent leather. You’ll mostly find him rocking plain toe oxfords. If you have had a chance to look at the poster of his film,” No Time To Die,” you will notice the callback to the original movie.


James' outfit is oddly similar to what he was found wearing in the first film. He’s dressed in the same midnight blue shawl lapel dinner jacket. Although, this time, he’s showing off exaggerated stitching. Overall, his look is quite vintage.

james bond is a perfect example of what to wear for black dress code

Source: GQ Magazine


Summing it up, a black-tie event is a formal event with a rich history. Everyone attending is required to follow a strict dress code. Your basic outfit should consist of a simple dinner jacket, trousers, a white shirt underneath, and black formal shoes. By wearing cummerbunds, waistcoats, and pocket squares, you can spice things up. Watches and cufflinks bring a touch of elegance to your complete look.


By following these simple yet essential rules, you are sure to be crowned man of the evening. Happy dressing!
January 12, 2022

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