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The Style Rave Guide To Men’s Black Tie Outfits



a Black Tie events require a certain level of elegance, sophistication and a good dose of timeless flair to enhance the occasion in style. Typically reserved for formal events such as weddings, galas and certain parties, the black tie dress code requires a specific approach to men’s outfits that does not easily translate to other gatherings. In 2024, some might argue that the rules for black-tie dressing have changed. However, they are not entirely correct. Of course, the way we dress for black-tie events has evolved, but the basic rules are still pretty set. For example, it is proper fashion to respond to a black tie invitation with a tuxedo and bow tie, not just a suit and tie.

While there is some flexibility, the main rules are simple. Traditional black tie outfits for men include a black tuxedo (or a midnight blue option), a black bow tie, a white tuxedo shirt, and black patent leather dress shoes. You can also choose to wear a cummerbund or a waistcoat, although the former is preferred.

Please note that black tie is not the most formal dress code; that would be white tie, which is even more formal and rare unless you are close to the British Royal Family. Even as formal dress codes generally become more relaxed, wearing a tuxedo to a black tie event remains the standard. Now let’s see what you need to know about dressing for such premium meetings.

Here’s your essential guide to mastering the black tie look…

#1. The tuxedo

The traditional tuxedo hasn’t changed much over the years. As of 2024, tuxedo jackets are typically black or midnight blue, with the latter considered more formal as it appears darker than black in artificial light. They are usually made of barathea wool, known for its elegant matte finish and beautiful drape. You can also find tuxedo jackets made from velvet, mohair (a soft yarn from angora goats), or wool and mohair blends. Regardless of the material, your tuxedo should be dark, attractive and able to reflect light in interesting ways.

Tuxedo jackets usually feature silk lapels, which can be styled as a notch, peak or, more often, as a scarf. The scarf and peak styles look particularly striking with double-breasted jackets, although the single-breasted style is more traditional. In addition, the trousers should match the jacket, be well pressed and have a straight leg. They usually feature a satin stripe running down the outside of each leg, adding to the formal look.

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#2. The tuxedo shirt

First and foremost, the shirt you choose for a tuxedo should be different from your regular work shirt. The simplest and least formal type is often made of light pique cotton or heavier twill and features a “hidden” closure that covers the buttons. A more traditional tuxedo shirt has a stiff bib in the front, usually made with a diamond-patterned weave, also called a Marcella bib. These shirts are known for their thick, starched fabric that adds a touch of elegance and can be used with or without snaps or cummerbund.

Another style to consider is the pleated bib, which comes in a variety of fabrics and designs. Whether or not you choose to have a shirt custom made, don’t hesitate to try out different styles. Most of these shirts feature a spread or wing collar (the latter is more formal but has a slightly old-fashioned look) and French cuffs. Here’s a style tip to remember: black studs generally go well with a cummerbund, while white studs go best with a waistcoat.

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#3. The bow tie

If we’re being honest, a tuxedo look is the only time you should wear a bow tie, so make sure you get it right. Your bow tie should be black. After all, the dress code isn’t called a blue-green tie with a floral print, right? There are three main types of bow ties. The ‘butterfly’, which is the most common, has a flat end and covers a large surface area. The “diamond point” resembles the butterfly in the center, but has pointed ends, hence the name. The “batwing” is more modern, with a straight, narrow, rectangular shape.

You can play with the size of the bow tie. (If you’re not sure, it’s safer to go bigger than you might think). However, consider how your bow tie will match the rest of your outfit, including the lapels of your jacket and the collar of your shirt. For example, if your jacket has wide lapels and you’re wearing a wide-collared shirt, choose a larger bow tie to make everything look cohesive. And guys, always tie your bow tie yourself. It may not be perfect, but its unique quirks make it special.

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#4. The shoes

You know that special white shirt you bought just for your tuxedo? Think about your shoes the same way. While regular black tie shoes can work quickly, the ideal black tie shoe is simpler and more sophisticated. They should be sleek, sleek and not overly decorated. For something extra special, consider patent leather opera pumps with a small bow or classic Belgian loafers.

Most people have plain black shoes with a hood and toe, and these can work well if they are clean and polished. However, black patent leather shoes are a top choice because they offer a rich, shiny black look that is perfect for formal events. Other great options include slip-on styles like Belgian loafers or leather or velvet Baudoin & Lange Sagans. Also don’t forget to wear thick black dress socks. When you sit down, you don’t want your socks to slide down and reveal your skin underneath.

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#5. The finishing touch

For a while, it seemed like cummerbunds were becoming obsolete, just like the tie. However, things have changed. If you choose to wear one, make sure it matches your outfit. If you have satin lapels, choose a satin cummerbund. (Please note that the pleats should face upwards). Also keep in mind that if your shirt has French cuffs, you will need cufflinks. Choose a simple design; copper cufflinks are a classic choice, but mother of pearl is a luxurious option. The goal is not to steal the spotlight, but to fit in seamlessly with the formality of the event.

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Check out some black tie outfits for men for inspiration…

Photo: @kustomeyes_menswear/Instagram
Photo: @its_lucien/Instagram
Photo: @gauravguptaofficial/Instagram
Photo: @gentlementailors/Instagram
Photo: @sartoriarossi.official/Instagram
Photo: @houseofnasir/Instagram
Photo: @fabric_tailoring/Instagram

Featured image: @ralphlaurenfragrances/Instagram

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