Lots of men are understandably confused when trying to figure out what to wear for a black tie event. After all, in this day and age, many people have relaxed their old rules and customs. Plus there are far fewer formal events with strict dress codes than there were in previous generations. If you are attending a black tie event and are not sure what to wear, be sure to check out the list below.
- Dinner Jacket. The jacket you wear for a black tie event should be solid black or midnight blue. It may be either single- or double-breasted and should be made of worsted wool. It may have satin or grosgrain facing. No vents is most formal, but minimal side vents are acceptable.
- Pants. The color and material must match the jacket. A pleated front and no cuffs should be present on the trousers you wear to a black tie event!
- Waist covering. This can be a cummerbund but it doesn't have to be. It can also be a waistcoat, so long as it matches the lapel facings of the jacket. If you're going with a waistcoat, the best thing to do is to have a jacket with peaked lapels. The coat should have three buttons if your jacket is single-breasted, and six if it's double-breasted.
- Shirt. Your shirt must be white when attending a black tie event. No exceptions. It may have a wing collar or a turndown collar, but it should have eyelets for studs and French cuffs for cufflinks.
- Tie. Obviously, it must be black silk if you're attending a black tie event. Sticklers will always call for a bow tie. However, you can get away with a traditional tie, even though it is technically not legitimate black tie attire. The tradition of the bow tie has been somewhat relaxed in recent years, but bowties are recommended.
- Accessories. Cufflinks may be black, gold, mother-of-pearl or sterling. You need traditional, black-tie silk socks, often called "stockings" or "hose" (don't panic, they're for dudes).
- Outerwear. Outerwear is not a tremendously important element of black tie attire, so when attending a black tie event a dark, preferably black, dressy coat will work. Do not wear a trench coat to a black tie event. Evening dress gloves may be leather or suede and should be black or gray. If you want to wear a scarf, it must be silk and should be black or white.