With the New Year upon us, we thought it would be worth revisiting some of the essentials of black tie. So, to ensure things smoothly as you see in 2017, here are a few reminders...
Strictly an evening affair, as the name of the suit worn on this occasion – the dinner jacket –suggests, Black Tie should never be worn before 5pm. Quite appropriately, the Black Tie ensemble should be entirely black, but this still enables you to express your personality. Three variations of the dinner jacket are acceptable, depending on the formality of the event you are attending. A three-piece suit is the most formal, followed by a two-piece suit, which must be worn with a cummerbund. A double-breasted suit is the least formal style of dinner jacket. Whichever suit style is preferred, or expected, the lower part of the lapel should be faced with black satin or silk. This is complemented by a matching satin or silk stripe on the outer leg of the trousers. It cannot be overstated that the only acceptable colour for Black Tie is black. This includes shoes, which should be leather and highly polished; socks, which are preferably knee-length and, most definitely, the bow-tie, which should be silk or satin and tied by hand. Shirts, which are best kept simple, should be white.
Ludwig Reiter Patent Leather Derby
The sartorial restrictions of Black Tie can be irksome, but as all men will be similarly attired, there is scope to make one's mark, for the right reasons. It is often remarked that some rules are meant to be broken and if you wish to appear a little more avant-garde, a dark blue dinner jacket can be particularly arresting. It is also permissible to inject a modicum of colour and pattern into the bow-tie, although you would do well to remember that the event you are attending is formal rather than fancy. Socks should always be black & suede loafers or slippers, though presently en vogue, are best left for the smoking room, as they can seem dusty and scuffed if the interior lighting is harsh. Interest can be added to shirts by adding discreet dress studs.
With your wardrobe sorted, everything else should fall into place. Happy New Year!