Black Tie Dress Code | 9 Fundamentals For A Black Tie Event

Black Tie Dress Code | 9 Fundamentals For A Black Tie Event

Hi I’m Kirby Allison founder of The Hanger Project and we love helping the well-dressed
take care of their wardrobes. The purpose of today’s video is to
explain the basics of black tie. The one bastion of classic men’s
wear where the rules are so perfect there is no need to break them. There is a reason the rules have
remained virtually unchanged over the last century and that’s because they just simply cannot be improved. So a man looks his best whenever
black tie is perfectly executed. More importantly whenever you’re
following the rules of black tie it shows to those that matter that you know
what you’re doing. I still remember whenever I was in
college and had the opportunity to go to
several black tie events I was wearing my grandfather’s tuxedo but I was perfectly following the rules. I had a nice tuxedo with peak lapels. I wore a cummerbund with a white shirt. I couldn’t afford stubs so I had a placket that covered the buttons and I bought my first pair of opera pumps and so I could go to these black tie events with confidence knowing that although I was the youngest person
in the room you know that I was dressed just as well if not better than most of the people there with me. In the same way that you wouldn’t show up to a basketball
game wearing a football jersey, you don’t show up to a black tie event dressed inappropriately. A splash of color does not make you look debonair. It makes you look uninformed. Every rule that you follow makes you look better and every rule that you break makes you look worse. That’s why it’s important to know
the simple basic rules of black tie. They’re not complicated. They’re easy to follow and if you follow the rules
perfectly you never have to worry about
showing up to a black tie event not looking your best. The purpose of this primer is to
explain the basic fundamentals of black tie so that you are able to follow and enjoy them and most importantly experience a gentleman dressed at his best. Recently my wife Bianca and I were in London for a black tie
event hosted by a friend at Boodle’s one of the oldest and certainly most well-regarded
gentlemen’s clubs in London. Located right on St. James down the street from John
Lobb. It was incredibly validating to walk into a room full of elegantly dressed men all wearing black tie. You didn’t see anyone with long satin ties. You didn’t see anyone wearing fuzzy
cotton socks. You didn’t see anyone with their waist not covered either
by a cummerbund or a waistcoat and everyone just looked great. So I showed up to an elegant sophisticated black tie event at one of London’s most exclusive and historic gentlemen’s clubs looking like I fit in and belonged because I was following the rules of black tie. And so it just felt nice to be able
to walk through those doors knowing that I fit in, I was dressed appropriately and that I belonged there that
evening. So had I shown up to that event
wearing a red satin bow tie or worse a long tie, no cummerbund or a pair of black wingtips certainly no gentleman would have
made me feel out of place but at some point in that evening I certainly would have realized that
everyone else knew something I didn’t. And so with black tie it’s just important to understand that it
is not an area for innovation. The best dressed man in black tie is a man following the rules. So here in this primmer the purpose is to just simply review the basic fundamental elements of black tie so that you may follow and enjoy them and most importantly walk into your
next black tie event with the confidence that you look great. So let’s review these basic elements of black tie
together. So the first and most important rule
of black tie is that your dinner jacket does not have notched lapels. Right. So you don’t want a jacket
that has the same lapel that you do for a suit. The proper tuxedo jacket is one either with peak lapels like the one I’m wearing right now or with a shawl collar and preferably a single button because it has the cleanest look and no pocket flaps. If your tuxedo jacket does have pocket flaps just make sure that you’re able to tuck them in. The other element that is really
important for a proper tuxedo jacket is that it has alternate facing satin or grosgrain lapels. That just means that the material
that’s used for the facing of the lapel is different than the material that’s used for the actual jacket. So your trousers must have a single vertical satin stripe and no cuffs. To summarize a proper tuxedo jacket is black or dark midnight blue with peak lapels or a shawl collar and traditionally with a single
button and no pocket flaps. The lapels should be alternate facing material and the jacket made with no dents. The trousers should have a single vertical satin stripe and no cuffs. So it is always best to have a self tying bow tie made from the same
material as your tuxedo lapels. If you’re wearing a winged the
collar the problem with an adjustable bow
tie is that you’re able to see the
slider at the back of the neck. A specific
sized bow tie is always best but if you have an adjustable sized bow tie make sure that you’re always wearing it with a fold down collar
like the one I have on today. Next it is important to wear a
cummerbund or a waistcoat. Covering your waist is one of those elements that separates black tie from daytime business wear. It further elongates the silhouette and elevates the ensemble. These subtle small elements taken together are what make black tie so special. If you’re wearing a cummerbund be
careful to make sure that the pleats are
facing upwards. The tradition is that you would use
those pleats to hold your tickets for that
evening’s entertainment. So traditionally one does not wear a wristwatch with black tie. However these days it is acceptable to wear one as long as it’s not a large sport watch. So if you are wearing a watch it has to be an elegant dinner time piece preferably with a leather strap. Now if you can always try to match the hardware. So if you’re wearing gold studs try to wear a gold wrist watch. If you’re wearing a vest you can
accessorize it with a pocket watch or a pocket watch chain. If you can it is always best to wear a neatly folded thin white pocket square in your jacket pocket. Just the simple addition of a white
pocket square completes the whole look of
this ensemble. Next whenever it comes to your
shoes. you want to be wearing a pair of black dress shoes polished to a high shine. Either a pair of plain black cap toe oxfords, whole cuts or opera pumps but never any shoes with broguing like you would find in a pair of wingtips. So broguing are the small holes that you find punched into shoes to make
them less formal and it’s never appropriate in black tie. These days you see a lot of people
wearing slippers with black tie either with or worse without socks. Traditionally slippers were worn either at home or while at your club but really they’re not meant to be
worn out with black tie. So most traditionally with black tie you would wear black over the calf silk socks. Now as you can see these silk socks don’t look like your sister’s
stockings. Instead they elevate the formality and the elegance of black tie because they have a nice soft subtle sheen to them. Now if you don’t have silk socks you can absolutely wear a pair of smooth black over the calf socks as long as they’re not fuzzy or faded. Over the calf socks are important
because they prevent your socks from sliding down during the evening thereby exposing your bare leg. With your tuxedo shirt you
absolutely want to be wearing a plain white shirt with a flat front either with a fold over collar or a winged collar. If you have studs It’s a beautiful
way to elevate the ensemble with a little bit of embellishment. So if you don’t have formal studs as
you want to wear with your tuxedo then you want to be wearing a white
shirt with a covered placket. A covered placket is just an extra piece of fabric that
flaps over the front of the shirt and it just conceals and covers the buttons. Remember if you don’t have studs that show you should have buttons that don’t. So there’s nothing wrong with a scarf and gloves as long as you take them off whenever you
arrive and don’t wear them inside. Preferably either a white or a black silk scarf and remember no fuzzy socks and no fuzzy scarves. So I hope that this video helps you
understand just how easily and approachable black tie is and that you should never feel
intimidated. By following the simple fundamental rules of black tie you can dress in confidence knowing that you
look great in whatever formal situation you find yourself. Just like whenever my friend took me
aside or whenever I was much younger and really walked me through the
rules I hope that this video helps you
understand that black tie really is incredibly simple and should never be
intimidating. By simply following the rules you can always dress with confidence knowing that you’re
going to look great regardless of what
formal situation you find yourself in. If you have any questions about this
video please feel free to ask them in the
comments section below. I’ll get back to all those questions
personally. If you like this video give us the
thumbs up or better yet subscribe to our
channel and turn on notifications so that you can learn whenever we post
new videos. So please visit our formalwear
section on and view our full collection of
sovereign grade black tie accessories. We have everything you’d need to
ensure you look your best when dressing in
black tie. I’m Kirby Allison founder of The
Hangar project and we love helping the well-dressed
take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining us.

73 Replies to “Black Tie Dress Code | 9 Fundamentals For A Black Tie Event”

  1. I was once at a black tie event and saw a guy wearing Converse sneakers with his tuxedo. I bet he thought he was cool, but more like clueless.

  2. I have been told a pocket square in not necessary. Pockets squares, I have been told, dress up your sport coat or suit only. Please tell more about the rule. Thanks in advance

  3. I was always under the impression that black tie requires a pleated shirt, and was unaware that a plain shirt can be worn.

  4. I've seen tuxedo shirts with many pleats in the front upper part of the shirt. Any rules about those kinds of shirts and is the plain one necessary?

  5. Hey Kirby. Great Video!
    Are you supposed to wear French cuffs for black tie or is it just optional? And if so, do the studs have to match the cufflinks?

  6. Kirby, great video. I have a pair of black wholecuts as my shoes. I was just wondering, where do you purchase silk shoelaces? I haven't been able to find any here in the UK

  7. I was been taught the host of the event will purposely wear a white tuxedo jacket for their black tie event to make them stand out from the crowd.. is that true?

  8. Kirby must the shirt studs match with the cufflinks? I lost my mother of pearl (MOP) shirt studs and have got new ones but they do not match with the MOP cufflinks.
    The cufflinks have a different design to the new shirt studs I bought

  9. Awesome video!!! Thanks for sharing! Do you think black tie could work well with the traditional 1953 Horsebit leather Gucci loafers? Thank you! Here is the link of the loafers I'm referring to:

  10. nowadays, there is a new trend that many guys worn fancy suits, pants, loafer shoes with no-show socks, they thought it is cool but I think it is quite dumb

  11. Hi Kirby, I recently acquired a waistcoat that has peaked lapels. The lapels themselves are tacked on to the body of the waistcoat by a single stich on both the upper lapel and the lower lapel. Is this just tac stitching that someone forgot to remove?

  12. Hey, Kirby great video! This really helped me, but I was wondering about the rules for a Double Breasted suit, would you still need a cumberbund or waistcoat?

  13. I dont own a tux and I don’t usually go to black tie events But i got invited to one that said black tie preferred . Can i use my dark navy blue suit and use a white shirt with studs and a black bow tie?
    Thanks for your help

  14. T
    THE H
    THE HA
    THE HA
    THE H

  15. Hey Kirby…I have a question. Does wearing black tie mean one must be clean shaven, or is it ok to have facial hair, like a goatee?

  16. You make some interesting and informative videos, Mr. Allison. What are your views on the wearing of decorations with black tie?

  17. Formal menswear purposefully makes all men look the same so the attention can be put on the ladies and the man's personality.

  18. Quick question, is a White Jacket, with black trousers, bow-tie, cummerbund and appropriate shoes a good fit for a Black tie Christmas party?

  19. Black tie is formal. Formal is not casual. Just like McDonald's hamburgers, vulgar language, ghetto dress with your pants falling off your unwashed underwear, crass behavior and an obscene lack of manners is not creme brulee, human evolvement, refinement, and a Harvard degree in physics. In a world of polarity, which this is, refinement and intelligence is the opposite of stupid and smelling bad. Trying to make the two equal is another ignorant attempt at equalizing what isn't equal and never will be equal because they're opposites. And in this case opposites do not attract. In fact in most cases where mental illness is not a factor opposites never attract. Like energy attracts like energy and you attract what you're a match to. That is a universal law and one cannot be forced on the other without a violent reaction. Vomiting or war.

  20. Thank you, good tips. Could you make a video where you explain what is what? Like each word you said right now with picture next to it? It would make everything more clear. like "stud" for example, I looked on internet and it shows too many pictures or other things, so it's not clear what it is exactly. Thank you again, great video 🙂

  21. Hi can you tell me if your wearing a cummerbund do you leave the tuxedo jacket open please reply thanks

  22. I deffo agree on most of this…with the exception of the Cummerbund, there’s no need to wear one and actually on many men it breaks up the line of the suit and fills out their waist more, thus achieving the opposite of what you want a well cut suit to achieve.

    Black tie looks best minimalist however these days black tie can be a bit more relaxed depending on the event, you can wear a dark coloured smoking jacket and look extremely well turned out, and certainly not out of place at 90% of black tie events. White tie…ok there’s no wiggle room, but black tie I think it’s good to see some slight variations on it being only black or midnight blue.

  23. Dude whoever did your make up definitely made you look older than you are… You can clearly see the touch-up application, I think takes away from your elegant outfit man, you are always a top tier dresser.

  24. Great channel and video. I have a white tie ensemble that I would love to wear but opportunities are rare. I do, however, have opportunities to wear a black tie ensemble. Can I wear white tie to a black tie event? Is this over dressed? Thanks for your insight.

  25. Best thing anyone ever told me was that back tie allows you to relax. No worries about over or under-dressing. No worries about the latest fashions. Just enjoy the conversation and the dinner.

  26. I'm having a tux made, they make the coat with two buttons and flapped pockets. How big of a faux pas would that be in Fort Wayne Indiana?

  27. I have one question, is it okay to wear a velvet dinner jacket (dark blue or dark green) to a black tie event? Considering the jacket has all the right characteristics, single button, peak lapels in grosgrain and no pocket flaps, the rest of the outfit would be the same as a tux
    Thanks for the help

  28. This is so good, Kirby! Thanks so much. A lot of truly useful information which I'm going to start looking over on an old tux I used before.

  29. Great video… I have two questions.

    1- Is it important to wear shiney shoes? Can one wear black loafers?

    2-Do you think if a person has a belly bulge Cumarband still a good idea?


  30. Question …. does the tuxedo supposed to be fitted close to your body shape or loose? I saw some tuxedo that looks very relax and kind of not close fitted like modern day suits.

  31. Would love an update to this video, but maybe Kirby going through some Do's and Don’t's, and maybe a top five celebrity black tie mistakes in pop culture. I'm certain he has some cases in mind….

  32. Interesting to know you have several black tie events during your college time. In my country (tropical), that's not the typical case when you're in the university/college. For instance, I am almost 30 years old and I haven't been required to attend to a black tie event (optional or mandatory) so far. The most formal dress code you are bound to comply with, during that time or even after that, is the "business attire" e.g. the graduation, etc. I guess all or most of the men in those events you attended were required to wear a tuxedo, I guess it was not an optional matter. So, in my case, is less probable to wear it, even if oneself is eager to be a little bit "overdressed" and tuxedo is not common in middle class important events (except, sometimes, a groom in his wedding). In the so-called high society it can be more usual in some opportunities.

    Regards. Nice video/information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *