With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, chances are that you might be receiving an invitation calling for black tie attire. Are you a little uncertain about what black tie dress code entails? Well, you are not alone. In fact, each day thousands of men search on Google and many other search engines with keywords like: "Black Tie Attire", "How to Dress For Black Tie Events", or "Black Tie Dress Code". The few tips below will help you understand the basics about black tie attire and the appropriate dress code.
To sum things up, black tie means one thing: Tuxedo. Traditionally the black tuxedo is the only choice. White tuxedo jackets are only acceptable in warmer weather and in functions during the day. Stay away from any other color unless you know that the event is more playful and less serious. A high school prom for instance is a common place where young men prefer flashier tuxedo colors such as light baby blue, white, and even purple.
If you don't own your own tuxedo, renting one is the best option. Call around to local tuxedo places and see what choices, and what sizes they have available. Also get an idea about pricing. The typical price range is between $60 to $100. Buying your own tuxedo is a good idea if black tie attire is a more common occurrence for you. A good rule of thumb: If you wear a tuxedo more than three times per year, then buying one is a good option. Shopping around for sales on tuxedos you will find a good deal. The best deals are found when you have a little time and are in no rush to buy. When buying a tuxedo, make sure that the material is wool, as it is more breathable and more comfortable to wear than synthetic materials. The finer the wool, the shiner and more elegant the tuxedo will be. To rank the wools quality, experts speak of terms like super 100s, super 120s, super 140s, all the way up to super 200s wool. To get a general idea, super 100s tuxedos are considered "economical" while a super 140s wool tuxedo is considered luxury quality. Most rental places use tuxedos that are made of a mix between polyester and wool. They are longer lasting, easier to clean, and much cheaper for them to buy.
Traditionally black tie also requires a bow tie. The black bow tie is the best and most formal option. A white bow tie would be a good option for black tie attire in warmer weather in combination with a white tuxedo jacket. Other bow tie colors such as pink, burgundy, bright red, and baby blue are less formal and most commonly worn during weddings in order to match a particular wedding theme color. For traditional black tie attire, neckties are out of place. If you are invited to a semi-formal event however, neckties are better suited than bow ties. Just as with the bow tie, the black necktie is most formal. Also formal are solid color neckties that are made from finest satin-silk.
Now that you know the basics, the final things to consider are your accessories, such as cufflinks, wrist watches, belt and shoes. Cufflinks are always a great option. Make sure that the cufflink color matches you other pieces of jewelry. Shoes should always be black and polished to shine. Recommended are specific tuxedo shoes. They typically have a thin leather sole and have a high gloss coating. A nicely folded pocket square is also recommended. Most traditional is the white pocket square. Black pocket squares are a good choice in combination with a white jacket. As far as belts are concerned, they are traditionally replaces with a black cummerbund.