Black-Tie Formal Wear – A Man’s Guide

If you’re an average man and not James Bond, chances are, you don’t regularly go to black-tie events. But judging by the fact that you’re here reading this, you’ve probably received an invitation to one now, and have no idea how to go about dressing for it.

What are the Black-Tie Events?

Black-ties are more formal than standard business attire but less formal than white-tie events, which include the entire package: tailcoats, waistcoats, top hats and cravats. But since no one really wears any of that anymore, a black-tie event is probably the most formal of events you’ll probably be invited to.

A typical black-tie event starts after 7 pm and has individuals following a particular dress code; which in the case of men, is typically a tuxedo, white shirt, and bow-tie. You may switch it up a bit by adding a waistcoat to the mix or wearing a bow tie in a color other than black, but the tux, shirt, bow-tie combo is usually the most popular.


How to Dress For a Black-Tie Event:

The Jacket

Tuxedos typically have a label that is made of a slightly different color and a completely different material than the rest of the jacket. The lapels are generally made of silk or satin, making them more formal than your everyday office suit.

The buttons on your tuxedo jacket will ideally be made of the same fabric as your lapel. The best material for a jacket would be a blend of wool and silk, and the color you want to go for should ideally be black, and alternatively a very dark, midnight navy.

The Waistcoat


Take your black-tie look up a notch and invest in a waistcoat to truly add a debonair flair to your outfit. Possibly the only article of your clothing that you can personalize; waistcoats can be worn in different colors and textures. However, if you’re short on funds, it is completely okay to skip this item.

The Dress Shirt

Unlike in business formal attire, any dress shirt of a color other than white is simply unacceptable. White dress shirts keep you looking understated yet classy. The style can be amped up by investing in a dress shirt with a stylized collar or made of a high-quality material, but the cuffs should always be double buttoned.

The Bow-Tie

An essential of any black-tie event, the bow tie is what makes or breaks your formal outfit. The correctly tied bow-tie of the perfect material and color will make your suited look go from semi-formal to formal. For the best results, match your bow-tie to either your jacket lapels or your cummerbund if you’re wearing one. You may also match it to your waistcoat.

The Pants

The pants should always be of the same color and material as your jacket. You can opt to have a pleated front, or a flat front, but no black-tie pant should ever have turn-up bottoms.

The Shoes

The only rule to shoes is that they must be formal and they should have a high-shine finish.

About Mark Fred

We aim to make the debonair man on a budget stand out from the crowd by offering affordable options for premium quality dress shirts and handmade leather belts for men. We believe quality should never be compromised for price and you can get the best quality products for even less!