Black Tie

Black tie

Gentlemen

Black tie is sometimes referred to as 'dinner jackets', 'dress for dinner' and 'cravate noir' or, in America, as 'tuxedos.'

Traditional black tie for men consists of:

  • Black wool (barathea) or ultrafine herringbone dinner jacket. Single-breasted with no vents, silk peaked lapels (or a shawl collar) and covered buttons.
  • Black trousers - slightly tapered - with a single row of braid down each outside leg.
  • White evening shirt with a with a marcella collar, bib and double cuffs, with a turn-down collar (not a wing-collar), worn with cufflinks and studs. A plain silk shirt with buttons may be worn. A fly-fronted shirt, where the buttons are concealed, is acceptable.
  • Studs may be black or decorative.
  • Black bow tie must be hand tied; avoid ones which are pre-tied.
  • Cummerbunds are not considered essential but may be worn.
  • Highly polished or patent black lace-up shoes.
  • Black silk socks, long enough to ensure that no leg will show between the trouser leg and sock when seated.
  • Waistcoats may be worn and may be considered a smart option; a waistcoat and cummerbund are never worn together

Top Tip: a white handkerchief in the left breast pocket is a classic detail.

Ladies

  • For ladies, a smart dress (such as a cocktail dress) is appropriate. It can be long or short, as long as it's not too short. It need not be black.
  • Evening trousers are an option, but it is better to go for a palazzo cut, rather than tight-fitting.
  • Tights should be worn, black or sheer.
  • Fine or costume jewellery is appropriate, but not tiaras.
  • An elegant evening bag should be used.
  • Ideally, an evening coat should be worn.
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