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.
- 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.