It’s time to get your penguin suit out! You are going to a black-tie affair! Events that classify as black-tie affairs can be opening night at the opera or a theater event, state dinner, formal evening wedding, formal New Year’s Eve party, cultural fetes, gala dinners that are by-invitation only and other swanky, upscale soirees normally attended by high society.
Both men and women who attend this kind of event are required to wear formal attire. Men have fewer choices when it comes to their outfit for a black-tie event. If this is your first time to attend a black-tie gathering, read on to learn what you need to wear.
Get a tuxedo. The components of the tux are the black coat with lapels, a pair of black dress pants, a black cummerbund or vest, a white shirt and a black tie or bowtie. If you expect to attend more than a few black-tie events, it may be cheaper to buy your very own tuxedo rather than renting one.
Choose a basic style. For your first tuxedo, go for a basic style; something you will be comfortable wearing. Don’t get colorful accessories yet. Instead, stick to a black tie as well as a black cummerbund. The cummerbund is the pleated broad waist sash. It is easier to get additional or more colorful accessories later on. More and more men are wearing the same color bowtie and cummerbund as their date’s attire.
Pick a shirt style that you like. The white long-sleeved shirt can have delicate ribs or fine pleats. You can also opt for the classic black enamel buttons or go with pearl-like ones.
Make sure the bowtie is not a clip-on. Never wear your tuxedo with a clip-on bowtie or necktie. It just says cheap. Bowties should be tied by hand so practice days before the event. Have someone from the place you bought or rented the tux from teach you how to tie it properly. Otherwise, there are videos on the web that can educate you.
Have your self fitted. Whether you plan to purchase one or just rent a tuxedo, make sure that it fits perfectly. Nothing says “I’m not used to these affairs” than wearing an ill-fitting tux. Both the pants’ inseam and the waist should be comfortable but well-fitted. The jacket should be snug with the length of the arm just above the knuckles when your arm is held straight down. Pay close attention to the fit of the shoulders.
Choose the appropriate footwear. Black leather dress shoes are a must. These should be clean and polished. Wear black socks.
Note: Don’t forget to wear cufflinks and studs (if there are no buttons on the shirt) in black or gold, a formal watch and a white handkerchief to complete your James Bond look. A white silk pocket square is a nice touch as well.
No man should ever be apprehensive in attending a black-tie event. It is a great opportunity to dress elegantly and attend a formal event. If you receive an invitation to a black-tie but do have plans to wear a tuxedo, then you might as well forget about going. Even if the host is flexible enough to write black-tie invited or black-tie optional on the invitation, it is best to attend in a tux. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy this formal event. And when you order your very dry vodka martini, just say: “shaken, not stirred.”