Ambiguous as it may be, the black tie dress code is one that often crops up on invites throughout the year. Whether it be for an evening wedding reception, a charity ball or a work dinner, this post 6pm dress code is here to stay so it's about time we got acquainted with it. Wrapping your head around the acceptable options for black tie can make you want to throw the towel in but thankfully we've broken it down for you. Been hit with this infamous dress code? Here's the lowdown...
The birth of black tie came way back in the 19th century when the traditional tailcoat began to faze out, paving the way for more contemporary, shorter styles. There came a realisation that getting about your evening shenanigans in a tailcoat was far from practical. Edward VII set the trend from that moment onwards and to this day the black tie dress code remains significant in formalwear.
Despite common misconceptions, the black tie dress code isn't actually as strict as you think. In short, it translates to a polished and elegant dark coloured suit paired with a crisp white shirt and obligatory bow tie. Although the colour clue is in the name, nowadays you can pretty much get away with anything. Midnight blue is favourable, as when the sun sets it tricks your eyes into appearing darker than black. Optional accessories such as a cummerbund or a winged collar shirt will add to the overall splendour of the look but are not completely necessary.
The blazer is arguably the main event and it traditionally features a black satin shawl collar. The rest is up to you however velvet really does offer that finesse required for a black tie dress code. In terms of colours, black, midnight blue and wine come alive after dark.
The waistcoat and trousers should follow the same theme as the blazer to create a coordinated look throughout. Your trousers should be tapered and a tad shorter if you opt for loafers. Alternatively trousers at the standard length with black patent shoes work just fine.
Last but not least, to bring the look together you need a bow tie. Ideally this should be black but deviating from the rules once in a while wouldn't hurt anyone. As long as you stick to dark colours you'll be dandy. Take a look at our range here.
Our top pick for a black tie dress code is the Simon suit, shop here.