Most men know what a black tie or white tie dress code generally means. However, when it comes down to rules and specifics – such as the type of weaving required for your clothing – you probably have no idea what you should actually be doing.
One must realize that an invitation to an affair that specifies itself to be a black tie event simply means that you should wear a tuxedo. There is a certain allowance of flexibility in black tie events – a gentleman can opt to wear either a single or a double breasted tuxedo jacket. Contrary to the term defining the dress code, men can also choose any color of bow tie and cummerbund that they prefer. This is especially accepted when the invitation that you’ve received indicates black tie preferred or black tie optional. As a matter of fact, it is not considered a fashion faux pas even if you choose to ditch the tuxedo jacket altogether and just replace it with a matching tuxedo vest and bow tie.
Black tie events usually occur in the evening so one must adhere to the following:
- Wear a dark colored tuxedo, preferably black or midnight blue, rather than one of the light-colored variety. For less conservative occasions, I would suggest wearing this 2-Button Jacket with Satin Trimmed Lapel from Calvin Klein. This single breasted tuxedo jacket gives you a fashion forward look while still maintaining an aura that boasts of class and elegance.
- Evening events are prime opportunities to wear a tux with tails, so take full advantage of it. Wearing a black tailcoat is a rarity nowadays and would also most likely be a perfect conversation starter.
- If the occasion calls for a more formal look, a double breasted tuxedo is the more appropriate choice. These tuxedo rules apply for formal events such as symphony orchestra performances or a wonderful night at the opera.
White tie refers to the most formal dress code in the fashion world of Western culture. As such, prepare to wear the fanciest attire in your closet. The rules are a lot stricter when it comes to white tie affairs:
- Only double breasted tuxedos are to be worn at these events. Absolutely no single breasted tux’s should enter your mind when choosing from a variety of formal wear for men.
- Tradition dictates that your vest, your dress shirt, and your bow tie should all be pique, a type of weaving style that produces raised parallel cords or fine ribbing.
- Opposite to black tie, the white tie dress code signifies that you are required to wear a white bow tie, a white tuxedo vest and a white wing-collared tuxedo shirt. The tuxedo jacket and matching trousers, however, should be black in color.
- Tailcoats during white tie gatherings should not be too long, contrary to the rules of black tie. Only for state dinners, highly-formal balls, and weddings during evening hours should this attire be worn.
Not many gentlemen know these specific sets of rules, so it would surely impress your peers if you could follow these guidelines and know them like the back of your hand. Once you have committed this to memory, share this information with others so that they too are privy as to what should be worn for specific special occasions.