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Guide: Black Tie Formal Wear: A Brief Guide

Black Tie Formal Wear: A Brief Guide
Like many men, you may feel rather lost when an invitation arrives in the mail bearing the ominous words, "black tie only." Unlike many years ago, it's not all that common for everyday guys to know what to do when it comes to formal wear. In order to avoid making an embarrassing faux pas, it pays to study up on the basics about men's formal attire. There is a fairly strict code and tradition associated with this type of clothing; the following pointers should help you get a good handle on the basics.

Select the Right Tuxedo Jacket for your next Black Tie event.

A few tips about choosing the right tuxedo jacket include:
Color - Always go with black or midnight blue; anything else will be frowned upon during a truly black tie affair.

Style - You can take your pick from a single-breasted or double-breasted jacket; the choice is entirely yours.

Lapels - Although notched lapels are extremely popular, they aren't traditional.  For those of you looking for classic black tie, stick to the straight and narrow in terms of style, go for a tuxedo with peaked lapels or a shawl collar. Peaked lapels point up and out just beneath the collar and are V-shaped. A shawl collar is smooth and rounded; it doesn't have notches. In terms of material, there are two basic options for lapel facings: grosgrain, a silky material with horizontal ribbing, or satin.

Sleeve Buttons - As long as the sleeve buttons of your formal jacket match its lapel facings, you'll be good to go.

Basic Tips About Formal Trousers
The right trousers will be cut for suspenders. They will also be made out of the same color and material as the tuxedo jacket. At the seams, the best trousers will have single braids that are made out of the same material as the lapel facings. This helps to achieve a uniform and dapper look.

A Note About Tuxedo Waist Coverings
Although some would say that waist coverings are no longer mandatory, they are if you want to achieve a truly classic black tie look. You can opt for a waistcoat (tuxedo vest) or a cummerbund. Whichever style you choose, it should be made out of the same material as the lapel facings on your jacket. Again, this will give you a look that is dashing and coordinated.

Additional Black Tie Tips
When it comes to formal wear, you should always go with a white shirt. Select cuff links or studs made out of mother-of-pearl or gold to complete the look. Finally, look in the mirror - the man that you see should look confident, capable and completely sophisticated.

Tuxedo Shirt Guide

Dinner Jacket Guide

Prom Formal Wear

Black Tie Formal Wear

Tuxedo Vests

Formal Accessories

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