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Black Tie Dress Code

In a world that often gets lost in informality, there is still a corner of timeless elegance, and that is that of the Black Tie, an elevation of taste that turns every occasion into a dance of romantic, elegant, classic style

This dress code invokes a timeless standard of sophistication, an invitation to immerse yourself in a world of impeccable clothes and carefully selected accessories-the Black Tie dress code is a style staple that will never go out of style.

Let’s find out together the secrets of the Black Tie code to best interpret it.

The Black Tie dress code for men: what does it mean?

The Black Tie look owes its name to its signature garment, namely the tuxedo, which in turn is derived from the English expression smoking jacket, which literally means “smoking jacket”, an outfit worn in the 1800s by men of a certain social class for meetings in smoking rooms. Thus, its use was almost exclusively instrumental, and it was worn with the aim of keeping the strong smell of smoke and tobacco from impregnating the clothes.

It was thanks to the Prince of Wales Edward VII that the tuxedo took on a value of elegance and formality when, in 1865, he asked his personal tailor Henry Poole to tailor a jacket for him to wear on evenings and events at his country estate at Sandringham.

From that moment, the tuxedo began to set the trend, spreading first throughout Europe and then to the rest of the world as the quintessential evening gown (Americans call it “tuxedo”). And thus was born the Black Tie dress code.

This formal code is often required on high-profile occasions such as ceremonies, gala events, theater premieres, and fancy soirees, and to this must be added the fact that the Black Tie is “forbidden,” stylistically speaking, before 6 p.m.

But what does it really mean to wear the Black Tie?

The main elements of Black-Tie for men

The main elements of the Black Tie dress code for men are those that give a timeless elegance to the look.

  • First, the black tuxedo, which is the centerpiece of this formal code, featuring lapels and a striped trouser side.
  • A white shirt, with its refined pleating and jeweled buttons, adds an unparalleled touch of class.
  • A silk tie or bow tie are distinctive elements that complete the look.
  • Accessories then, are essential to add personality and sophistication: cufflinks, perhaps with a touch of sparkle, and the pocket handkerchief.
  • Finally, shiny black shoes and matching socks are essential for a flawless look.

These elements, when skillfully combined, create a sophisticated look, making the Black Tie dress code a true style statement.


If you want to follow tradition to the letter, the official color of a tuxedo is black. However, modernity has also introduced the color blue with great success, while ivory and white are a popular option for outdoor weddings during the spring and summer months (not only does the color absorb less heat from the sun, but it is also exceptionally suitable for light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and pure linen and blends).

But with ceremonies or galas becoming less traditional, the Black Tie has evolved, now allowing people to add a bit of their own personal taste to the traditional look, calling this new approach a creative Black-Tie. This dress code offers the freedom to stray from convention, such as going from black-on-black to a combination of a colorful wool, cotton, or velvet jacket and a pair of black pants. You can even ditch the white tuxedo shirt and opt for a turtleneck! Or choose velvet loafers instead of leather lace-ups.
For those who wish to blend the modern with the classic, the creative black-tie is the first choice in evening wear.

Returning instead to the classic canons, the tuxedo jacket should be strictly single-breasted (although there is also a double-breasted version), without back slits and with single-button front fastening. The lapels can be spear or shawl covered with black satin, as are the jacket buttons, while the pockets are flap or welt.

Bold, yet still refined, the shawl lapel is the ultimate for evening styles and the timeless standard in tuxedo design due to its strong aesthetic and timeless appeal. With clean lines and a modern rounded shape, shawl lapel tuxedos offer a decidedly elegant and sophisticated silhouette always welcome at formal occasions.

Tuxedo pants should always be worn black, even if the jacket were white or other colors. They are distinguished from other trouser styles by the thin black satin bands sewn on both sides from waist to hem. Note how tuxedo pants should be without pleats or lapels.

The pants of a classic tuxedo need thin suspenders, which are much more appropriate for such a formal look, although today the use of a discreet and elegant belt is also accepted.

In addition to the tuxedo, a sash or sash, also called cummerbund, or a black vest can be used.

The cummerbund is a black satin sash that is knotted on the back and has pleats in the front. The color and fabric of the sash should match the cummerbund.
The other option, the vest, should have a flared neckline and the fabric the same as the rest of the dress. In any case, both of these accessories are not mandatory.

The perfect tuxedo shirt

The shirt to be worn under the tuxedo must be exclusively white, no exceptions! Cotton or linen.

The buttoning can be completely hidden or, if the buttons are visible, they should be small and black. The cuffs are double with gold or silver cuff links, optionally with black stones. On the front, the shirt may have pleats, that is, small folds.

In North America, a tuxedo shirt with a classic collar is more commonly used, while in Europe the winged collar is favored. Obviously adorned with a black silk bow tie, preferably hand-knotted, an essential accessory in a Black-Tie look

Black-Tie accessories and shoes

The most elegant shoes are definitely those made of black patent leather with a satin bow, but polished black leather shoes are also widely used. In any case, with tuxedo shoes should be simple, without decorations and should be worn exclusively with black socks. Today, a more contemporary Black Tie footwear option are also velvet loafers, which add texture and style without skimping on elegance.

A pocket handkerchief should also always be used with the tuxedo, preferably white and folded in a puff or three-pointed shape.