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The Style Rave Guide To Men’s Black Tie Outfits

The Style Rave Guide To Men’s Black Tie Outfits


A black tie events requires a certain level of elegance, sophistication, and a good dash of timeless flair to grace the occasion in style. Typically reserved for formal events like weddings, galas, and certain parties, the black tie dress code demands a specific approach to men’s outfits that cannot easily be translated to other gatherings. In 2024, some may argue that the rules for black-tie attire have changed. However, they are not completely correct. Of course, the way we dress for black-tie events has evolved, but the basic rules are still pretty fixed. For instance, it’s proper fashion to respond to a black tie invitation with a tuxedo and a bow tie, not just any suit and tie.

Although there is a little flexibility, the main rules are straightforward. Traditional black tie outfits for men include a black tuxedo (or a midnight blue option), a black bow tie, a white tuxedo shirt, and black patent leather dress shoes. You can also choose to wear a cummerbund or a waistcoat, though the former is more favored.

Note that black tie isn’t the most formal dress code—that would be white tie, which is even more formal and rare unless you’re close to British royalty. Even as formal dress codes in general become more relaxed, wearing a tuxedo to a black tie event remains the standard. Now, let’s explore what you need to know about dressing for such premium gatherings. 

Here is your essential guide to mastering the black tie look moving forward…

#1. The Tuxedo

The traditional tuxedo hasn’t changed much over the years. As of 2024, tuxedo jackets are typically black or midnight blue—the latter being considered more formal as it appears darker than black under artificial lighting. They are usually made from barathea wool, known for its elegant matte finish and beautiful drape. You can also find tuxedo jackets made from velvet, mohair (a soft yarn from Angora goats), or blends of wool and mohair. Regardless of the material, your tuxedo should be dark, attractive, and able to reflect light in interesting ways.

Tuxedo jackets typically feature silk lapels, which can be styled as notch, peak, or, more commonly, shawl. The shawl and peak styles look particularly striking on double-breasted jackets, though the single-breasted style is more traditional. In addition, the trousers should match the jacket, be well-pressed, and have a straight-leg fit. They usually feature a satin stripe running down the outside of each leg, adding to their formal look.

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#2. The Tuxedo Shirt

First and foremost, the shirt you choose for a tuxedo should be different from your regular work shirt. The simplest and least formal type is often made from light pique cotton or heavier twill and features a “hidden” placket that covers the buttons. A more traditional tuxedo shirt has a stiff front bib, typically made with a diamond-patterned weave, known as a Marcella bib. These shirts are known for their thick, starched fabric that adds a touch of elegance and can be used with or without stud fasteners or a cummerbund.

Another style to consider is the pleated bib shirt, which comes in various fabrics and designs. Whether or not you’re having a shirt custom-made, don’t hesitate to try different styles. Most of these shirts come with either a spread or a wing collar—the latter being more formal but having a slightly old-fashioned look—and French cuffs. Here’s a style tip to remember: black studs generally pair well with a cummerbund, while white studs go best with a waistcoat.

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#3. The Bow Tie

If we’re being honest, a tuxedo look is the only time you should be wearing a bow tie—so make sure you do it right. Your bow tie needs to be black—after all, the dress code isn’t called a floral-printed-teal tie, right? There are three main types of bow ties. The “butterfly,” which is the most common, has a flat end and covers a lot of area. The “diamond point” looks like the butterfly in the middle but flaunts pointed ends, hence the name. The “batwing” is more modern, with a straight, narrow, rectangular shape.

You can play around with the size of the bow tie. (When unsure, it’s safer to go bigger than you might think). However, consider how your bow tie matches the rest of your outfit, including your jacket lapels and shirt collar. For example, if your jacket has wide lapels and you’re wearing a broad-collar shirt, choose a larger bow tie to keep everything looking cohesive. And guys, always tie your bow tie yourself. It might not turn out perfectly, but its unique quirks make it special.

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#4. The Shoes

You know that special white shirt you bought just for your tuxedo? Think about your shoes in the same way. While regular black cap-toes can work in a hurry, the ideal black tie shoe is simpler and more refined. They should be sleek, slim, and not overly decorated. For something extra special, consider patent leather opera pumps with a small bow or classic Belgian loafers.

Most people have plain black cap-toe shoes, and these can work well if they’re clean and polished. However, black patent leather shoes are a top choice because they offer a rich, shiny black look that’s perfect for formal events. Other great options include slip-on styles like Belgian loafers or leather or velvet Baudoin & Lange Sagans. Don’t forget to wear thick black dress socks, too. When you sit down, you don’t want your socks sliding down to reveal your skin underneath.

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#5. The Finishing Touches

For a time, it looked like cummerbunds were becoming obsolete, much like the necktie. However, things have changed. If you choose to wear one, make sure it matches your outfit. If you have satin lapels, pick a satin cummerbund. (Remember, the pleats should face upwards). Also, keep in mind that if your shirt comes with French cuffs, you’ll need cufflinks. Opt for a simple design—while brass cufflinks are a classic choice, mother-of-pearl is a luxe option. The goal isn’t to steal the spotlight but to fit in seamlessly with the event’s formality.

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Check out some men’s black tie outfits for inspiration…

Photo: @kustomeyes_menswear/Instagram


Photo: @its_lucien/Instagram


Photo: @gauravguptaofficial/Instagram


Photo: @gentlementailors/Instagram


Photo: @sartoriarossi.official/Instagram


Photo: @houseofnasir/Instagram


Photo: @fabric_tailoring/Instagram

Featured image: @ralphlaurenfragrances/Instagram 

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