Formal Attire for Men: Formal Dress Code Explained

Black tie events are few and far between for the majority of us. So, while the opportunity to attend such a formal function is always exciting, it can also be a challenge. After all, even the most seasoned dresser can find it difficult to navigate the rules of black tie attire and then execute them in style. Fortunately, we’re experts in the field and can assist you in selecting the ideal outfit for your next formal occasion. Our guide to the black tie dress code for men is provided below.

What is Black Tie Dress Code?

Apart from a white tie event, a black tie dress code denotes formal evening wear and is the highest level of dress. The most important thing to remember when wearing this outfit is to keep things simple. Classic black tie outfits should be perfectly tailored, which means that all components should skim your frame properly. A black tuxedo is one of the most appealing options because it can be worn repeatedly and does not date. However, there are numerous other outfit elements to consider when preparing for a black tie event, such as the style of your tux, shirt, and accessories.

Formal Attire for Men


When trying on potential tux jackets, look for clean, sleek lines. Maintain a minimalist aesthetic to ensure your black tie looks stand the test of time. A well-tailored black tuxedo is the best option for a timeless look that can be worn time and again. That being said, a deep midnight blue tuxedo has a wonderful depth to it. This color option will not go out of style and will complement specific skin tones, adding a subtle twist to classic looks. A velvet dinner jacket, on the other hand, is a worthy alternative, lending vintage references to black tie attire. When wearing a velvet jacket, pair it with a simple black pair of trousers to ground the look. When it comes to lapels, you can choose between peak and shawl styles.

Peak Lapel

Peak lapels are more popular and are extremely useful for enhancing the broadness of shoulders and overall shape. Tux blazers with peak lapels are simple and universally flattering. They look good on all body types and heights.

Shawl Lapel

A smooth conjoined lapel distinguishes the shawl lapel tux. This sleek, clean, and minimalist tux will give black tie looks a more stylish shape. When trying out this tux style, keep proportions in mind to ensure your look complements your build and the other components of your attire.


Unless you’ve chosen a velvet jacket, which should be paired with a grounding black pair of trousers, your tux trousers should match your jacket. Making sure your trousers are hemmed and not too long or too short is a simple but crucial step. Tailoring your trousers will elongate your proportions, making them suitable for formal looks. A slim-fit tuxedo flatters most body types and registers classic while still looking youthful.

Dress Shirt

Keep it simple, as with all aspects of black tie attire. You should wear a classic white turn-down collared dress shirt made of high-quality fabric. Simple, minimalist, and timeless. Maintain simplicity by ensuring that your dress shirt is not convoluted and does not distract from the other minimalistic elements of classic black tie attire.

Bow Tie

A bow tie is traditionally worn with black tie attire. Selecting one that is black or matches the facing of your tux is standard, but don’t feel constrained by this conservative approach. Today, there are numerous ways to change up your appearance without breaking all the rules. For a more fashion-forward look, try an oversized bow tie or experiment with different textures, such as luxurious velvet.


A waistcoat, while not strictly necessary, can be an excellent addition to a black tie ensemble. A waistcoat is a smart and stylish menswear item that is ideal for adding interest to an otherwise simple outfit. Choose a traditional black waistcoat for a classic look. Choose a style with unique details or made of textured fabric for a more exciting look. If you really want to shake things up, consider a waistcoat in a dark color other than black, but don’t go too far.

Dress Shoe

Patent leather dress shoes are appropriate for black tie occasions. Patent Oxford shoes, in particular, are an excellent choice. To wear them, keep it classic but youthful with a slightly narrow, round-toed style. Not only will such a pair make you look dapper, but they’ll also make you look seriously fashionable.


A cumberbund is a piece of fabric that sits between the top of your suit trousers and the bottom of your shirt. It is traditionally made of silk or satin and is worn for a formal appearance with a tuxedo or single-breasted dinner suit. To wear one, simply wrap it around the lower half of your waist and fasten it securely at the back. Also, if your bow tie isn’t black, your cumberbund should be the same color.

The Finishing Touches

When it comes to finalizing your black tie looks, a little variety can go a long way. Choose satin scarves for a subtle nod to the past, and keep cufflinks simple. As always, make sure your hair and grooming are flawless. Your signature scent for black tie looks should be something daring, stark, and noticeable, as this will add an extra dimension to a well-tailored tux that is notable and memorable.

Black Tie Wedding Attire

If you’re going to a black-tie wedding, a black tuxedo is the most appropriate choice. Choose a single-breasted style with a sharp, minimalistic appeal to keep the overall appearance simple. Also, keep in mind that a slim cut is the most flattering and will keep your style looking current. Choose a smart white dress shirt with a turndown or wing collar for your shirt. Then, round out your ensemble with a black bow tie and leather dress shoes.

Form Attire Tips

  • Wear a well-tailored tuxedo for a timeless and appropriate look.
  • Choose a jacket with a peak lapel for a structured look or a shawl lapel for a more casual look.
  • Match your tux with a classic white dress shirt made of high-quality fabric.
  • Patent leather dress shoes are the best option for footwear.
  • Make sure to finish your look with a bow tie.
  • Consider wearing a satin scarf or unique cufflinks to spice up your look.

Formal Attire for Men FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers

What is the formal wear dress code?

A formal dress code refers to attire that is appropriate for formal occasions. Weddings, dinners, and work functions are examples of such occasions. When attending an event that requires formal attire, you must look neat and presentable, pay close attention to detail, and keep colors muted. Tuxedos are an excellent choice and should be paired with a dress shirt and smart shoes. You should also wear a bowtie, and one of the most sophisticated and versatile options is standard black.

What is the difference between formal and black tie?

A formal dress code is one that requires men to wear tuxedos, dress shirts, and dress shoes. Finish the look with a bow tie and pay attention to the fit and detailing of your chosen garment. The fit should be tailored to complement your frame and make you look polished. A black tuxedo is a subtle and versatile garment that can be worn by men of all ages and does not date. It is always a good idea to read the dress code for the events you will be attending and to consider the location.

What is acceptable for formal wear?

Formal wear necessitates dressing up, and a suit is an excellent way to do so. You must pay close attention to the cut, fit, and detailing of your suits. A slim-fit tuxedo is a fantastic option that will flatter men of all ages and body types. Keep your outfit simple for a timeless, classic look; this is also beneficial because you can wear it for more than one season without it looking dated. Black is one of the most sophisticated and versatile colours, but depending on the location and event, you can experiment slightly. White and deep midnight blue are also options. Wear it with a dress shirt, smart shoes, and a bow tie. You can personalize your outfit by selecting from a variety of lapels.

Can I wear boots to a black tie event?

The short answer is no, you cannot wear boots to a black tie event. Boots are generally more casual, though sophisticated or fashion-forward styles are available. Boots should not be worn with tuxedos because the two styles will clash. Wearing patent leather shoes, such as oxfords or brogues, would be a better choice for a black tie event.

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