What is a Black Tie Dress Code and a Black Tie Event?

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Just the mere mention of the term black tie dress code oozes formal. It sounds like the best of the best, dress to impress, and generally, that’s pretty true.

So what is black tie all about and what type of events might require such a strict dress code?

Let’s find out.

 

Black Tie Dress Code Explained

In most cases, a black-tie event will be held after dark, usually after 6 pm, but that’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule, as these occasions do take place in daylight hours too.

Black tie is definitely formal. There’s no smart-casual involved, and that goes for the ladies as well as the gentlemen.

So for the men, what does this mean you have to wear?

The black-tie itself sounds self-explanatory, but what about the rest of your outfit?

Is it mandatory that you wear a tuxedo or will a regular suit suffice?

Tuxedos are the norm if you want to strictly adhere to black-tie traditions, but in the modern world, there’s more scope to wear a regular suit. In some hot climates, men will wear a white suit or tuxedo instead of a black one.

A black-tie or bow tie is required, and usually, a white shirt will be worn under the black suit jacket or tuxedo.

Another touch that’s very common is a white handkerchief in the breast pocket of the jacket.

Black shoes polished to a fine lustre are also a requirement, and necessary when wearing black dress pants.

Some optional attire includes the addition of a cummerbund or a waistcoat. Jackets can either be single-breasted or double-breasted. Your choice.

So what events might stipulate a black-tie dress code?

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Awards Ceremonies

Nothing spells black tie and formal more than something huge like the Academy Awards.

Now most of us won’t be getting an invite anytime soon to attend the Oscars, either as a guest or someone up for a nomination, but there are many awards ceremonies taking place all the time.

These could be local TV awards, business awards, awards handed out to company employees, even awards ceremonies at school.

Not all regional awards nights will be black tie, but many of them are.

 

A Wedding

Most brides and grooms won’t enforce a black-tie dress code on all the guests as it’s often not very practical, but they may decide to go black tie for the wedding party itself, especially the guys.

And why not? A wedding is a huge occasion and often the biggest occasion in the lives of many a happy couple. Weddings are the perfect opportunity to really dress up, even if you very rarely ever wear formal attire any other day of the year.

 

Business Functions

It could be something more relaxed like a cocktail party, or it might be some form of seminar or information night. Many business functions opt for a black-tie dress code to ensure everybody is dressed to impress.

Chances are, if you’re looking to procure new business and clients from the event, you’ll want to present yourself in the best possible light anyway.

 

Ballroom Dancing

It might not be something that everybody indulges in regularly, but usually ballroom dancing on a grander scale will have a black-tie dress code, or will at least be very formal.

In fact, balls in all their forms often require men to dress black tie (or sometimes white tie) for the occasion.

 

Cocktail Parties

Not always black tie events, but often times the organisers or hosts do enforce a black-tie dress code to attend.

The dress rules for women tend to be a little more relaxed and open to personal interpretation at parties like these, where they could either wear a sexy cocktail dress, evening gown, or even a women’s suit. Men, on the other hand, are usually expected to rigidly adhere to the dress code required.

 

High End Night Clubs and Restaurants

There are definitely first-class restaurants and night clubs around the world that continuously enforce a black-tie dress code. A tuxedo might not be necessary, but formal attire certainly is a requirement for entry.

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