Dressing for Black Tie Events

In today’s blog post, we take some time out from the world of wine and enlist the help of our friends at TM Lewin who are talking about dressing for Black Tie dos.  With all the parties and celebrations taking place at this time of year, their advice should help ensure that you look the part!

Classic black tie evening attire has remained largely unchanged for decades. Since the early-nineteenth century only minor alterations to this monochrome dress have been made, with the appearance of colourful cummerbunds and bow ties in the 1950s.

This outfit comes with certain rules that make it easy to notice when someone isn’t wearing it correctly. Make sure you wear it right with our simple steps below.


A decent dinner jacket will last you a decade so it is worth buying rather than renting, but make sure you invest wisely; get a jacket that is made well and fits you properly. To ensure that it is a quality jacket check out the finer details: do the lapels match the braiding on the trousers? Is it made from Grosgrain silk? A mix of wool and mohair is ideal as the mohair will capture the light and the wool will help the jacket retain its shape.

The Right Lapel

In our opinion a shawl lapel is best. It’ll give you a nice shape and will also suit a cummerbund – if you opt to wear one. Never wear a notch lapel it doesn’t look as stylish and is often a feature of a cheaper suit.

Shirt Staple

To keep it classic a turn down, wing collar shirt in white is the only choice for evening shirts. You can select your preference with the fabric as both pleated or Marcela (that textured fabric made up of little diamond shapes) fabric is perfect for the shirt bib. Neat pleats look great, be careful of veering towards the Seventies ruffled look. And double cuffs with elegant silver cufflinks will make this shirt.

Bow Tie Tricks

It’s actually credibly easy to tie a bow tie. But, if you’re having difficulty, you can watch our video here.

In terms of the tie itself, you can match it with the facing of the suit – grosgrain silk with grosgrain silk – but it can also be an opportunity to something different. A different texture or feel can look great but don’t go into different colours or prints for this occasion.

Trouser Talk

When it comes to trousers you should have plain hemmed bottoms – no turn-ups. You can have them pleated if you wish but increasingly people these days like a flat front.

Key Pieces

Cummerbunds aren’t the most popular option at the moment but for a really classic look a black cummerbund is ideal. Braces are great – they ensure the trousers stay put and not slip down throughout the evening. You’ll need to consider evening shoes – pumps with a satin or silk bow on the top. You have to be quite something to pull those off but if you can find some well-shined patent leather shoes – very simple, no brogue- you’ll look great. Always wear black socks, preferably silk or cashmere and a silk white pocket square.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to start the Christmas party!


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