Black Tie Dossier Part One

Wanted to give a run down of "Black Tie" and what it means to me in these modern times. Should be able to cover this in 2-3 emails. 

I ask that you hang in there — this stuff is important because we don’t get asked to "dress up" much anymore…so when we do, let’s make it count.

First things first.

These days, so many events are listed as "Black Tie Optional". 

Basically the hosts are trying to tell you what to wear, but understand it may not be an option for everyone — so do your best.

Well, if I know you, that means tux right? 

If not, black suit will suffice, then charcoal, then if you must, dark navy. 

A lot depends on your care level for the person hosting or the event circumstances…but really try to get a tux if you can. (Ideally, custom is a better investment in the long run, but I also have a great rental, so if in need, let’s chat)

Regardless, the first rule of black tie is you have to dress up…and that can mean a lot of different things for different people. 

I’d like to start with the foundational principles of black tie. 

- A black tuxedo is rarely wrong.

- If you only need one tux, make it a black - one button - peak lapel.

- This will cover you for fundraisers, black-tie wedding (without "out-doing" the groom) and just about everything else. 

- Shawl collar tuxedo works, too — I just like it better for an alternate color dinner jacket (to go with your black tuxedo pants)

- I’m not a fan of notch lapel tuxedos (they look like suits to me) but are acceptable - and typically only seen in the US…all good.

- Focus on proportions - smaller man - smaller lapels. Broader guy - wider lapels. 

- Same goes for your tie and collar - proportions make or break you when everyone in the room is essentially wearing the same thing.

- One button please. Maximum two.

- Fastened when standing. Unfastened when sitting.

- Tux trousers do not have belt loops - so no belt (please!)

- Also, no cuff.

- Suspenders = yes.

- Vest = optional. (Pro Tip: If buying custom, I'd suggest getting it when you commission the tux, even if you're not sure you'll wear's nice to have and you want it cut from the same bolt of fabric as not all black fabrics are equal)

- Cummerbund if wearing studs…if your shirt is a french front (covered placket) no need.

- Shoes: high polished black leather (cap toe or a daring double monk). Velvet slippers (my favorite) or patent lace-ups (most conservative)

- Black socks only. (sorry, no "fun" socks allowed)

- French cuff white shirt with a covered placket will do. One with studs is more formal.

- Wear a smaller (read: elegant) dress watch. Ideally on a black strap. Goal is to not fight with the cufflinks on your french cuff shirt.

- No pre-tied bow ties, please. And you guessed right, it should be solid black.

One more thing…a dark navy tuxedo is totally fine as well and is more popular than you’d think. 

Most wait staff will be in black so the navy guarantees no one will ask you to take their empty champagne :)

More next week…


New Spring Collection can be viewed here.

Jesus Guillen