Formal Flair: The Battle for Black Tie Supremacy
November 17, 2016
With end-of-year celebrations right around the corner and Black Tie events popping up left, right and centre, it can be easy to spiral into a ‘what to wear?’ abyss.
But rather than give into despair, we’ve compiled a quick guide for both classic and contemporary styles, so you can confidently tackle one of the most dapper dress codes known to man - Black Tie.
Black Tied and True
Jokingly referred to as a penguin suit, the tuxedo of today owes its dapper dress sense to a Tabacco Baron from 1886. Said to be inspired by a dinner jacket found on Savile Row, Baron Pierre Lorillard IV sought to rid the formal jacket of its cumbersome coat tails in line with a more contemporary and streamlined image. While not adopted by the Baron himself, this vision continued on to all but eradicate traditional dinner suit, heralding in a new era of men’s formal dress.
The Modern Tux
While subtlety may be the backbone to Black Tie dress, there are many ways to individualise and personalise this monochromatic palette. When looking for the perfect tux, start by picking out your preferred style. Whether its a shawl or Peak Lapel, Black Tie trends tend to be cyclical, so you'll never need to worry about fashion faux pas.
Keep in mind that there are many shades of black, and while it may sound bizarre to have a preferential palette, the subtle difference between a jet and onyx black can make a world of difference when surrounded by a sea of dinner suits.
To introduce a little bit of creativity into your couture, splash out on a subtlely textured weave for a tactile but tailored look that will have you batting off passers-by.
The Formal Blues
For the boldest ballroom battler's, break the Black Tie mould and opt for a navy or midnight blue dinner suit. Not only will the colour help capture the attention of the colony, shades of midnight blue soak up artificial light, leaving your suit primed and ready sporadic photo ops.
Take caution when breaking this technicality. It's important to know where your host stands on a splash of colour. Nothing ruins and evening like getting left at the door by partners and friends... even if your look is on point.
The Black Tie
As the name suggests, one of the key items of a Black Tie event is, in fact, a black bow tie. While there are many times we would urge you to explore and challenge formal conventions, this is not it.
To help us out, we asked our Design Director, David Jackson, to give us a couple of tips on how to use your bow tie to steal the show:
"I know it's easy to get lost in the crowd at these kinds of events... for me, a bow tie can make all the difference... My personal preference is a self-tie bow. Compared to the pre-tied counterpart, it's imperfect, which makes it a completely unique part of your ensemble."
A Flawless Finish
Like any other outfit, it's the final touches that bring out the dapper side to dinner suits. The main focus for a Black Tie finish is to aim for simple elegance. Whether you're it's a pair of patent leather shoes, chrome plated cufflinks, or a contrast pocket square, subtlety is king.
"You can splash out on a spirited pair of cufflink, but don't go too loud. Everything about black-tie should be in proportion with the rest of your outfit."
Explore Peter Jackson's full formal arsenal.