The Little Black Tie Book: Black Tie

All your questions about what to wear to a wedding, answered

By The Editors
May 4, 2017 9:00 am

The Invite Says:


Blue Plain Tuxedo by Suit Supply $599 
Formal Bow Tie by Sid Mashburn $60 
The Marquise Slip-On by David Hart $295 
Mayfair Cotton Tuxedo Shirt by Hackett $210 
Marble Effect Cufflinks by Ted Baker $105 
Engraved Black and Gold Watch by Tiffany & Co. $2,000

Where’s the tuxedo from?

What kind of wedding can I wear this to?

Any wedding in which the invite reads “Creative Black Tie,”  “Fun Formal” or “Dress Optional.” In other words: it’ll cover all your bases.

Who’s it for?

Dignified men willing to trade their 40-long for something trim, slimming and all together more youthful. Also a great option for groomsmen.

Is there such a thing as a tuxedo shirt?

Certainly. What you don’t want: anything pleated or with a winged collar. Too stuffy. What you do want: plain white with a soft, turned-down collar. That’s what we call dashing.

Must I wear a bow tie? And uh, how do I tie one?

The bow tie is your only option, preferably in silk. And generally speaking, it should match the color of your lapels. As for tying one on, watch this.

What about the shoes?

Brogues look out of place. Patent leather can look cheap. So easy answer: a plain-toe black dress shoe. But in the spirit of comfort and dignity, don’t rule out the evening slipper. They’re unmistakably elegant. Plus you don’t have to shine ‘em.

How can I accessorize?

Cummerbunds are relics of the past. Skip ‘em. Keep it simple and unadorned — a discreet pair of cufflinks and a showstopping watch (natch) should do the trick.

When can I take my jacket off?

Never during the ceremony. Even if it’s hot. Dinner is OK. After the first dance is best.


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