Ruby Red Tux by Oliver Wicks

When ‘Black (Bow)Tie’ is on the Dress Code

This is a guest post by Christian Antonoff, a marketing manager at Oliver Wicks.

If you’ve ever been invited to an evening wedding or formal dinner/cocktail party, chances are that you’ve experienced a “Black Tie” dress code.

So, other than a chance to show off your finest black silk bow tie, what exactly does ‘Black Tie’ consist of?

Blue tuxedo with bow tie

First, and great news for all of the bow tie fans, is that a black bow tie is the centerpiece to this attire. Various other aspects of the outfit can be altered to the wearer’s preference within reason, but the black bow tie is a non-negotiable essential.

Next up, the tuxedo!

Black Tuxedo by Oliver Wicks. Image source: Oliver Wicks
Black Tuxedo by Oliver Wicks. Image source: Oliver Wicks

A sub-genre of the suiting world, tuxedos (jacket and pants) differ from your daily professional or casual suits in that they have their own niche; their sole purpose is to be worn for formal evening events only.

For those among us that like to respect tradition and keep it classic, black should be your go-to color for a ‘Black Tie’ tuxedo. On the black tuxedo below, tailored by Oliver Wicks, take a close look and you’ll see fabric-covered buttons on the jacket and shawl-collar lapels. These are very unique to a tuxedo and won’t be found on any other suit jackets or blazers. 

Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking to yourself﹘“But I don’t want to be traditional, it’s old fashioned! I wear bow ties in a way that makes me look modern, dapper and stylish!”

Fear not! This is where ‘Black Tie’ does give you a bit of flexibility to show off your own style.

These days various colors and designs of tuxedos are more widely accepted, so why not switch things up and pair your black bow tie with a peak or notch lapel design? As for color, you can opt for a navy, dark gray, or white dinner jacket (careful with the red wine!) or even a red tuxedo (as shown below).

Intense Ruby Red Tuxedo by Oliver Wicks. Image source: Oliver Wicks
Intense Ruby Red Tuxedo by Oliver Wicks. Image source: Oliver Wicks

Moving on to the shirt — white shirt, black bow tie — simple!

There are still a few pointers to look out for when choosing a tuxedo shirt. Those featured in my images so far have a hidden placket, meaning that the center buttons are covered. You can also go with a black-studded shirt, or even a pleated shirt (or both!), if you wish to be exceptionally formal (both features shown on the shirt below).

Lastly, your shoes. Black is the only color option here. Remember the adage “No brown shoes after 6PM.” ‘Black Tie’ is for evening events. That doesn’t mean that you can’t choose from a range of styles though. Even your daily-worn black oxfords are a great choice. Whatever shoes you wear, just be sure that they’re in good condition and well polished.

An example of tuxedo-specific shoes could be this high sheen, simple design below:

Hopefully, you’re now all set for your next ‘Black Tie’ evening event! Remember to have fun, and rock that black bow tie with style and elegance!

Shoes, watch, and bow tie