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Black Tie

Dress code "Black Tie" / "Cravate Noire"

The terms "Black Tie" and "Cravate Noire" are deceptive, because this dress code has nothing to do with a tie. "Bow Tie" would be
more appropriate, as the bow tie is part of the basic outfit. For upscale occasions, guests are expected to wear elegant clothing that looks like more than just an important day at the office. You can use this guide as a guide to ensure that you look suitably elegant on the evening in question.

Splendid occasions

Toasting the bride and groom at a fine wedding dinner, enjoying a theater premiere alongside distinguished guests or tying a bow tie before the gala begins. Official and festive occasions call for a tuxedo and bow tie - the typical "black tie" dress code.

Originally, everyone dressed in their best clothes as a matter of course at evening events when the church clock had already struck six times in the evening. Since then, many variations have emerged: from the "Red Carpet Black Tie" to the "Festive Black Tie" to the more informal "Black Tie Optional" dress code. Today, the dress code is explicitly communicated to guests so that their attire matches the nature of the event.

"Black tie is a dress code that is much more important to follow than business attire or smart casual. Due to the public and festive nature of the events in question, the "Black Tie" and "White Tie" dress codes are expected to be properly implemented. At the traditional "Black Tie" event, the tailored tuxedo (American Tuxedo, British Dinner Jacket) is a must.

The basic outfit

The following items of clothing are included:

  • a black, self-tied bow tie
  • a tuxedo in black or midnight blue
  • a white shirt with a notched collar
  • a vest or cummerbund with a single-breasted jacket
  • black patent leather lace-up shoes or smooth leather shoes

Formal dress codes such as "black tie" would not be part of the etiquette, however, if there were not far more to observe than can be counted on one hand.

Small but mighty: the bow tie is decisive for the entire dress code. If it is tied carelessly, not only will the bow tie attract negative attention, the whole outfit will also be affected unfavorably and the wearer will immediately leave a distracted first impression. However, it is also not wrong to allow occasional unpredictable deviations and to wear the bow tie with a little more composure and carefreeness. Perfection is not expected, but a pinch of this nonchalance is enough for "black tie" occasions. The eyes or the outer edges of the face, or at most the shirt collar, serve as a guideline for the width of the bow tie.

Galon and cummerbund

The jacket with one row of buttons is called single-breasted, double-breasted with two rows of buttons. If a double-breasted jacket is chosen, it remains mostly closed and therefore does not require a vest or cummerbund. Otherwise, you can choose either a cummerbund or a low-cut vest in a color that matches the black bow tie.

Cummer ...? Excuse me? A cummerbund is a wide silk sash that is tied around the man's waist so that it covers the transition from waistband to shirt. It is worn correctly in several pleats pointing upwards. In higher-quality models, the deepest of these contains an embroidered hidden pocket so that opera tickets are immediately to hand.

The tuxedo trousers have no loops for a belt, as this is replaced by suspenders. The side seam of the legs is complemented by a silk strip (so-called galon). There are also no turn-ups on pants (pleats at the ends) and flaps on pockets (piping). The double fabric looks too sporty for an elegant evening. Instead, the smooth fabric lies slightly on top of the black patent lace-up shoe and extends from the heel to the beginning of the heel. Smooth leather shoes are an alternative, provided they are polished to a high shine.

Now it's time to get to the collar

The shirt seems so simple and yet there are countless variations: Kent collar, shark collar, pointed collar, patricide - not to mention the buttons. For the "black tie" dress code, the only options are the notched collar or the normal turn-down collar. The turn-down collar is stiff, with the ends folded forward, and is therefore the more modern version of the stand-up collar. A harmonious overall look is achieved with a rising lapel, matching the fabric of the silk or satin galon.

Only the cufflinks are allowed to be visible, as the button placket of the shirt should be concealed. If there are other buttons on the garment, they must be covered with fabric so that they do not detract from the elegance of the harmonious combination of shapes and colors.

Attention to detail

A perfectly formed evening dress is the result of a well-considered, stylish choice when equal attention is paid to the details. The fit is right when there are no creases at the back, the jacket is easy to button and the trousers fit comfortably without a belt. A bulge in the back trouser pocket due to a large wallet is not only annoying when sitting, but also in terms of aesthetics. A money clip is sufficient for the necessary small change and important cards.

How you feel in this outfit is how you look, literally: for example, the undershirt should not show through the shirt. White, finely woven underwear and black Knee High Socks ensure comfort under the outfit.

A scarf, handkerchief or cufflinks offer the opportunity to express your personal style. Buttons in gold, silver, stainless steel or black pick up the color of the wristwatch and provide the necessary sparkle. A pocket watch is even better, as jewelry is not normally worn with a tuxedo.

The classic choice is a pocket square made of fine silk, often in white or color-coordinated with a tuxedo scarf. It protrudes one centimeter from the breast pocket parallel to the edge of the pocket or is laid in a more modern triangular or crown fold.

Dress code guide

The dress code guide will get you through everyday life in style. With a wealth of knowledge about the dress codes casual, smart casual, business casual, business attire, black tie and white tie, you'll be prepared for any situation.

  • All dress codes at a glance
  • Tips & tricks for every style
  • Practical format for on the go

Ladies' choice

Ladies and gentlemen show that they are a couple by presenting a unified image together. If the gentleman is wearing a black tux, the lady should wear a long evening dress. For a more modern midnight blue tuxedo, it can also be an elegant cocktail dress that reaches at least to the knees. With accessories such as jewelry and a bag, women can enhance the look or keep it simple. It is important to strike a balance between ostentatious or eye-catching and discreet elements.

"Black Tie Optional"

If more leeway is given to the appearance of the guests, the words "Black Tie Optional" or "Alternative Black Tie" appear on the invitation. This does not mean that the tuxedo can be left in the wardrobe as desired, but that individual variations are permitted, for example a tie instead of a bow tie, a pattern or a belt instead of suspenders. All in all, you should still stick to the intended elements and keep your choice of colors simple, except for specific accents.

Festive Black Tie" and "Creative Black Tie" offer more freedom of interpretation. It can be more eye-catching for the groom or best man at weddings, for example, and more festive at Christmas events. Creativity is called for when the season or the region are part of the theme. A white jacket, a cowboy hat, a flower on the lapel or a colored shirt can, depending on the theme, make a good picture.


Business Casual

Smart Casual

Business Attire

Black Tie

White Tie


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