Tuxedo & Black Tie Dress Code Explained: How To Look Awesome in a Tux for Wedding, Groom, Gala,Prom

Tuxedo & Black Tie Dress Code Explained: How To Look Awesome in a Tux for Wedding, Groom, Gala,Prom


Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette! Today’s video is all about black tie. I discuss tuxedos in-depth because it’s a
topic that’s very dear to my heart and I see a lot of men committing a lot of mistakes
and it’s a dress code dictated by lots of rules so it’s particularly important to understand
what looks good and what is adequate and what is not. For most men, a black tie ensemble is the
most formal thing they’ll ever wear. However, unlike in modern daywear, it’s really
dictated by rules that matter a lot. At the end of the day, you don’t want to look
like a typical prom student in his rented tuxedo because that’s just embarrassing. Instead, in this video, I broke everything
down step by step so you can look at least as good James Bond in his tuxedo. First up, let’s talk about the jacket. It seems like a very simple black one however,
it has very distinct features and a lot of people get it wrong especially in Hollywood
today. The classic choice for a fabric is a black
wool barathea which is a little more matte and alternatively, you can opt for something
navy or a very dark blue, maybe with a herringbone weave, some people even go with fine twill
weave or a plain weave. Sometimes people add a little bit of mohair
to the fabric which adds some sparkle which is particularly well suited for evening wear. If you see synthetic blends or any kind of
nylon or polyester, stay clear of them because you’ll sweat and it’s going to be uncomfortable
and you won’t look dapper. The gold standard for tuxedo fabrics is a
100% wool. Make sure it’s not too thick and heavy otherwise,
you’ll easily overheat. In terms of styling, the most classic option
is what I’m wearing here right now. It is a single button jacket which is like
single breasted with just one button then you have a peak lapel because that’s more
formal than a notch lapel. Today, you oftentimes see men with a notched
lapel tuxedo. However, that’s incorrect and should never
be worn. An alternative to it would be a shawl collar
likewise with a single button or you can have a double breasted jacket with a shawl collar. Typically, it’s a four buttoned jacket that’s
just buttoned on one and you can also have it with peak lapels. So keep in mind, peak lapels or shawl collars
are the only acceptable options for black tie. Sometimes, you may see six buttons that’s
buttoned on one or six buttons that button on two but that’s the exception to the rule. The most traditional jacket has no vents which
is unusual today because most jackets have either side vents or center vents. The center vent comes from horseback riding,
side vents are more comfortable when you stand but for evening wear, you go for the ultimate
look and the ventless is just the best because it really hugs your body and looks awesome. The most original pocket style is jetted pockets. You have one on the right, one on the left,
no ticket pocket. Sometimes, you see men with flap pockets. However, that’s a detail from day wear and
not suited to evening wear. In terms of buttons, you want black matching
buttons that are either covered in the same fabric as your tuxedo or silk, or you go with
a contrasting button sometimes with some decorations. Stay clear of contrasting plastic buttons
or horn buttons or buttons in a different color that really stand out. Now your lapels are not just regular lapels
but they’re faced with silk. The most classic option is to go with satin
but you can also have a rep silk or grosgrain or a barathea which is a little more matte
than the satin or any other kind. Ideally, you also want a buttonhole in your
lapel so you can have a boutonniere which is particularly well-suited for evening wear. Of course, you also want a chest pocket for
your pocket square and if you wear a boutonniere, go with a simple plain white linen pocket
square otherwise, you can also opt for maybe a solid color red, maybe purple, or maybe
yellow pocket square in silk. So let’s talk about the details to avoid in
a tuxedo jacket. First of all, you do not want a flannel material,
you want a worsted or wool with some mohair. Second, avoid notched lapels because they
are not suited for black tie. For the same reason, avoid any two button
or three button single breasted jackets because that’s for day wear. Also, avoid side vents and center vents because
that’s historically incorrect for black tie and for the same reason, don’t go with flaps
on your pockets. Moreover, go for straight jacket pockets,
not angled ones because it would be too sporty. Now for the trouser and the pants, you want
a matching material to the jacket in the same color. Now obviously, we’re not talking about contrasting
dinner jackets here and if you want to learn more about those, please check out our in-depth
guide and video here. Because you want a matching pair, you should
usually buy these items together. Trying to find a matching jacket and a pair
of pants that are from different sources is almost impossible. Yes, the color is black but the texture and
the weave and the feel of the fabric is different so it won’t work together. Therefore, never buy your pants and your tuxedo
jacket separately or try to match them afterwards, it’s going to go wrong. A special hallmark of the black tie trouser
is a strip of fabric on the side which is also called galon. It can either be a white strip that’s the
same material as your lapel. In this case, satin. Or it can have a decorative woven braid. It’s important for black tie, you only have
one galon. For white tie, you have two. Another important detail is that black tie
pants are never worn with a belt because the belt is not suited for evening wear and instead
you either have suspenders or braces or side adjusters. To cover your waistband, you have two options. One is to wear a waistcoat which I’m wearing
here right now. The other one is to wear a cummerbund which
we offer here from Fort Belvedere. Ideally, they are adjustable so no matter
if you sit or dance, it’s always comfortable and you want a little loop in the back so
you can hook it into the button of your pants so it doesn’t move around and you always look
spot on. You cummerbund should match your bow tie. Traditionally, it also matches your lapels
but those rules are a little more relaxed and if you want to learn how to find the best
black bow tie and cummerbund please check out this guide here. Now as a black tie connoisseur, you want your
pants to have the perfect length because if they’re too long, it looks sloppy. To get that, I personally prefer the bottom
hem to be angled and it should never have any cuffs or turn ups because that would be
too informal and wrong. To learn more about that, please check out
our in-depth guide about pants breaks here. When it comes to an evening vest, they’re
very different from your day vest. They have a much deeper cut out so you see
more of your shirt front and the studs on your shirt front. Most of the time, you see vests that are cut
like day vest and it’s a hallmark of someone who doesn’t know anything about black tie. Every vest I’ve ever seen from a rental place
is a daywear vest and it just looks like that from a mile away. So stay clear. When you wear your cummerbund, make sure that
the pleats face upwards not downwards otherwise, it will be considered to be a faux pas and
people would know that you don’t know anything about black tie. For a good selection of different cummerbunds
that match your bow ties, please take a look at our shop here. if you want even more details about black
tie waistcoats, please check out our free PDF guide that you can download on our website
here. Next up, let’s take a look at the tuxedo shirt. it looks like a regular white shirt but it
is not. It’s made of a white fabric usually poplin
or twill and it always has an insert. It can either be in Marcella or a pique cotton
insert, it can be a pleated front or sometimes just a finely woven pattern. Don’t wear any regular white shirt, it’s not
going to cut it because you can actually see the buttons which is not something you want
in tuxedo shirts. Either, you have decorative studs or you have
a hidden fly. Personally, I much prefer the studs because
it’s not something you wear otherwise. That makes black tie even more distinct. Some people who are a little more simplistic
prefer a hidden fly, the choice is yours. A hundred years ago, men would wear stiff,
detachable collar shirts for evening wear but the Prince of Wales and later, the Duke
of Windsor decided he wanted something softer and he was a big proponent of a soft turndown
collar shirt with a french cuff that was doubled and most importantly, not starched. So today, if you wear a white tie, you have
the old school shit with detachable collar and for black tie, you wear a softer version. Sometimes, for vintage lovers, a white stiff
collar shirt paired with a white waistcoat that is from white tie simply to kind of elevate
their black tie outfit but that’s something quite advanced and you hardly ever see it,
unless people really know what they do. Now let’s talk about the centerpiece of the
ensemble, the black bow tie.It’s called black tie but that means black bow tie, you never
wear a black neck tie, that would be incorrect. The only acceptable color is black and you
can go with different shapes and textures and to learn more about which black bow tie
works best for you, please check out our in-depth guide, here. Sometimes, you can see people who wear a red
bow tie with a red cummerbund and a matching red pocket square, these things are very gaudy
and it’s a hallmark of someone who is just not into clothes but wants some attention
and tries to get it that way. Someone who really understands the rules of
black tie will always frown upon that. In terms of shoes, traditionally, men would
wear patent leather shoes which is a shiny black leather and the only two options were
a capless Oxford shoe that was laced or opera pumps also known as court shoes with a deep
cut out and a bow in front. Both of these are very elegant, however, if
you rarely wear black tie and you want to get more use out of your shoes, you can also
get a capless black leather shoe and then polish it so it has a beautiful shine and
that way, you can wear it not just for black tie but also with your business suit. In any case, try to stay clear from any form
of cap toe, any form of broguing because that would make it less formal. For the same reason, no wing tips. Of course, the only acceptable color for black
tie shoe is black. Don’t go with brown, red, or any other items
and likewise, skip anything like a monk strap. You really only can go with the Oxford that
is capless and the court shoe. Sometimes, you can also see men wearing velvet
slippers, now that’s something I’d personally only wear in the comfort of my own home, maybe
wearing a velvet dinner jacket but it’s not a traditional look that is appropriate for
black tie in public. You want to make sure that your black tie
shoes have a thin leather sole and no rubber because leather is more formal and has a nicer
sound and rubber is just very uncomfortable when you dance. You also want to shy away from any boxy toed
shoes with big seams instead, go for a chiseled toe or a nice rounded toe, just a classic
look. To learn more about Oxfords, you can check
out our Oxford guide on our website. Of course, we put all these details together
in our free PDF guide which you can get on our website here. In terms of black tie accessories, you want
to have black silk socks that are over the calf and I had a hard time finding exactly
the ones I wanted that stay up so I designed them myself and you can take a closer look
at them here. Colorful silk socks are one of those few things
that can help you stand out with black tie, just like your pocket square. For that reason, you can opt for something
in red, maybe purple, maybe green, or any other color that you want. However, I urge you to just stay with one
color or two at the maximum, definitely avoid crazy socks or any like really bold patterns
such as neon pink or yellow. For cufflinks, black tie items are usually
black such as onyx or abalone, sometimes, they would come as a matching set with your
shirt style. Personally, I also like to wear white mother
of pearl studs because it just provides a different look and it’s something that comes
from white tie and it’s just a little bit more formal. Of course, you can also find other sets with
precious and semi-precious stones and usually, they’re quite expensive. If you want to splurge on that, go for it. This is your time to shine. Again, don’t wear belts, but you can have
a pair of suspenders that ensure that your pants stay at the right height all night long
no matter if you sit, dance, or do anything else. For boutonnieres, the most classic choice
are carnations. Right now, here I’m wearing a smaller one
mid-size in dark purple. Most classic would be white or red but you
can also go with pink or white or any other color for that matter that suits you. To keep my flowers from wilting and to be
able to wear them on a cruise ship, I designed my silk flowers that look like that all day
everyday, 365 days of the year and if you want to check out any of those accessories,
please head over to our website where we have a good selection. If you wear a boutonniere, make sure you wear
the stem through the buttonhole of your lapel and if it’s not covered or if you don’t have
a buttonhole, don’t wear one. Pinning one on to your tuxedo just looks garish
and like someone who really doesn’t know what he’s doing. Now, basically, these are all the elements
of a classic black tie tuxedo outfit. If it’s very cold outside in the winter, you
may want to add a white silk scarf or you can have a white and black one. When you toss the scarf around your shoulder,
it looks very elegant and it keeps you warm at the same time. In combination, you can add an evening overcoat
which is a black overcoat with one buttoning point and peak lapels that are faced with
silk and the entire thing is lined with silk, however, most people have very little use
for that and for that reason, evening overcoats are hardly ever seen anymore. Instead, you can go with a dark either black
or navy blue double-breasted or single-breasted overcoat, ideally one with peak lapels. To top it off, you can wear a hat. The perfect hat would be a homburg hat because
it has the right degree of formality. Definitely, avoid a top hat or an opera hat
because they are too formal and they only go with white tie. Last but not the least, if you get cold fingers,
consider a pair of white gloves but I would always take them off when inside and only
wear them with my overcoat or evening overcoat. It definitely provides a very dapper look,
screams elegance. Now if you live in a warmer climate, if you
go on a cruise or a destination wedding, black tie rules are a little different. For more details, please check out our free
in-depth PDF guide on our website.

100 thoughts on “Tuxedo & Black Tie Dress Code Explained: How To Look Awesome in a Tux for Wedding, Groom, Gala,Prom”

  1. Amazing video! One little question: I've purchased a patent black loafer with a pair of subtle tassels to spice it up a notch. What are your thoughts?

  2. This is awsome… Not only do i learn a lot of this, but i also feel very entertained… Well done! Keep it up!

  3. Great video, Raphael! I do have three questions though:
    1. Why does your evening overcoat have flap pockets? – I thought that was a feature reserved for daywear.
    2. Must the waistcoat have a shawl lapel or are other options like peak lapel or no lapel also appropriate?
    3. You said in your white-tie video that you should go for white metals. Do the same rules apply for black-tie, moreover is it
    appropriate to go for silver or yellow-gold (assuming that it matches the rest of the metals in the outfit)?
    Greetings from Austria

  4. On trick for shoes that elevates them if you dont have the money for new ones…Polish your regular shoe then get a bottle of future floor wax..and a cotton ball/balls. Put the floor wax on the cotton balls then in a smooth stroke slide the wax over the shoes in straight lines once then let dry..makes them instantly shine like patent leather. when the event is over Just use regular isopropyl alcohol to rub/strip off the wax and they are back to original. I learned this from a friend of mine who was in the Queens Guards.

  5. Another very comprehensive and informative video!

    One question on the bow tie itself – would you be able to get away with midnight blue (and I mean genuine midnight blue, rather than navy) or must it always be black?

    Many thanks

  6. I recently bought a tuxedo. Everything was perfect on it except it had side vents and no stripes on the pants. I decided to purchase it anyway because the price was very reasonable and it fit me really well. I know the side vents probably wouldn't be able to be easily altered but would it be possible to have a tailor add galons to the pants?

  7. Where do watches fit into black tie? If you’re trying to go for an accurate and historically accurate viewpoint as you are here

  8. I get very angry when I go into a tuxedo RENTAL store, it is like all over my city there is not a single store that you cant rent tuxedos, I just want to own one not rent one.

  9. Why are black patent leather shoes acceptable? It just seems odd to me a casual style like that would exist in a most formal option. Where I live (the Netherlands), the only type of patent leather shoe people wear is a derby. Perhaps this is because people seem to have forgotten the oxford exists, I have yet to see another person wearing oxford shoes. Literally everyone wears light tan derbies, it's depressing.

    I personally wore spit shined wholecuts to my white tie event, and even though it's not technically correct (especially with the stiff shirt I wore), they looked stunning and those who noticed loved them.

  10. But what do I do if the wedding will be held during the DAY but the party will go on until late night and I dont have any means to change?

  11. Beste Grüsse, habe mir jetzt ein mitternachtsblaues samt Jackett mit Rundkragen gekauft gekauft. Würde hier ein ein Butoniere zum Rundkragen passen? Möchte das ganze mit einer grün-blau-schwarzen Tartanhose kombinieren. Bin ein großer Fan von Gentleman‘s Gazette!

  12. Very informative and educational 😉 Could you make a video of what should an opera singer wear for audition and performance? I cannot find anything regarding this topic, especially when it comes to auditioning.

  13. Because I generally like to go a little over the top with formality is it expectable to where a tailcoat in black to tie or is that just to formal

  14. I prefer the more Edwardian look of a white winged-collar shirt, but coupled with a 1930's "Club" thin black bow tie with short square ends.

  15. Is it ok to wear an orange paisley pattern pocket square or any pattern, I only have a white linen pocket square for a single color

  16. Great video….One Question, is it a complete faux pas to where a bowler with black tie or should that be left to business/day wear?

  17. Is it possible to wear the black tie without the cubber band or the waistcoat?
    Love your channel!
    Big hug

  18. Completely agree with SRS on all but two points… Whereas he thinks formality has loosened up enough allow highly polished balmorals or coverall lace-ups, it is my view that patent leather shoes are a signature hallmark of the black tie ensemble. At the same time, I have the reverse opinion on jacket vents since it is almost impossible to find an off-the-rack tuxedo in 2018 (even with the other correct features I.e, slit pockets, peak or shawl lapels etc) made without them other than GA or RL Purple Label. Even if you are having it made, vents provide the function of comfort when sitting down.

  19. Probably a silly question but because I have a short Achilles tendon I need to wear boots for the ankle support, is that still ok for black tie?

  20. Both center vent and two vents come from riding (2:25). The center vent is for a long coat (see fox hunting coats) and two vents for a shorter coat (more of a sport coat, called hacking jacket). If you are posting during a trot your jacket will get caught on the back of the saddle unless it has vents. This will irritate your horse and you will be off balance.

  21. I appreciate your expertise. However, I’m a working musician and my tux doesn’t meet all of your standards to the letter. But, I get paid to wear it and no one has ever complained. It’s certainly beats NOT having one when I get the call for the gig.

  22. Spouse now twice gtykhb cut party desert twist ancient elsewhere bread distinction fiscal traditional entrance

  23. So, black patent leather pumps are okay because they reveal your socks. Black patent leather lace-ups are okay even though don't reveal your socks. However, black patent leather slip-ons, despite their elegant appearance are a no-no because they don't reveal your socks?

  24. I was told time and again by someone that shawl lapels were the most traditionally “correct” for black tie and the ideal choice, but that peaked/crested were acceptable too. Is this true?

  25. While I do like your videos, and I mostly agree with what you say, I would have to disagree with you over the style of dinner jacket. While peak lapel is most desirable due to its formality, notch lapel is actually acceptable in current society.
    I would also recommend against any other colour of dinner jacket that is not black. Navy, despite being dark, is unacceptable for 'black' tie. The only other colour that is acceptable for black tie is a white jacket, however that is only in tropical countries.
    When it comes to cufflinks, it is better to wear silk knot cufflinks, rather than metal. On a similar note, I would leave mother of pearl inlaid dress studs for white tie, and have only onyx inlaid dress studs for black tie.
    Other than these complaints and issues, this was another brilliant video, thank you.

  26. What a gentleman and a boss. He could not find the socks he wanted, so he designed them and made them. This is the level I want to achieve.

  27. Raphael , This is a staggering presentation ; perfect in so many ways . I am interested though with the pockets on the trousers . I personally go for side seem to elevate the formality . What do you think ?

  28. Man I was breaking these rules constantly when I was in my high school black neck ties and standard white button down shirt so on so on. Thanks for showing the proper way to wear black tie.

  29. Sir Raphael, nice crisp presentation full of great care and detail. This one puts you in another stratosphere. Stay you. Thats all you need to do. Peace.

  30. When you realize people with a lot of money obsess over very silly things – I just wanted to make sure I was acceptable not fashionably perfect

  31. Now I have seen black neckties worn with evening tailcoats so who made this rule and is it a snob technicality because I would find it acceptable just not with a non-tailcoat.

  32. @4:47 — This also applies to laundering your pants and jacket! Whether it’s a suit or a tuxedo, you should ALWAYS have them dry cleaned together. If you wear your suit coat without the trousers, or vice versa, and only bring in one piece to be cleaned, over time the color will start to fade. Do this enough times and your expensive suit will be reduced to simply a sport coat and a pair of slacks that don’t match.

  33. You will 'forgive' my ignorance, but are studs kin to "Button Covers' ? Do 'studs' fit over the buttons of the tuxedo shirt ?

  34. Dumb question and very late – would calfskin slippers, with a mirror shine work (perhaps like a black MTO laurelhurst, without a medallion, by J Fitzpatrick)?

  35. Amazingly in-depth video. I'll be sure to remember all of this in the future. I have one question for anyone that wouldn't mind answering it. How would I go about an event that could be considered "Creative Black Tie"? I understand it's odd to ask, but I'll be attending a formal dinner with my fiancée soon. While it's hinted as Black Tie, I know the expectations are a bit relaxed to let everyone wear more colors. I want to remain true to the rules of the jacket and pants, but I'm unsure if I should wear a vest and bow tie that coordinate with her dress, or just stay black and let my Boutonniere and Pocket Square match her.

    Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

  36. It is nice the way you express this "black tie dress code" information. I have a question that can be a bit silly for some people…When you are about to drive a car in order to get to the black tie event, must I remove the jacket or not and obviously put it on again upon leaving the car (I have the same question regarding keeping the tuxedo jacket in place or not when the event is over and you get into the car in order to drive home,etc.)?

    The answer to the previous question is also applicable while wearing a business attire or are there less limitations?

    I ask these questions because on the web there is not enough information about this and some people may argue that is more appropriate to remove the jacket while driving for safety reasons (more freedom in your arms, etc.), but personally I do not have any problems wearing the jacket, besides the possibility of getting a wrinkle in the fabric because of the seat belt.

    In advance, thanks for your kind answer and explanations.

  37. Would a stiff-fronted, unpleated shirt with a high, detachable wing collar be seen as too formal/old-fashioned if I follow all the other guidelines? I know the turndown vs wing collar debate is different in the UK and US, but I’ll be on a ship between both countries, so that might complicate things. If it changes anything, I intend to wear a low-cut horseshoe waistcoat.

    Edit: also, is it acceptable to wear a watch chain on the waistcoat?

  38. For those of you in the search of a complete, convenient, affordable, Italian tailored and quality black-tie attire, I can't recommend highly enough the MTM program from Lanieri(.com). If you are interested, you can also use CIPRIAN_100 as a discount code.

  39. Hi Sven, great video… I need your advice. I'm planning on wearing a double breasted tuxedo to a wedding. Can I wear a flip collar shirt with the DB tuxedo? And also can I wear a waistcoat underneath as it will be in the middle of winter. Thanking you in advance 🙏🏻

  40. Hi Raphael, great advice love the passion you really have a great deal of knowledge here, 1 quick question is the wing collar appropriate for black tie.. Or is it traditional to wear a turn down collar? Like Preston.. All the best thanks

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