black tie basics

The Ideal Gentleman’s Guide to Black Tie Basics

Are you soon attending a black tie affair? How debonair!

However, gentlemen, before you get dressed for such a formal occasion make sure you watch all your P’s & Q’s for a total dashing look. Black tie is code for tuxedo. There are definite must do’s for dressing the part. Think James Bond. That’s the look you’re going for – handsomely suave.

Most men rent a tuxedo and all the accessories if it’s a one-time affair, but if you wear a tuxedo a least once a year, consider buying one. Tuxedos are timeless, always in style and made of the finest quality wool that last for years.

Here is a guide to black tie basics which will help you step out in style perfect for your big night.

Tuxedo Jacket and Pants

Tux jackets come with either Classic or Shawl lapels. If the chosen lapels are classic they will be notched and peaked. The Shawl lapels have neither the notches nor peaks.

The lapels are made of a smooth satin material for an uber-sophisticated look.

The tux pants have a vertical satin stripe down the middle of the outer legs. They come in both flat-front or double pleats for your preference.

Tuxedo Shirts

All these details count! A tuxedo shirt is a formal shirt with a front panel with slender pleats (the part that shows with your jacket on).

They come with placket, where the studs are worn for a clean look. Most tux shirts will have French cuffs, so make sure you have a set of cufflinks.

Bow Tie

Have fun with this must have component of black tie basics attire. The bow tie usually comes pre-tied with self-adjustable clips, making sure it stays in place all night. Most men choose a black satin bow tie unless they are trying to match their date’s gown.

The important black tie basics rule here is the tie and the cummerbund must be the same colour. Self-tie bow-ties are great, so if you’re the real classy kind of guy who wears a tux regularly, learn how to tie your own bow-tie.


Basically, the cummerbund is a waistband that goes over the tux shirt and pants and helps keep your shirt tucked in, it’s an essential part of the suit. It’s usually made of satin and comes in two styles, ribbed pleats or a smooth satin.

The cummerbund and tie should always match, so if you’re attending a wedding or prom most guys will get the cummerbund and bow tie to match the lady’s gown.


Cufflinks are the finishing touches to the black-tie look. Many times you can get them where you’re renting the tux or purchase them from an upscale men’s store. The cufflinks fit into your shirt’s button holes, setting off the complete ensemble.

You will need matching French cufflinks for the cuffs of the sleeves as well. It’s always best if they all match. Most men wind-up wearing a black stud set, but there’s everything out there from mother of pearl to gold twist knot cufflinks.

Depending on the event, have fun with the choices. Talk about the elegant man!


And, not any kind of shoes will do. The shoes should really shine, giving you that finished, sophisticated look.

So, there you have it; your guide to black tie basics. The next time you have to step-out, step-out in style in a distinguished tuxedo. There’s nothing more charming than a man in a tux. It’s true, the clothes make the man.