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5 black tie mistakes you’re probably making

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Black tie should be one of the easiest dress codes to follow, but you’d be surprised how many men make a mess of their efforts.

You’ll be even more surprised to discover you’re probably one of them. Yes, it’s a simple code, but as with all things sartorial, one mistake can pull your look asunder.

Wearing your office suit

We are firm advocates of using a suit to its fullest, but while a black suit is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a tuxedo, it’s still not the right suit.


The lapels are wrong for a start, and there’s more than likely a button too many. It’s not the worst crime you could commit, and if you’re on a budget, then it’s a great way to save some cash. But if you’re going to be mixing with the social elite then borrow, hire, or buy yourself a proper dinner jacket.

Forgetting a cummerbund

We have extolled the virtues of wearing a cummerbund at length previously, so we won’t dwell too much on this point. But we will say that a black tie look is totally and utterly incomplete without this accessory.

It hides your waistline, keeps your theatre tickets safe, and is just an all-around great piece of kit that finishes off a look. Forget it at your peril.

Not wearing the right shirt

That white shirt you wear to the office? That’s just not going to cut the sartorial mustard, and you knew it even before you read this post.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune to wear a regular shirt to a black tie event, you will understand the shame and embarrassment you feel each time you catch a glimpse of your reflection in a window or mirror. It’s not a good experience.

A formal dress shirt will have a feature on the front such as pleats or even studs while the ultra-formal white tie shirts will have wing collars. It will also have the right cuffs suitable for your cufflinks which brings us to out next point.

Over accessorizing

Aside from your bow tie and cummerbund, which are actually essential components of your formal look, you should only have a watch and cufflinks.


Don’t choose any old watch; only a stylishly refined dress watch will do like one of these amazing timepieces. Your old Casio will stick out like a sore thumb and drawing attention to your accessories is not the aim of the game.

Your cufflinks should also be subtle and understated enough to go unnoticed. A pair with your school crest might make for an interesting conversation piece, but if your school crest is luminous yellow in colour, then we’d advise against it. 

Wearing a clip on tie

Oh dear. This is wrong on so many levels we’re at pains to explain why. You are not a child with a mother too busy to help you tie your tie. You are a grown man with opposable thumbs that are easily trained to tie a bow tie. Youtube is your friend.

So, are you guilty of making any of these black-tie mistakes? Don’t worry if you are, none of us are perfect, but with a little time and effort we bet we could get you pretty close. Call into the showroom in the new year, and we’ll see what we can do to help you bring your sartorial game to the next level.




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