Many men become a little concerned when they are invited to their very first black-tie event, as they are unsure of the etiquette and accepted standards at such social gatherings. However, social conventions have relaxed a little in recent years, so just a few simple guidelines should be followed in order to ensure that a great look is achieved for the big occasion. One of the advantages of buying black tie is that it will usually only be used on a few occasions. Although the initial outlay may be considerable, the wearer can be sure that the purchase of high-quality items will be a wise investment that should deliver benefits for many years.
A dinner jacket is often the centre-piece of black tie, so getting this right will be a good start in creating the full package. In most cases, it is wise to buy the trousers with a matching jacket; the material on the lapels should match the braiding on the trousers. Most black tie combinations will also feature matching buttons. Velvet is used on some jackets; however, silk delivers a more elegant style. Woollen jackets look stylish and are extremely durable, but mohair reacts with light to create an interesting luminescent effect. For the best look possible, the jacket should have no vents - in case it blows open to reveal the shirt underneath.
Double-breasted dinner jackets are still widely available; however, they can hang awkwardly when unbuttoned, so the wearer may need to keep it fastened for the entire evening. A waistcoat can add an extra element of style to the ensemble, but it must be one intended for black tie. The waistcoat will be shaped very differently to the standard design, and it should resemble the shape of a horseshoe. A turn-down collar on the shirt is a must for black tie, as wing collars are intended for white tie ensembles. When selecting a great shirt, care should be taken to ensure the pleats are not too large.
Selecting the best black tie combination is now not as restrictive as it used to be. There are many modern slants on this classic look, and none of them are wrong. However, a properly tied bow is an essential component of any black tie, and a combination of stylish accessories just completes a fantastic image.
Crombie suits and evening wear are available from the Crombie store at 68 George Street, Edinburgh and Rossi at 172 Ingram Street, Glasgow. A full stockist list can be seen at www.crombie.co.uk