By Donte, Men’s Style VIP
In fashion, there are styles that are simply timeless. Justin Timberlake’s most recent album “The 20/20 Experience” has everyone on their “Suit and Tie” ish these days. With the constant push for everyone to get their “grown man” on, pieces that cater to timeless and classic fashion never seem to go out of style.
As a man of a certain age, I’ve often been invited to and put on events for various organizations. I’ve also been invited to events that my friends have had when celebrating life events (i.e. weddings, birthdays, etc.). A lot of these events call for “black tie” or formal wear. With prom season in full effect, the rules for black tie events even apply to you younger gentlemen as well.
I’m here to offer some advice for those of you who dare to upgrade from the standard suit to the ultimate suit and tie so that you will avoid a fashion faux pas when you get invited to your next black tie event.
- Suits are fine anytime, but do NOT wear a tuxedo before 6pm Unless you are a rebel and are intentionally trying to break the style rules in the name of fashion (don’t forget that you too can look foolish doing this), then you should save your tuxedo for black tie events. Accordingly, black tie events usually begin after 6 pm (if it begins before this time then there is a different issue – Erika concurs here). A standard suit is perfectly acceptable for events beginning both before and after 6 pm, regardless of if the event calls for black tie. Just try to keep it simple with the color combinations (like black suit – white shirt) so you don’t stand out too much.
- You should wear a tuxedo shirt with a tuxedo
Unlike a suit, which allows you to wear any type of dress shirt, a tuxedo calls for a specific type of shirt. The tuxedo shirt often has the pleats in the front of it and comes with the black studs through the button loops. It’s ok to take the studs out, but they give the shirt a more classic look.
- Add personality through accessories only
Let’s face it; a tuxedo is like a uniform for black tie. Most people, if they follow the style rules, will look pretty similar to each other (which is often the point at these types of events). A black bow tie gives you that classic look. If you want to add personality and character to your black tie look, do it through accessories, such as the bow tie, suspenders, vest, or cummerbund. What you don’t want to do is stand out by wearing a baby blue or purple tuxedo…you’ll look like you belong at a 70’s prom or in the movie Dumb and Dumber.
- No belt loops in pants
We hear time and time again that fit is important and that you should get your suit or tuxedo tailored. It is especially important for tuxedos because there is no option to wear a belt. As a matter of fact, tuxedo pants don’t even have belt loops! If you lose some weight after having it tailored or the fit is a little big, your best option is to wear braces with them so that your pants stay up.
So what are some myths you’d like to de-bunk about the tuxedo? If you have any tips you’d like to provide or have any questions, feel free to comment, share your vision, and let me know what’s on your mind.