Black Tie Attire for Men: Special Event & Wedding Outfits

We know that black tie attire for men can seem stuffy and dated but we guarantee you that if you read this 5 minute cheat sheet on how to modernize the black tie attire we will change your mind.

The black tie dress code is one of the few very strict ones. Lucky for you, we have put together an entire cheat sheet that will help you to understand the in's and out's of the black tie attire dress code for weddings and receptions. We even included simple outfit ideas that follow the black tie dress code.


Black Tie Attire Definition

First let's start with the definition of this attire; it is without a doubt the most formal dress code and there is actually a wrong way to style the black tie attire. That may sound annoying, especially in today's "self-expression fashion extravaganza", but the whole idea of black tie attire is that everyone is an equal. A good thing about this dress code is that you don't have to worry about being overdressed or underdressed, because you know exactly what is expected from you: a black tuxedo, a black bow tie, white shirt, and black shoes. You can probably already tell that the whole ensemble should be black and white, more or less. 

You might probably ask yourself "if it's that simple, what else is there to know?" 

Well, we will tell you. There are ways to make a black tie outfit more personalized, for example the fit of the tuxedo. You could go with a nicely fitted tuxedo for a more modern look. It is also important to consider the shape of the lapel and the accessories. Working with a limited color palette doesn't meant that you can't be unique.


Men’s Black Tie Attire for Weddings

If you get invited to a wedding that calls for a black tie attire dress code it is guaranteed to be a very fancy one.


To achieve a fresh feel, a peak lapel tuxedo fitted to your body type is probably your best option if you want to go with the most formal version. 

However, if you’re aiming for a more modern black tie attire look, try a black shawl lapel tuxedo. This tuxedo’s rounded lapel isn’t quite as traditional as the peak lapel, but it’s still formal enough for a black tie wedding.



If you want to show up to the wedding looking like a classic 10, a traditional wing tip shirt is the best choice for you, but a simple white cotton dress shirt will get the job done as well. And with both of the shirts you accessorize it with button studs and cufflinks to up the shirt game even more. 
If it is your goal to achieve a modern mashup, try a pleated front with fold-down collared shirt and to draw some extra glance pick one with french cuffs.


This is really the part where you can let your personality show the most. "How?", well, no two solid black bow ties are really the same. You can make the biggest difference here with the shape: diamond point style, butterfly bow tie, or just a wider than usual butterfly bow tie will set your outfit apart from the others. 




This is the greatest weapon in contrast, and a clean white pocket square will do wonders against you black tuxedo jacket.



Patent leather and black tuxedos is your best choice here, but if you are a shoe lover and you can't and won't stick to the basics, no matter whose wedding you are attending, try a cap toe shoe with contrasting patent.



A lot of men like to overdo their cufflinks. But it is really best for you to stick with something more subtle. If you also want to wear button studs, just make sure that the metals match the once on the cufflinks. 




The vest is a more modern choice, but you should still keep it traditional if you decide to wear a vest with a men’s black tie attire outfit. Go for a low cut vest, it won’t show when you button up, and it will let the white dress shirt shine.


Black Tie Attire for Special Events

If you get invited to a special event that requires you to wear a black tie attire, CONGRATULATIONS, it looks like you are living your best life. 

These kinds of events probably don’t come along often, so make the most of it and do it right. If you get the feeling this is a more conservative event, stick with traditional black tie attire: black and white everything, with minimal latitude for patterns on your accessories.

In fact, every option we listed above would work just as well as men’s black tie attire for weddings as it would for a special event.

But if it does seem like a more trendy event, you are very happy to do a little more to stand out.



Notch lapels are the most casual black tuxedo style, the lapels are shaped like most suit lapels, and they mostly have a two button front wear as the shawl and peak lapel have a one button closure. Even though the notch lapel tuxedo is more casual than the other two it is still a smart choice for a modern black tie dress code. 


Yes, you are seeing this correctly, that is in fact a midnight blur tuxedo. While celebs often wear these type of tuxedos at award shoes, the style was actually designed a long time ago as a sub for a black tuxedo. And it is still, to this day a perfectly fine alternative that follows the black tie dress code etiquette.




A black tie dress code is the perfect opportunity for you to wear a french cuff shirt. But if you are not the type to wear a french cuff shirt it is still totally fine to go with a the very reliable cotton dress shirt.



A subtle pin dot pattern is just one example of how you can live in the black and white palette and making a statement. You can play around with shape and texture, and a batwing bow tie is a modern take on the butterfly shape. 




This is the time to play around and have some fun. A pin dot pocket square is a very elegant and interesting option to choose and you are still in black tie attire. Just remember not to match the bowtie with the pocket square since that would be a little too "matchy".

As long as your pocket square is predominantly black it won't be too funky if you go with something like the picture on the right. 



We wouldn’t pair a cummerbund with the notch lapel tux above, but you can pull the same low cut vest move with a midnight blue tuxedo that you could with the shawl collar or peak lapel tuxedos. Just make sure you match the tux with a midnight blue vest.