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A “Black Tie” Occasion


After the pandemic halted a lot of events for the whole of 2020, we are now seeing hopes of going back to the new normal life thanks to the availability of vaccines. With that said, during this time of the year we look forward to an award season. 


Be it The Grammys or The Oscars, the fashion fraternity’s focus turns to everyone that makes it past the red carpet. The media will make sure they capture almost every one and what (designer) they are wearing. Usually it’s the ladies making big statements with their designer gowns, as the gentlemen are seen with a minimal look in a tux suit.  


From the previous articles on the lifestyle page, we had a discussion about being suitably dressed for the occasion. We covered the common occasions that we attend and I shared my flaws from my previous experiences in some of those occasions. This time around we will look into the “Black Tie” occasion in detail. 


The Black Tie is one of the most prestigious occasions that one can be invited to. As mentioned before from the previous article, it is a sign of good respect to honour the invite by following the dress code set by the host. At times, one makes an effort to meet the dress code requirements but still gets it wrong. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what the theme Black Tie entails. Furthermore, even the invitation does not always go into detail regarding the dress code theme. 

So what does one need to know about this exclusive dress code theme 


Black Tie is a formal dress code for evening events that originates from both the British and American attires, dating back to the 19th centuries. This is an occasion where men are required to wear a dinner jacket with matching pants, predominantly black pants. If you remember well from an article about Timeless Jackets Suitable for a Classic Gentleman”, I featured a tuxedo jacket. The word “tuxedo’ originates from America, a region known as Tuxedo Park. A group of discerning gentlemen in that region adopted the style of wearing these dinner Jackets. Eventually they were called the Tuxedo Boys and that’s how the name came about. In essence, the brits call it a dinner jacket and the Americans calls it a tuxedo jacket. However, the initial dinner jacket was first made for Edward VII, to replace the intricate tailcoat attire seen in the above image. 


The dinner jacket can be in a single breasted peak; shawl and even a notch lapel, with a satin finish. It can also be in a double breasted and regardless the buttoning sequence, the buttons should always be covered. The jacket can be in different detailing patterns, but the pants are always black with a matching satin straps along the outer seams and strictly with no turn-up. The main accessory to complete this ensemble is a black bow tie, replacing a cravat. Another accessory is a pair of black (patent) leather lace-up shoes, although other leathers are socially acceptable including velvet slippers paired with black silk socks. The shirt is always white with either black or white buttons and the collar style is optional. Another optional accessory would be a cummerbund belt which replaces the vest or waist coat. 


Fashion and style will always change, that includes the rules that came with. However, it is best we know the rules first before we break them. And with regards to the history and tradition, regardless of its origin let us respect it. 

If you are still not sure about what to wear for a Black Tie event or have questions, you can comment below with any question relating to this theme. 

Until Next Time 

Suitably Yours 

Brian Lehang 


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16 thoughts on “A “Black Tie” Occasion

    1. As “boring” as history may be perceived, it is necessary for future reference.

  1. “Fashion and style will always change, that includes the rules that came with. However, it is best we know the rules first before we break them.”

    This quote really had me thinking for a good few minutes and here are my thoughts:

    Rules make life easier as you have proper guidance that has lasted the test of time. When it comes to clothing particularly menswear, rules will always reign supreme. I always try to stick to the rules as much as I can, hence in recent times I have found dressing up to be so effortless but on the other hand not everyone finds rules to be important because ‘Style is expressive’, but it is really expressive or ignorance is bliss? Master the rules then slightly break them.

    1. We are who we are today because there are rules we learnt and followed religiously for years. It’s safe to say without them, things would be different and probably negatively different.

      1. Look at Cannes Film Festival, for years it’s been what it is. Even the photographers follow strict dress code rules. However, when we look at the game of golf a lot has changed. It’s one of the sports that’s been regarded as the most formal and classic of them all, but looking at how the dress code rules have been diluted, it makes one wonder how will it be in the next decade…

        1. I feel as though in recent times people are moving away from tradition and that has destroyed our way of dressing, especially considering golf which is such a powerful sport that has given us the best style icons. I watched ‘The Greatest Game Ever Played’ and I was moved by how much golf has an influence on modern-day style. I guess as traditionalists we’ll have to keep old traditions and hope they become embraced by the public again.

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