What is Black Tie Invited?
Originally Published 4/7/10
You’ve been invited to a pretty high-class party, and the invitation dictates that the event is “Black Tie Invited.” But what does that actually mean?
Turns out that black tie invited is just a fancy way of saying: “Black Tie Optional.” Which is nothing more than another fancy way of saying: “You can wear a tux, most guys will wear a tux, but you don’t have to wear a tux if you don’t want to.” Make no mistake, the women will be all dolled up, and probably 80% of the guys in attendance will be in tuxedos. But here’s precisely why you should skip the monkey suit and stand out from the other guys in the crowd:
Because unless you own a tailored tux, you’ll end up looking like garbage.
Rental tuxes fit and feel like ponchos. And unless you live in a pretty metropolitian area, the vast majority of the tuxedo wearing guys at this shindig will be wearing a rental. They’ll look like overblown ring-bearers. Wearing a well tailored black suit is more than acceptable for a black tie invited event. Pick the right accessories, and you’ll look just as formal if not more formal than any guy in a tux at the party. Here’s what you’ll need to pull it off:
Black Two Button Tailored Suit – Alfani RED – $250 – $400 | Hilfiger Trim – $250 – $400
Black suits aren’t nearly as versitle as a Navy or Gray, but they’re an absolute must if you’re ditching the tux option. Get a slim / athletic fit two button from either Alfani Red or Tommy Hilfiger, have you tailor bring in the sides giving you that classic athletic shape, and you’re set.
Bright White Well Pressed FRENCH CUFF Shirt – Kenneth Cole New York – $46.99
Also not something that’s real versatile, a french cuff shirt screams formal. The tonal stripes on this one from Kenneth Cole give it just a slight tuxedo shirt look, without going overboard. Semi Spread collar = perfect.
Simple Cufflinks with some shine – Roundtree & Yorke Cufflinks – $30.00
You could choose the smallest of all your accessories to throw some color into the mix, but don’t forget that all the other guys in tuxedos will be wearing black and white. These silver tone links are cheap (just $30) and simple.
Black Laceup Shined Shoes – Aldo Hepworth – $99.99
Look for a pair of streamlined and modern black laceups without any extra stitching. And get them professionally shined. It’ll make a world of difference when you show up to the event.
Muted dark tie – Alfani Stripe – $24.99 | CK Matte – $29.99 | Kenneth Cole Stripe – $49.55
It’s tempting to add some more color here, but again, the guys in the rentals will be wearing all black and white. It’s black tie afterall, and the shape of what you’re wearing should stand out enough. Avoid a solid black tie because you might end up looking like the wait staff. Matte gray or a simple stripe or pindot should work.
Tank Style Dress Watch – Armani Rectangle Watch – $175.00
As much fun as a sizable chronograph can be, your choice of timepiece can really make or break the formal feel of your suit. Rectangle or “tank” style watches are quite buttoned up and sometimes old time looking, but this model from Armani manages to look both super-dressy, and incredibly modern all at once.
Finish off the look with a clean and starched white pocket square, and you’ll never for a second look underdressed.
(And if you really do want to invest in your own tux? Try the Hilfiger below…)