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Understanding the Meaning of Black Tie Optional

Posted Nov 18th, 2022 in All News, Fundamental Style, Personal Style, Style Knowledge

If you've ever been invited to a black tie optional event, you might be unsure what garments to wear. We've shared exactly what this dress code entails and what men can wear to black tie optional gatherings.

Understanding the Meaning of Black Tie Optional, King & Bay Custom Clothing, Toronto, Canada

What Does Black Tie Optional Mean?

In a previous blog, we clarified the meaning of the black tie dress code however, black tie optional leaves some men feeling uncertain about what to wear. Black tie optional refers to a dress code in which men are still required to dress formally. While a tuxedo is welcomed, it is not required. To ensure you have the right ensemble for this dress code, we've provided a guideline that clarifies everything men need to know.

Black Tie Optional Guidelines

Suit: Even though it's optional, a black tuxedo is acceptable. For men who wish to opt for an alternative, a dark coloured suit that is either black, dark grey, and navy blue is also acceptable. A perfectly fitted suit is encouraged. 

Shirt: A crisp white shirt is essential and plain shirts with French cuffs are preferred over patterned shirts with barrel cuffs. 

Neckwear: Men should choose ties in solid colours to go with their black suit; black, dark blue, and maroon are all acceptable options. If men opt for a suit that isn't black, they should try matching the colour of the tie to the suit. Smooth, shiny ties can work with a black tie optional dress code. An alternative is a tie with understated, subtle texture. 

Footwear: The best option for shoes is a pair of black leather oxfords. An alternative would be a pair of black derby shoes. Men should avoid wearing brown shoes with a black suit to a black tie optional event because this pairing is informal. 

Accessories: For a completed look, men can add accessories such as cufflinks and pocket squares.

What Not to Wear

Men should refrain from wearing light coloured suits and outfits that don't include a tie. Wearing a blazer with mismatched trousers and no tie is simply too casual and informal for this type of event. Whether you opt for a bow tie or regular tie, you must wear one. 

Black tie optional is a typical dress code for weddings and other formal events that allows men to practice some sartorial creativity while adhering to formal attire. King & Bay offers a variety of custom formal options that are suitable for black tie optional occasions. Contact us to book an appointment today.