Updated: Dec 14, 2020
I enjoy attending formal events where black tie is required. People just don't dress up as much anymore. It's really unfortunate because putting on formal wear can instantly change your mood and it elevates the occasion. I feel James Bond-like: dashing, elegant, and sophisticated (even if it's only for a few hours). Recently, I attended a black tie fundraiser and was exasperated by what some guys define as black tie. Black tie evening wear consists of a tuxedo, black bow tie, white shirt and patent leather shoes or velvet dress slippers. Tuxedos should be worn for evening events only.
Antonio Centeno of the blog, Real Men Real Style, does a great job of describing the different types of social dress, particularly black tie, and how it should be worn. Whether you buy or rent, make sure your tuxedo fits as well as it can. I personally think you should invest in a tuxedo. If you attend at least two black tie events per year, it makes financial sense to buy rather than rent.
Of course modern times and the occasion influence how black tie is interpreted. With so many red carpet photos circulating on the internet, it's easy to get confused about proper evening wear. Sometimes what's worn on the red carpet by a celebrity doesn't translate well to a dignified fundraising dinner or formal wedding ceremony. The Rake magazine published a piece that talks about five alternative ways to wear black tie. They recommend getting the classic look right first before you attempt to wear an alternate look. You'll get a better sense of fit, how you look in your tuxedo and whether or not you look best in the classics or if you can be a bit more daring. Classic black tie is always elegant and appropriate, however, there may be times when you want to put your personal style on display.
Browse through the images in this post for classic black tie inspiration and alternative black tie looks.
Stay stylish friends...