What to wear to a Black Tie Event?

It is Black Tie Season.  Whether you have an upcoming award ceremony, or your Christmas work night out is a Black Tie event, you want to make sure you look the part.

Although you would think common sense does the trick, but if you are like me, the trouble with common sense is that it is not that common.  Finding the right accessories for a Black Tie event can be tough.  That's where Google comes in handy. It's definitely easy to underestimate the event or be unfamiliar with the code of dressing immaculately for an event of this nature.  And if it is a works night out, make sure the lads in the office are not taking the mickey so that you are the only one that rocks up in a three-piece green velvet tux!

When going to a Black Tie event, always choose a black or dark navy suit. It is classic, versatile and the best colour to wear for these events. In terms of choosing the right coloured shirt, always wear a crisp, white shirt with no coloured patterns or details either, as a Black-Tie event is simple, elegant and contains an abundance of the classic simple colours of black, navy and white.

The Suit Jacket

You need to make sure the jacket fits your build.  There is nothing worse than an oversized jacket.  Particularly jacket sleeves.  You want your jacket sleeve sitting neatly on your wrist, so that your shirt cuff sits about half an inch out on your sleeve for an exquisite finish.
Unless your 6 foot tall, you are likely to need some alterations to your jacket sleeves, keep this in mind when you are buying or hiring a suit for a Black Tie event.  Although this will increase your price, the finer details matter.  You can get a jacket sleeve altered at most suit stores or google for local alteration services in your local area and cut out the middleman.  In the Derry region, you can get a jacket sleeve altered from £14 - £18.
The Shirt


The classic, crisp white shirt is always the best bet for any Back Tie event. Given the simple elegance of these kinds of events, you want to avoid coloured shirts or shirts with patterns. The same applies to the size of the collar of the shirt: if it protrudes above the jacket, opt for something that sits well under a suit jacket and doesn't draw too much attention. Simple is better.

    Tie or Bow Tie?
This requires a bit of time and experimenting with what you prefer, as this accessory is usually the focus of the outfit at a Black Tie event.  The important thing to ask is does it complement your suit jacket? Are you comfortable wearing a velvet bow tie for example? A black bow tie is always a safe bet and gives a simplistic, elegant look.  
The classic black tie is the most traditional accessory to wear, especially in black. You can always choose subtle prints too as long as the suit jacket and the shirt do not have any patterns. Moreover, you can go for classic tie fabrics and trial different widths that suit your body style and suit.
I'd personally always opt for the black bow over the tie.
The Shoes
What is the best style of shoes to wear to a Black Tie event?  You have to spend some time selecting an appropriate shoe for a Black Tie event. In addition to being comfortable, the shoes at night must be a dark shade of black.  The black patent shoe is the show of choice for Black Tie events.  The downside with a black patent shoe is that they can only be worn for black tie events and possible the occasional wedding as a guest if your suit has black trousers, so in regard to value for money, you'd be better going for a plain black formal shoe which will also work, although not as well as the black patent shoe.  
Other Accessories
A well-dressed man should know how to use quality accessories too. Therefore, it is essential that you consider the type of accessory to wear that won't distract away from the key elements of the look but add a touch of style.  
Find a distinguished pair of cufflinks (twins) to finish off the entire ensemble. The cufflinks create style and add a touch of elegance to your attire. Cufflinks are accessories that every man should wear in events where formal clothes are required and these are responsible for expressing grace without having to look too out there or distracting.
A pocket square in the upper pocket of the jacket distinguishes the gentleman from the crowd. It may be the same tones as the tie at a Black Tie event or something that complements it. Be careful when folding it and choose the right fold that's simple and elegant and unless required by a lady, never use it. 
Hire or Buy?
Your next big decision is whether to buy or hire?  If this is a one-off event, then I'd recommend hiring.  If the suit company offer alterations with your hire, then you can get a suit to fit your shape and height for £100 - £140 pending on branding and alterations.  
If you're going to have Black Tie event on an ongoing basis, then buying would be your best value for money.  Again, allow for alterations and make sure that suit is right for your shape and height.  Including alterations, you should be able to get a Three-Piece Tux for £220 - £300.  
To be sure of what type of ensemble you should wear to the black tie event, it is imperative to know what kind of celebration will occur. The essential items for a black tie event are a dark suit, a shirt with cufflinks, a thin belt, black shoes and the most important accessory, the dark bow tie or tie.