Being told of by Umer Sharif from Sharper Living into the definition of dinner suits, when I posted Men’s Dinner Suits – Ditch the Traditional Tux, I decided to clear the definition of a dinner suit once and for all. I have also taken on Umer’s rules about black tie events.
With black Tie events it’s crucial you understand why the rules are so important. The Black Tie (Tux/Dinner Suit, whatever) is a uniform. It is administered so rarely that the few times you are asked to do it, you should do it well. No peacocking allowed. The Dinner Suit isn’t about showing your personality, it’s about letting your actual personality show your personality without any pretense. Uniqueness is supposed to come about in the finer details.
The “Dinner Jacket” is what the English call the Tuxedo. Therefore, the “suit” is the dinner jacket and trousers together.
Black Tie Rules
- Shirts – should be white or a very pale blue. Do not choose colours
- Velvet jackets are fine (not new, either). Vests should be included anyway, to cover the waist.
- A dinner suit should ONLY be Double-Breasted or 3-piece. EVER. It’s a hard-and-fast rule.
- Lapels should never be notched.
- Cufflinks should not be quirky; no scrabble cufflinks here. Get something nice and unique, but NOT quirky.
- Patent shoes are a rule, too. Not necessarily pointy. Don’t want to look like Krusty the Clown. They should always be black.
- Now, adding a bow tie or a shawl lapel does not instantly make a black-tie outfit.