Glossary of Men’s Formalwear

While dress criteria have relaxed in some areas, even ignored in others,w e feel that a wedding is a time for suitable dress codes for the men involved. Here are some of the most common terms with updated explanations.

  • Black Tie- Considered to be the standard for almost any evening affair, a black tie event requires a tuxedo for men. While many designers have versions of this classic, choose a black jacket with satin or grosgrain lapels, black trousers (usually with a stripe down the side), a bow tie, and a cummerbund. (Think James Bond).
  • White Tie- Refers to full evening dress. Traditionally it is a tux with tails, a top hat, an overcoat, a cane, and of course a white bow tie. (This Fred Astair) If the wedding party is in full formal attire, it is usual to suggest that male guests appear in tuxedos or at least dark suits.
  • Black Tie Optional (Or Preferred)- This specific dress code extends the option of wearing either a suit or a tuxedo. If this is extended to guests, then it needs to apply to the groom as well. Generally, the groom and members of the wedding party will choose a tuxedo (with your encouragement) but classic suits in dark shades like black, deep navy or brown are also considered appropriate.
  • Daytime Wedding (in warm weather)- This dress code implies a level of informality (this Sunday brunch) and allow for linen or twill suits. If the wedding is at a beach or informal outdoor site, men can skip a tie and wear a simple blazer with dress pants.
  • Daytime Wedding(in cold weather)- This dress code usually suggests men go with either a cotton or wool suit in the fall and winter seasons. Preferred colors are dark-navy or black. Ties are preferred.
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