An invitation to a dinner will normally state "Dress: Black Tie, Dinner Suits or DJ’s." Most companies hold a dinner, usually at Christmas, to thank staff and clients but also as a form of networking and it’s therefore important to look the part. A well cut dinner suit or occasionally a white tuxedo, worn with black dress trousers, is essential. A dress shirt with a pleated or Marcella front having either a wing or standard collar and bow tie finishes the outfit.
Black Tie does not necessarily mean a black bow tie must be selected, as any colour can be worn but, and a big but, choose carefully. You don’t want to be the only person in a non-black bow and a lot is down to personality, and the type of function. Certain events will accept, possibly even expect, that one dresses down a little to reflect individual personality, but always play safe. At some functions it would be wrong not to wear a black bow and if in doubt it is worth remembering that a black bow tie will never look out of place.
Bow ties come either ready-made or self-tie. A ready-made bow has several types of fastening somewhere on the neckband and the self-tie needs to be tied. Practice makes perfect and it’s not easy for some – others find it easy to get a professional looking result every time. Some institutions do frown on a ready-made bow and in some regiments in the forces it’s unacceptable not to have tied your bow. A cummerbund is often worn; its function is to bridge the gap between the dress shirt which has a laid-on pleated front and the trouser waistband. Often a person perhaps slightly on the portly side will find a cummerbund essential. Some dress shirts have studs instead of buttons and will always require cuff-links.
Some invitations may well specify other forms of dress such as white tie, view this on the appropriate page. Top table invites will sometimes stipulate white tie. School Proms are usually dinner suits or smart lounge, see our appropriate Page. We regularly have grooms arranging their weddings years after they were first dressed formally for their Prom by Bartlett & Butcher.
Dress in black tie or white tie and you’re ready for good company, excellent food and fine wine. Evening wear for men is often referred to as black tie or a DJ, whereas white tie is an evening tailcoat with white Marcella waistcoat, shirt and bow tie. We have evening wear hire to suit every occasion. For a black tie dinner you will need: A pleated front dinner shirt with either a wing collar or standard collar and a bow tie. It doesn’t necessarily have to be black bow tie and depends on how formal the function and your individual persona.
A dinner jacket is either single breasted, double breasted or shawl, which has rounded lapels. Alternatively a white tuxedo, a white jacket, which is in fact off white or cream is always worn with black dress trousers which have a satin stripe running down the seam of each leg, or a Nehru jacket, an elegant longer jacket style with a stand-up collar. Optional accessories might include a pocket handkerchief and a cummerbund to help make even more of an impression. We also hire formal black Oxford shoes and cuff links. Hats however, should not be worn if the invitation says "Black Tie". A black top hat and silver-tipped ebony cane can be worn if your invitation says white tie, all are available to hire.