The Style Blog

Black-Tie Wedding Guest Attire?

Written by Courtney Baldwin June 24, 2019

QUESTION:

I'm attending a wedding that where the attire is indicated as Black-Tie.  I am curious if there's any way around wearing a tuxedo?  Could I wear a suit?  I'm trying to avoid getting that dressed up, or renting/purchasing a tuxedo but will do it if I have to be in line with my friend's request.  

ANSWER:

If the wedding invitation indicates Black-Tie dress, there really is little room for interpretation or deviation especially as a wedding guest. You must wear a tuxedo.  While there is some opportunity to show your personal style while wearing Black-Tie attire, it is most appropriate to stick with tradition.  Meaning you must wear a tuxedo jacket, tuxedo pants, and a bow tie.  To show off your style a bit for the occasion, consider doing that through your dress shirt, bow tie, lapel pin, and shoe selections. Included below are some Do's and Don'ts that should be helpful in styling your look.  

DO

  • Wear a black or midnight blue tuxedo – For a Black-Tie wedding, black and midnight blue tuxes are most appropriate.  If you must wear another color, try to keep it as dark as possible

  • Wear black patent leather, leather, or velvet oxford or loafer shoes - Unless indicated in the invitation, sneakers or any other casual shoe are considered inappropriate for the occasion.  

  • Wear a collared dress shirt - T-shirts, polo shirts, and banded collar shirts are not acceptable for a black-tie dress code.  If appropriate for the wedding venue and theme, consider a tuxedo shirt in a different color, texture, or pattern (ex. pastel, denim, pinstripe)

DON'T

  • Wear a flashy or bold color - Even though you want to show your style, please remember that it is not your wedding.  This is not the time for you to upstage the groom!

  • Wear a suit - A lot of guys try to pass suits off as tuxedos and it just does not work.  By wearing a suit, you'll look like you don't care or that you don't pay attention to instructions.  

  • Wear an ill-fitting tuxedo - A tuxedo is an investment and a staple.  Every gentleman should own at least one for occasions like weddings, business formals, galas etc...And with the pricing of TGS tuxedos beginning at $224 you will can't beat purchasing. Make sure you visit your local tailor to ensure proper fit of the tuxedo after purchasing.

About the Author

Courtney Baldwin - The Groomsman Suit

Courtney Arrington-Baldwin is the co-author of GROOMS: A Professional Stylist’s Guide to Wedding Planning for Every Budget. She has a seasoned background in menswear styling and provides style advice and wardrobe planning for TGS couples and their wedding attendants. Living in one of the fashion capitals of the world, New York City, she has a sophisticated understanding of wedding style, fit, and budget.