The Tuxedo Series Part VI: Dress Codes

When purchasing a tuxedo for a wedding in Princeton, NJ, it’s important to consider the dress suggested on the invitation. Most wedding invitations, if they request a certain type of dress, will request black tie. There are a few other styles of dress separate from black tie that can be beneficial for a man to know.


In this series, we’ve discussed the history of the tuxedo, the styles of tuxedo and the various accompaniments that go along with the garment.


In this blog, we’re discussing the various dress codes that incorporate the tuxedo.


Black Tie


Black tie is the more common dress code; the point of black tie is to dress almost entirely in black (save for the shirt) to give men the most flattering appearance.


  • Black Jackets with peak lapel or shawl collar only
  • Shirts are white with wingtip or turndown collar and pique front
  • Pants are black with braid
  • Cummerbunds should be black
  • Studs should be black or mother of pearl
  • Shoes are black patent leather oxfords, well shined
  • Bowties are black
  • For the host of the event, it is appropriate to wear black velvet slippers


Adherence to these rules is important as any deviation is considered a faux pas.


White Tie


White tie is considered the more formal of the two common options – stricter than black tie; this particular style of dress is rarely utilized. The color scheme is slightly changed, and due to the cut of the jacket, more of the waistcoat is exposed.


  • Black or midnight blue tailcoats with peak lapel (preferred) or shawl collar
  • Shirts are white with detachable wingtip collars
  • Waistcoats are white
  • Pants are black with braid
  • Studs and cufflinks are black
  • Shoes are black patent leather oxfords, well shined
  • Bowties are white


Other Dress Requirements


White tie with medals – sometimes called white tie with decorations – is the only dress code more formal than white tie. This permutation of white tie follows the same rules with one important addition: medals that are earned or passed down from family are to be worn on the tuxedo. Medals earned are worn on the left breast, while medals inherited are worn on the right.


The least strict dress code is black tie optional/black tie preferred. This invitation allows for black tie dress, but a nice business suit can be worn with little fuss. Many men take this as an opportunity to add a little flavor to their tuxedo, incorporating different colors or other small touches.


At Henry A. Davidsen, our master tailors in Philadelphia can craft the right look for any invitation — black tie, white tie or no tie.


Read the first entry in our tuxedo series.





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