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Dress Code Tips Black Tie Vs White Tie

Many people think that the dress code required for white tie and black tie is exactly the same. Even though both are formal types of attire, there are some minor differences that must be considered. After all, white tie invitations are the most formal of all affairs and often times associated with functions of high-level political figures. So if you are invited to a white tie invitation, there are a few things you should know before you go. This article focuses on white tie and black tie dress code, and outlines the differences between each type of attire.

Black Tie Attire

Black tie is a formal type of invitation that calls for a tuxedo for men and a long evening gown for women. To be more specific, traditionally the tuxedo is black, and worn with a white tuxedo dress shirt. There are two common types of shirts, both are appropriate for the occasion. The first one is the wing-collar dress shirt that has the tips of the collars folded over. The other type of dress shirt has a flip over collar and is basically a “Polished-Up” dress shirt with pleats in the front, and French cuffs.

For the neckwear you will need to wear a black bow tie made from satin silk. The spread of the bow tie usually ranges between 2-3 inches. Weather you choose to wear a cummerbund or a vest is personal preference, but one of the two must be chosen. The color of vest or cummerbund should be, just like the bow tie, solid black in color. Your shoes are also a special type of tuxedo dress shoe. They have more shine, and a thin sole.

White Tie Affair Dress Code

As the name indicates, white tie affair means you will need to wear a white bow tie. Besides the color neckwear, there are a few other differences to black tie attire. For you jacket you usually choose a tailcoat jacket. The dress shirt is typically the wing-collar type, and instead of a cummerbund you will wear white vest. Your shoes are the same type of tuxedo dress shoes as you would choose for black tie invitations.

White tie attire is the most formal of all dress codes and typically associated with consulate and presidential type events. Most people will never have the opportunity to attend a white tie function, and if you are invited to a white tie affair, then this is a true honor.

Chances are that you don’t own a tuxedo, especially if you need the tail-coat type jacket. Before you go out and buy this type of jacket that you will most likely only wear once in a life-time, consider renting one instead. If this sounds like a good option to you, then it is recommended to search for a specialty rental shop. Doing a quick search on the internet will get you a few options on places near you. Before visiting, do some research by calling them to ensure your sizes are available. Often times special tailoring will be needed to ensure a perfect fit. Since not every tuxedo rental place has a skilled tailor, do some additional research. Visiting review sites such as is a good choice.
About Author Hendrik Pohl :

Mr Pohl is a regular author for articles on men's fashion. He has a strong interest in formal attire and regularly gives dress code advice on business attire, suits and ties, and black tie functions. He is also the founder of - Specialist for fine silk ties & bow ties.

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Article Added on Monday, December 22, 2008
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