Sometimes you'll get an invitation with 'Black tie optional' on it. This means your hosts will be wearing Black Tie but don't expect all of their guests to go to the same effort. In this case try for a dinner suit but if you're short of time, substitute a plain black suit, dinner shirt, bow tie and pocket square.Peak Performance
New arrivals are in stores now of our Midnight and Onyx peak lapel dinner suits. Both are complete with grosgrain silk lapels, jetting and covered buttons for up close interest even in dim evening light. Opt for the midnight blue colourway to give the appearance of darker than black under low light indoor conditions. $1290ea
The Bond-esque Shawl lapel dinner suit is an enduring favourite of ours for any formal function. This style offers an elegant, softer alternative to the popular peak lapel.
Collaring the Dress Code
Black tie usually means bow tie so if you're bowing to the pressure, opt for a specialist pleat front or Swiss front shirt with studs instead of buttons. Longer silk neck ties are designed to cover your shirt's placket and buttons. In the absence of a bow tie, go for one of the above shirts, stud.
We suggest sticking only to white, silvers, black and midnight blue coloured accessories for black tie occasions, add more colour for Cocktail Attire. Our pocket squares/pochettes are made by hand in Italy from the finest silks, wools and cottons.
Shoes - The Most Important Finishing Touch.
The chance of ruining an outfit with clumpy, square-toed shoes is extremely high. A keen eye and beautiful women notice these things. Opt for a sleek, highly-polished black pair for some optical kick in the night's dim lights.
Made-to-Measure Dinner Suits
Some of our favourite custom suits we tailor are for black tie events or weddings. It's a garment designed for partying, so have fun with it. We have New Zealand's best range of premium fabrics from Ariston to Zegna. Our team in store can help you make the right decisions for your suit's role in life, visit our stores for a personal introduction to the range or book an appointment with your preferred WS team member. Learn more about our made-to-measure suits here
The other formal event dress codes
in the Gatsby days, cocktail dressing means tailoring, but never a tuxedo. It
involves a suit or cocktail jacket/pants combo, a solid colour shirt (although
low-level patterns are acceptable), a creative tie, pocket square (optional)
and a nice belt. Finish the look with oxfords or loafers.
Cocktail Attire Tips
Coloured or patterned socks are an
opportunity for self-expression.
Pocket squares shouldn’t match your tie
exactly. That’s altogether too twee.
Go for high shine on the shoes. Double
the usual spit and polish.
If your shirt is simple, choose a bolder
tie in a complementary colour. Bow ties are a no, unless you’re an architect.
A black shirt with no tie can be a
Suits are dark, but don’t have to be
black or plain. Consider a small dot and/or a flattering shade of blue.
The ‘penguin suit’ is usually reserved for visiting
royalty or weddings. It involves a black tailcoat jacket, full white waistcoat,
wing-tipped collared dress shirt, self-tied white bow tie and patent leather
ceremonials. Full tails suits available made-to-measure or for hire.
White Tie Tips
The classic tailcoat has notched lapels
and six buttons and is trimmed in finest satin.
Trousers should be made from the same
fabric as the tailcoat. They should be cut with a high waistline, to allow for
the high rise of the tailcoat.
The bow tie should be made from the same
fabric as the waistcoat.
While some etiquette guides recommend a
patent ‘pump’ with a silk grosgrain bow, we prefer the simplicity (and
masculinity) of patent oxfords.