Guys, Here’s What You Should Wear if the Event is Black Tie Optional

The other day, I walked out the door and it just smelled like, well, it smelled like weddings.  There were flowers blooming, the sun was shining, and somewhere nearby somebody’s soon-to-be mother-in-law was panicking about losing her son to his new bride.  Ok, so it didn’t actually smell like weddings.  I don’t actually know what weddings smell like, but if they did have a scent they would probably smell a lot like spring and summer and warmer weather, because the beginning of spring means the beginning of wedding season.  

Ah, wedding season – a time dreaded by some and impatiently anticipated by others.  I like to think weddings are a great time to see friends, have a good time, and maybe experience a little bit of drama.  

Wherever you fall on the wedding excitement spectrum, I think we can all agree that wedding attire can be a complicated matter in this day and age for us guys.  If the wedding is on a farm, does that mean you can wear overalls?  Probably not, but that’s a question to be handled on a case-by-case basis.  There are many nuances in wedding attire, but today we are going to discuss what to wear when a wedding is black tie optional.  

Ok, step 1: Let’s establish what black tie is.  That is a pretty simple one.  For men, wearing black tie simply means wearing a tux.  If a wedding is “black tie optional”, it means that one of your options is donning a tuxedo.  However, I realize in this day and age that a lot of men don’t have tuxedos and don’t want to rent one for every black tie optional event, so what can you wear to this type of event if you don’t have a tux?

“Black tie optional” doesn’t mean that the wedding isn’t formal.  In fact, it’s an indicator that the wedding is probably on the fancier spectrum.  You will want to look pretty spiffy for any “black tie optional” event.  Make sure that if you aren’t wearing a tux, you still look dapper.  Here’s how:

  1. Wear a suit.  Not just any suit, you want to wear your nicest dark suit.  A black or navy suit will probably be your best bet, but if you want to be a little playful, you can go with another dark option.  
  2. Don a dress shirt.  None of them sport shirts with button-down collars allowed.  You want your dress shirt to have french cuffs, a stiff or pleated front and be a bit longer than your standard business casual button-down.  Still not sure exactly what the difference is between a dress shirt and a sport shirt?  Hit up your local custom clothier for some help.  
  3. Pair with a solid or subtly-patterned tie.  Formal wear is usually not too loud or wild and crazy, so stay simple and you are bound to look classy.  There’s a time place for fashion experimentation, but formalwear should look classic and refined.  If you want to still look formal but be a little different, you could opt for a solid bowtie.  


And there you have it.  Those are the basics of conquering a “black tie optional” event – at least the basics for conquering it in the style realm.  If you are trying to conquer the wedding socially, I’m not really the expert in that area, but your best bet is probably to hope for an open bar.  

Got any more questions about wedding attire?  Let me know.  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Jbd Logo-JBD Clothiers