Deciphering dress codes for black tie or morning dress is not easy, with Debrett's expert and menswear stylist Tim Lord, we give you our top recommendations for what to wear to those formal daytime or evening events.
What to consider when looking to deciphering a dress code for a particular event
I would recommend concentrating on key details for various different dress codes, so morning suit, black tie, white tie, even a normal suit for a wedding I would definitely stick to black or midnight-blue for summer black tie events and then switch to a velvet for autumn or winter evening events that require black tie.For morning suits, the guidelines are grey striped trousers, and a black jacket.Feel free to add your own expression and personality to the morning coat or waistcoat.I don’t think you should conform to too many of the guidelines but there are boundaries there to understand and follow.
The difference between morning dress and black tie
You wouldn’t wear a morning coat after 5 pm or 6 pm generally, although they are both acceptable for weddings. Ensure the dress code is stipulated on the invite. I think morning coats are most commonly worn for the races, Royal Ascot or the Derby, or if you are presented in front of royalty so the main differences are day wear to evening wear.
What do you wear for a black tie event
Starting from the shoes I would go for ether a very high shine or a patent, socks should be plain or with a slight pattern, black and white spots always a nice choice,Trousers should always have a single silk braid down either side of the trouser leg. No belt should be worn, always either a cummerbund or waistcoat; moving to the shirt, it should be either a Marcella or pleated, with the final addition of cufflinks, studs and a hand tied bow tie
For your jacket I would say it should match the trousers or be plain white; velvet in the winter is always quite nice. But quite classically, black jacket and black trousers is generally the rule of thumb.
When would you wear a lounge suit?
For an occasion that is not too business orientated, it is acceptable. More often than not, a good choice is a single button blazer with a peak or a notch lapel, which is suitable for a social occasion or an informal wedding.
TOP TIP! - Don’t be afraid to take the starch and stiffness out of formal wear, have your own interpretation on everything that you wear – that is important with all menswear.