black tie without a tux?

So you’ve been invited to a black tie event and you do not own a tux.  You have a few options:

  1. Buy a tux.
  2. Fake a tux. (I don’t know what this entails, but if you hear these words come out of someone’s mouth, slap them across the face)
  3. Dark suit.  (You don’t want to or can’t afford to buy a tux)
  4. Decline invitation, defeated.
  5. Be an ass, wear a tuxedo t-shirt.

From here, there’s really only one option worth exploring in depth… Dark Suit. (2, actually, but I’ll leave tuxes for another post).

Dark Suit Approach:

  • Black or dark, dark Navy
    • Flat, no pinstripes
  • White shirt, no question… French cuffs, definitely
  • Freshly polished black shoes, perhaps patent if you’ve got the belt to match
  • Fine silk black or navy tie
  • Fine, white pocket square… Square fold, peaking out slightly… PERHAPS a stripe of color showing from a plain border on the handkerchief, that’s all the flair you can afford here. Subtle is the key.

Go for a fashionable, though subtle shirt. Actually, a placket-front (hidden buttons) is preferable here… ie:

-or- Plain, French-Cuffed with subtle detailing:

Fine, Silk Ties:

Any and all black tie questions can probably be answered here: The Black Tie Guide

3 Responses to “black tie without a tux?”
  1. Broski Conyers says:

    Another viable option would be to wear a Canadian Tuxedo or as the young lads says here in the states, a denim diner…also know as a jean jacket outfit…not the shiny cash money kind but the classic AC/DC type… I’ve said to much

  2. NSK says:

    Hate to break it to you, but your “dark suit approach” sounds a lot like “fake a tux.”

    That is, if you aren’t going to wear an actual tuxedo, wearing a dark suit with a hidden-placket shirt and bow tie (self-tied, for the love of christ), is tantamount to telling the world, “I thought I could fool you into thinking that this suit is a tux.” Rather, wear the dark suit, wear a light shirt, and wear a regular damn necktie (unless, of course, you regularly wear bow ties).

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