Modern black tie: the new rules for wearing a tuxedo

Wearing a tuxedo is steeped in tradition, but many rules no longer apply. With the festive season upon us, dressing in classic black tie now demands a mix of tradition and contemporary creativity.

Here's a look at different ways to rock a tux. 

Click through the gallery above to see black tie interpreted by key designers this season. 

The classic

Attending a serious black tie affair calls for a serious classic. It's paramount to find a suit that will complement your silhouette. It is the detail that speaks volumes and differentiates you from the crowd.

A well-cut tuxedo, white shirt with a crisp cutaway collar and finishing accessories such as an Armani silk bow tie and high-polished Derbies will put you in the same stead as our European neighbours.

Embroidered royalty

Looking regal brings to mind textures of velvet and metallic shades finished with a heavy embroidery. With any fabric that has intricate detail, the trick is to keep the rest of your ensemble simple. If you're wearing a statement jacket, keep your trousers, shirt, bow tie and leather Oxfords crisp and subtle.

Tonal tenacity

The tonal look has been wonderfully incorporated into casual and formal suiting over the past couple of years so wearing a black-on-black tuxedo will look polished and modern. This look is stylish and understated, yet emits power and confidence. Go for a straight bow tie here, not an overly puffy one.

Cool and collected

This festive season, we cannot dismiss the young at heart who see formal dressing as a thing of the past. Don't be surprised when a young gentleman turns up to a black tie event wearing a pair of black Wayfarers.

You can bring this ensemble together in a charismatic way that breaks the mould, but doesn't disrespect tradition. The key is to keep it coded in black and white and as slim as possible, with some finer details added into the accessories.


The rock'n'roll gent may even get away with wearing some waxed cotton biker jeans, high-polished boots with a twin-textiled jacket in velvet and satin with some very unconventional patterns in the blazer. Put this together, and you've got a modern James Dean take on formal wear.

Masterful minimalism

If you are a minimalist, a more casual approach is acceptable in formal dressing. You will stand out from the crowd by losing the bow tie and perhaps adding a pair of Rick Owens leather slip-ons.

Wearing a crisp white shirt, a sharp tuxedo blazer and some relaxed trousers will set off this look. Make sure to select some of the finest super wools around via our very respected Italian designers.

Where to shop

Top-notch designers to research for your festive season tuxedo are Neil Barrett, Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, ACNE Studios, Song for the Mute, Paul Smith, Zara and Ted Baker.

Experience within retail trend analysis companies has earned Louise Edmonds cred in the luxury menswear sector. The founder of utilises her passion and understanding of fashion to deliver a fresh, edgy take on men's style.