FashionBeans: Men's Fashion & Men's Style Guide
28-04-2014 04:54 PM
I need some serious help with finding a suit for a graduation ball. I don't even know where to begin, I haven't had to wear a suit since my school prom (5 years ago). It's a black tie event, although I don't want to be stuck just wearing a black suit and tie combination, I want to add some personality. I'm known for being casually 'well-dressed' with what I wear daily (not trying to be big headed) so any advice would be perfect.
I'm 6"1 and average build if this helps, and I'd rather wear a slim fitting suit. Also I have a budget of probably under £150
Thanks in advance!
Last edited by mflaherty9; 28-04-2014 at 04:57 PM.
28-04-2014 05:47 PM
Black tie means dinner jacket and bow tie.
You have to accept that going to a black tie event means subscribing to a set of conventions. Trying to break these conventions rarely works - the 70s spawned powder blue dinner suits, for example. Thankfully, however, if you follow the conventions - and finesse them - you'll end up looking incredibly smart and better than those who didn't get it quite right. Small touches are what lift a dinner suit from part of the crowd to something special.
The Black Tie Guide (The Black Tie Guide: Tuxedo Style & Etiquette) is a very handy resource and well worthwhile taking a look at for advice on what to get. If anything, it has too much information but the sections on defining black tie, classic black tie and contemporary variations are all you should need. I see there is a quick guide added (Black Tie Guide | Quick Guide: Etiquette) too.
Beyong that my tips:
Firstly, then, you need a good dinner jacket (tuxedo). Thankfully these aren't too hard to find. If you are on a budget there are often second hand suits about which are frequently better made than modern ones. Otherwise there are plenty of good options. If going for single breasted try to get one with peak or shawl lapels with one button only; try to find a jacket with double rather than a single rear vent and pockets without flaps on them. Black or midnight blue (so dark it looks blacker than black) are the colours to go for. Most important, however, is that it fits well. The jacket should be slimming and fitted but should not pull at the button. If you want a variation, go for velvet - it looks luxurious and gives a relaxed smoking jacket feel.
Next you need a good shirt. Any plain white shirt would work at a pinch but it needs to be thick enough that you cannot see through the bosom. The best shirts for black tie have a marcella (pique effect) front.
Thirdly, bow ties should be black and match the silk of the jacket lapels. Go for a self tie one - it is easier than you think. For variation, try a point ended bow tie.
Shoes should be plain and black and well polished. Avoid brogues if you can.
Fourthly, and these days controversially, the waist covering. I'd advise wearing either a cummberbund or low fastening waistcoat. It adds a touch of class and helps to cover the waistline where shirts get dragged out or trouser waistbands crease. Connery's James Bond started the trend for not wearing a cummerbund but Daniel Craig is bringing them back.
Fifthly, the pocket square and buttonhole. Wear one. A white handkerchief (or flower) or a muted rich red, deep burgundy or dark green adds richness to your outfit.
Lastly, wear it with confidence.
29-04-2014 02:47 PM
My ball is also "black tie" but it depends on the nature of your degree. if its a fashion one , you can wear whatever you want. Most other degree's tend to strictly stick to the black tie.
I, personally, am going for a two tone suit inspired by Beckham.
29-04-2014 05:11 PM
Thanks for the really detailed reply Wolf!
Well I'm attending as a +1 to my girlfriends who does media. Most people seem to be wearing a suit, as long as it encompasses a black tie (not a bow tie). Based on that, does anyone have any other suggestions please?
29-04-2014 08:30 PM
as Wolf said, "black tie" does not mean wearing a black tie. It means evening wear. Dress as he suggested and you will look better than anyone else there
Originally Posted by mflaherty9