How to wear black tie like a royal

Channel your inner Charles

With the party season rapidly approaching, you may be scouring hundreds of Google pages for some black tie inspiration. But let us save you the agony and frustration, for what better style inspiration could you find than our dear royal family? After all, they’ve attended a few opulent occasions in their time.

From neckwear to footwear, these are the five finest tips on how to dress-up this Christmas, courtesy of Prince Charles and co.

Keep it simple

Forget the new rules of black tie. If the royals are anything to go by, eveningwear should remain conservative – think peak lapels, shawl collars, black tux jackets and crisp white shirts. And it’s easy to see why this is a winning formula; although the crowd may experiment with colours, textures and shapes, a timeless tux and matching shirt will keep you looking stylish at every occasion, no matter the year. After all, a gent always keeps his outfit simple and classic.

Master the self-tied bow tie

There are many things that a gentleman must master in his life: how to wet shave, how to change a flat tyre and how to tie a bowtie. And for those attending any upcoming galas or functions, learning the latter is paramount.

Why? Because any iteration of a bow tie that comes with a clip and hook instantly screams prom attendee, while the real thing shows that you’re a man who knows a thing or two about the finer things in life – just look at Prince William.

And if you need a hand with this tricky sartorial procedure, then check out our step-by-step guide

Get the fit right

It’s surprising how many men wear ill-fitting tuxedos. Too tight and you’ll look like you’re a try-hard adolescent; too baggy and you’ll give off the impression that you’re wearing your dad’s hand-me-downs.

So, when you need to get an idea of how your formalwear should fit, look no further than the royals, for this is an area they that absolutely nail. Trousers are slim and straight (and there’s minimal sagging around the ankles), jacket shoulders hug their own, straining at the chest is kept to a minimal and the sleeves are short enough to show at least half an inch of cuff. 

Invest in some Oxford shoes

The derby, the double monk strap or the brogue; when it comes to footwear, the modern gent has a plethora of options at his disposable. But for black tie events, only one shoe will suffice, and that’s the oxford. With unbroken lines and a sleek silhouette, it can be worn seamlessly with a pair of slim trousers, and thanks to its fuss-free design it’ll remain untouched by the fickle nature of fashion.

If you’re looking for a brand to invest in, why not try some Lobb’s on for size? John Hunter Lobb, head of the four-generations-old boot maker in St James, has famously noted that Prince Charles was fitted for his first pair of black oxfords in 1971 and continues to wear the label today.

Try a double-breasted jacket

Although a single button tux may be the go-to option for most men, investing in a double-breasted jacket will help separate you from the crowd without drawing too much attention. It’s elegant, smart and downright classy.

After all, Prince Charles, William and Harry all love to don a double-breasted option every so often, so why shouldn’t you? Just remember: always leave the bottom button unfastened

Further Reading