Black Tie

30 Oct 2014
POSTED BY Y Magazine

The social season has begun – and it’s imperative that you’re not underdressed, says Adam Hurrell

The temperatures are starting to drop and as we enter the final months of the year, it can only mean one thing: the beginning of the autumn/winter party season. For many, this may bring a feeling of dread, but the key to formal wear is buying quality. Treat your formal wear not as a seasonal purchase, but as a lifetime investment opportunity. Chosen well, with thought-out accessories, there is no reason why your formal wear needs to be changed more than once every five years – if not longer.

For example, my smoking jacket, once ordered from a tailor on London’s Savile Row is probably knocking around the 100-year-old mark.  There are some wonderful formal wear options available this season, for both entertaining at home and going out. As the Royal Opera House’s programme of events gets busier and Christmas and New Year loom ever closer, us chaps must make sure we are not lagging behind our female counterparts in the style stakes.


This double-breasted dinner jacket (trousers sold separately) is meticulously tailored by Ede and Ravenscroft. It retails for RO280 and is available at


TM Lewin make some of the best-value quality men’s clothing on the planet and this black self-tie bow tie from its evening wear collection is no exception. At this price, it makes sense to buy two so you can even out the wear and tear. RO16 at


The great thing about this Marcella evening shirt from Thomas Pink is that it offers good quality at a phenomenally affordable price. Pair it with some metal collar stiffeners and silver and black onyx shirt studs to complete the look. RO63 at


Be the king of your castle if you are entertaining at home with these Crockett and Jones slippers. Price on application.


Some say that wearing a visible timepiece with formal wear is not done, but nobody likes to be without a watch. This elegant Calatrava analogue watch from Patek Philippe is perfect for the man about town. Price on application.


No formal outfit is complete without patent black shoes, such as these Alastair Black Patent shoes from Church’s. Unless you are going bespoke with something from Alfred Sargent, you will struggle to do better. RO200 at


With evening dress, less is always more. Nobody likes to see crass cufflinks worn with half-decent tailoring. Equally, no novelty ones are allowed – we have moved on from 2002. Instead, try these smart silver and enamel cufflinks from Gieves and Hawkes. RO183 at

Debonaire details

Adam’s tips on going black tie:

  1. Learn how to tie a bow tie – and make sure it is always black. This is real life; not your end-of-term disco. Novelty cufflinks are also banned.
  2. Your collar should always be a fold-down collar. Wing collars are for white tie only.
  3. Team your black-tie look with elegant, good-quality accessories and you will look like a million dollars, as they say.

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