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Guy Talk: The Black Tie Dress Code

When it comes to choosing an outfit for an invitation event, men and women alike have questions about what's appropriate and acceptable. I just received an e-mail asking if a light- colored suit would be acceptable for a man to wear at a black tie event, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to run through the basic rules of thumb.


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Deciphering dress codes requires a little bit of knowledge, and certain occasions have strict rules that are best and most comfortable to follow. When the invitation specifies a form of dress, this is both a courtesy and a guide for the tenor of the event. If an invitation specifically calls for black tie, men are expected to wear a tuxedo.

Men don't get as many opportunities as women to express themselves through their formal attire. That said, a tuxedo is a lovely and classic look! If you feel the need to mix things up a bit, opt to wear a long tie instead of the classic bow tie. You can spice up the simple black and white look with a colored or patterned bow tie, vest or cummerbund. But please, fellas, pick only one piece for your bold or patterned accent! Depending on the event, sometimes a tux can we worn without a tie altogether, and that's a look I kinda dig.

Another safe way to show some style is through your cuff links. Cuff links make a nice, subtle personal statement; they're a safe way for men to accessorize and add some flair to the outfit. Most of all, fellas, don't forget to enjoy yourself!

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