blacktieThere are many times in life that call for the pomp and circumstance of black tie, and all of them justify owning your own black tie basics.  It may sound crazy to you now, but you’ll thank us later, every metropolitan guy needs to be ready for a black tie event.  After all, if you’ve been invited to a fancy shindig, do you really want to rent a polyester blend suit?   Eventually you’ll want to own a tuxedo suit, and you’ll want it to look like this extraordinary shawl collared one from J.Crew in Italian Wool.  But for right now, if your wardrobe isn’t exactly at the point yet of containing a tuxedo option, but you can finesse your way through most black tie events wearing your own, simple black suit accessorized with the right tuxedo basics.

Most importantly, you’ll need a tuxedo shirt.  For a modern touch, choose one with a spread collar, although a more traditional wing collar is also a great look, it’s probably best reserved for weddings and the Met ball.  Hugo Boss is a great go-to for a tux shirt, as is Brooks Brothers.  Always have your tux shirt professionally cleaned and pressed, but never store shirts in the dry cleaner’s plastic bag hanging in your closet.

Nearly all tuxedo shirts have French cuffs, (and should, if it doesn’t, don’t buy it), so you’ll need an extraordinary pair of cufflinks.  Men pride themselves on their cufflink game so get something clever and chic like Dunhill’s Bulldog cufflinks in black lacquer, or these turquoise and silver striped stunners from Paul Smith.

And, of course, you’ll need a bow tie.  Absolutely no clip-on bow ties, you’re way past the prom, time to learn how to tie a bow tie.  Spend a few quality minutes on YouTube where you can find several tutorials on bow tie tying, like this one, starring the affable Jesse Tyler Ferguson showing you just how easy it is to tie your bow tie. For the most classic look, stick with either a solid black or white, silk satin option, again, Brooks Brothers is a great go-to for the classics.  For a holiday black tie event that invites a little whimsy, get a fun plaid or houndstooth option, like this one from Drakes of London.

Of course you can wear your nicer black dress shoes with your formalwear, but for a truly formal look, consider adding a pair of velvet slippers to your shoe arsenal.  For the most part the confusingly named Smoking Slipper sounds to Americans like something you’d wear for a late night stogie in your pajamas, but, Smoking Slippers are for wearing with a tuxedo.  Harry’s of London provides the most classic of handmade options with their Anton Black Velvet Slipper lined in red calfskin.  For a more modern flair, turn to Palm Beach, Florida based Stubbs and Wootton for their black velvet slippers embroidered with a silver skull and crossbones.