Barrack and Michelle
Source: Afromum
Tola was a ‘street boy’ whose flair for marketing and relationship management served him well as a fast rising business professional. One of his company’s major customers, sent him an invite for their 10th anniversary commemoration dinner. Tola was excited to be considered worthy of attending such a V-VIP event. His efforts were actually being recognised in the right quarters.

However, there was a slight cause for concern. The invite read “this is a black tie event”, and he wasn’t too sure how to interpret it. He had attended many high-profile events and “Owambe” local parties in which the native “aso ebi” dress codes were specified. He was a smart dresser; most times relying on his instincts to swing-off any ensemble, so he never lost sleep thinking of any dress code requirements. But he had never attended this kind of event before, and knew if he were to make a good impression on his big customers and bosses that night, he had to show up looking prim and proper.

Idris Alba
Source: Daily Mail
On many occasions, people find themselves in the same predicament as Tola when they get invited to black tie events. The question usually is, “Am I expected to wear a black tie?”, but it’s not just about wearing a black tie. There are specific dress items that must be combined to conform to the black tie dress code.

Specifically, when an invite says “black tie” a man is expected to show up in a midnight blue, black or even white dinner jacket with a bowtie, preferably silk, worn over a dress shirt – a formal white shirt with double cuffs. Shoes are also expected to be formal – black pumps or plain-toed oxfords in patent or calf leather. Trousers should be cut for braces and of same material as jacket, except for white jackets which should go with black pants. Accessories should include: silk pocket square and an optional black formal waistcoat or black cummerbund.

For ladies, two essential dress pieces to consider are the evening shoes and cocktail (knee-length) or dinner (ankle-length) dress. As much as the fine points of the black tie dress code apply mainly to men, it’s still important to understand that the lady must ensure her dressing is appropriate for the occasion.
Kelly Rowland
Source: Pinterest

On a final note, it helps to acquaint yourself with the intricacies of this formal wear, even if you hardly ever get invited to any black tie events. If you get invited to an event, and your host requests such a dress code, etiquette demands that you; if you must show up at the event, must respect the dress code.

 By Nonso Nduanya
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