White tie vs Black tie, what’s the difference?

When it comes to dressing in formal attire, a black-tie might be the first thing that springs to mind, but it is a white tie event that marks the highest level of prestige and style. Although both require you to wear a tuxedo, there are some crucial differences between the two.

What is a white tie event?
In short, a white tie event is the most formal dress code possible in western society. Although it was once the standard level of formal dress, in more recent times, it has become reserved for rare occasions such as royal or state ceremonies and special banquets.

What is the difference?
Receiving an invite to a white tie event should indicate the level of formality and the caliber of attendees that will be there. Although both are based around a tuxedo, a white tie event has several key differences, and traditionally you should wear:

  • A white bow tie that has been tied by hand.
  • An evening tailcoat, which features harsher lines compared to the traditional morning tailcoat. At a white tie event, it should always be worn unbuttoned and have peaked lapels.
  • Slim, high waisted trousers that feature two lines of braid on the outside.
  • Stiff white evening shirt, with single folded cuffs and wing collars.
  • A low-cut evening waistcoat.
  • Black leather shoes with black laces, which should be accompanied by black socks.
  • Accessories such as cufflinks, a dress watch, and, if you want to be truly fancy, a top hat, cane, and white gloves. 

Black tie vs. white tie
Although both attires are a fantastic excuse to dress up, being invited to a white tie event is your opportunity to embrace the epitome of elegance. So if you have received an invitation to a white tie event, welcome the opportunity and dress to the occasion.

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