White tie for men

Do you wonder what is white tie for men? Then you're at the right place! When you're invited to a party with a white tie dress code, it's important to know that this event is probably one of the most formal events there is. The white tie dress code has strict rules about the required attire for men. We will make it easy to choose your outfit! Just apply these tips on how to dress white tie and check out the pictures of white tie attire we have collected for you. You will look great on your upcoming white tie event!

What is white tie?

The white tie dress code is one of the most formal dress codes there is and it's only worn on very formal or ceremonial occasions. Examples are state dinners, formal evening weddings and balls. White tie is an evening dress code. This means that it can only be worn after 6 pm (or after dark). White tie for men requires attire to be worn according to the rules of the dress code. 

What is white tie for men?

  • Wear a black or midnight blue dress coat, also known as an evening tailcoat or bodycoat. The coat has to fit exactly because the coat should ‘embrace’ your body. The coat has to be worn open and can’t be buttoned. The lapels can be pointed or have a shawl collar and should be made of silk satin or grosgrain. The facings should be black with a black coat or midnight blue with a midnight blue coat. The coat is mostly decorated with six buttons. Tree buttons on each side. The cuffs are in most cases also decorated with four buttons. The coat should be cut at a sharp angle in the front and should have a single vent.
  • The trousers should be of the same fabric and the same color as the coat. The trousers should have a wide strip or two narrow strips braid at both sides.
  • Wearing a waistcoat is optional. If you choose to wear a waistcoat, go for a white one. Waistcoats are in most cases made of cotton. The opening of the waistcoat should be low so the shirt can be seen. The waistcoat can be with or without revers and lapels. There is still confusion about the visibility of the waistcoat below the front cutaway of the coat. This varies by country. Where most Europeans usually wear the waistcoat visible below the coat, the British wear the waistcoat without being visible below the coat. Either way, the waistcoat must cover the trouser waistline.
  • White tie for men requires a white tie shirt with a bib front. The shirt must have a detachable stand up or wing collar. The sleeves should have cuffs. The front of the shirt can be of linen or cotton and are closed with studs.
  • As footwear you should wear patent or highly polished leather Oxford shoes or opera pumps.
  • As socks you should wear black or midnight blue long socks made of silk or thin wool.
  • The tie has to be a white bow tie.
  • Don’t wear a belt. Wear braces instead.
  • There are just a couple possible accessories to wear with the dress code white tie. You can choose to wear cufflinks, shirt studs or waistcoat buttons. If you’re planning to wear two or even three of those accessories it’s best to go for a matching set. Most common colors for those accessories are silver, gold or other metals with a mother-of-pearl or another precious stone. Also you can choose to wear a pocket square or a boutonniere. Never wear them both. If you choose to wear a boutonniere we recommend it to be a gardenia. Don’t wear a watch. This is seen as impolite. The only allowed timepieces are pocket watches.
    Wearing a silk scarf is optional. Mostly this is worn by older men at traditional white tie events.

Examples of white tie attire

Relevant tips and ideas on white tie for men

  • Check out the parties in the navigation bar for more specific parties.
  • Wonder what to wear to a party? Just return to howtodressforaparty.com and check out our newest updates, pictures and information about your next party look!
  • At some white tie events a military mess dress is also seen as appropriate attire for a men.
  • Wear your white tie attire traditionally according the rules. Don’t try to make it look more fashionable.
  • In the past men wore hats to a white tie event. Nowadays a hat is rarely worn. If you want to wear a hat, be sure that it is appropriate so you won’t stand out compared with the other guests. The hat has to be black and made of silk.
  • Where men used to wear white gloves in the past to a white tie event, nowadays this is barely worn by men.
  • If you are attending a white tie occasion in Britain, find out if the occasion is requiring white tie worn according the traditional Britain rules or not. According to the traditional Britain rules men should wear knee-breeches and silk stockings instead of trousers.