Party season is almost upon us but if the invite to a formal dinner do makes you weep at the thought of dressing for the occasion then weʼve got a few tips to help get you suited and booted.

Black Tie

Donʼt be intimidated by the words ʻBlack Tieʼ, it just means you should stick to certain rules to ensure youʼre dressed appropriately for the occasion, which should in theory make it easier for everyone! It may also be handy to know that dinner suits, tuxedo and dress suits all mean the same thing!

The Jacket

Single or double breasted are both acceptable, although double breasted is best for slimmer frames as they have a tendency to accentuate excess weight. Itʼs also worth thinking about the practicality of a double breasted suit as itʼs not designed to be worn open, so youʼd have to stay buttoned up all evening!

Classic styles are made from light mohair, with ribbed satin facings and must have either a shawl or peaked lapel. A peaked lapel may be the safer options if youʼre unsure as to what suits your proportions best.

A jacket should always be black or blue/black. Avoid white jackets, unless the party is taking place on a Caribbean Cruise Ship, these should only ever be worn in much warmer climates than ours.

The Trousers

These should be a perfect match to the jacket, with a silk or satin braid running down the sides. The trousers can be pleated but the trend now is for flat fronts, which give a more elegant look. Trousers should not have belt loops, but be held in place by braces, which are hidden behind a waistcoat.

The Shirt

The shirt is simple – it should always be white, made of fine cotton and have a turn down collar with a pleated or Marcella front (neat, tight pleats are right on trend at the moment).

Traditionally, a front placket should cover the buttons and donʼt forget to finish it off with some elegant cufflinks.

The Bow Tie

If you do one thing to prepare yourself for a black tie event, make sure itʼs investing in a self-tie bow and learn how to tie it. Nothing compares to the self-tie (yes, you really can tell the difference) and youʼll even you get to wear it open at the very end of the night for added suave.

The two most popular shapes are the ʻbutterflyʼ, which flares at the end and the ʻbatwingʼ, which has parallel sides. Either one is acceptable but the batwing is the more formal options.