Tailor's Note: March 2023 - Black Tie Tips

Tailor's Note: March 2023 - Black Tie Tips

These notes are based off conversations with customers and are designed to help make the process of working with a tailor a little more familiar.
Disclaimer: These ideas are based solely on my opinion, please feel free to ignore, flout and disobey at every opportunity.

I’ve been greatly encouraged recently to see how many dinner suits we have been asked to make.

The roaring twenties 2.0 had a few false starts but maybe this is an indication of jollier times ahead?

When ordering a bespoke tuxedo, there are, as always many details to consider. For the sake of this note I am exclusively talking about traditional black tie made from black barathea but of course nowadays DJs come in all manner of colours and materials so your first decision is cloth.

I have chosen black barathea because it is a timeless cloth and a dinner suit is something I want to buy once every 20 years. It ages well, it goes with everything, it hasn’t gone out of style in 150 years (Henry Poole claim they invented the Tuxedo in 1865).

Step 2 is cut. I flick back and forth over single-breasted and double-breasted. Double does feel suitably powerful and strong, however the SB was the original. And I think it feels a little more youthful. So I’m sticking with tradition.

Once I’ve settled on SB, for me, a single button is the only choice. If you are choosing classic black tie over any of the more ostentatious alternatives, that tells me that you appreciate its sleek and discreet demeanour. A single button at the front accentuates the clean lines.

As does pairing it with jetted pockets.

Although this is contingent on you not really using them. If practical pockets are a must then flap pockets are an acceptable choice. Patched pockets are not. They are the least formal style and look incongruous at a formal event.

If you opt for jetted pockets, I like the jets and the buttons to match the facing. It adds a little texture to the all black affair.

I prefer grosgrain silk to satin but this is a personal choice and should really be made with your bowtie in mind. I like a jazzy bowtie so it doesn’t matter so much for me but purists believe the silk of your bowtie should match the silk of your lapels.

When it comes to linings, you have free reign. Go as loud or as chic as you like. Like with one or two of these decisions I fluctuate wildly. At the moment I favour a whimsical pattern but in a grown up colour. Like Bernstein and Banley’s shark print on dark navy or their zebras.


I’m pretty unwavering on the trousers:

  • Flat fronted, no need for pleats here.
  • Side buckles - under zero circumstances should you wear a belt. I would prefer your trousers fall down in the receiving line than see a belt, novelty or otherwise, with a dinner suit.
  • No turnups. Slanted hem so the front of the trouser is clean.
  • Satin side strip. When else do your trousers get to feel this fancy?
  • Jetted pockets. They are smarter than slanted pockets but are just as easy to put your hands in.


Accessories get a little controversial when it comes to black tie.

I say no to pocket square but yes to cummerbund.


You tell me that they are old-fashioned but I say that I have held onto them for long enough that they are cool again. Plus they lengthen your legs and stop your shirt from coming untucked at all your fancy events.


It is an absolute hard pass for me on the waistcoat. I know that Prince Phillip and Rami Malik are fans, but it’s a no from me.

I do however thoroughly support an unexpected shirt, whether that means not white, pleated, even frilled. I recently saw a shirt which had a grown on bow tie! *chef’s kiss.


If you want to correct me on any of the above, or order your own tux, drop us a message or pop into Moreton Street.


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