'Tis the season of the black tie party, but get the look wrong and you run the risk of your invite to next year’s festive soirees going astray with the rest of the Christmas post. Black tie has been around since the 1800s, long before the word ‘trend’ filtered into our vocabulary, yet it is one look which never fails to throw even the most sartorially gifted into disarray. Fortunately, we have the know how you need to avoid any dress code conundrums this Christmas and New Year, starting with these most common black tie mistakes.

Confusing a dinner suit with a black suit

A black suit and a black dinner suit are not one and the same. Whilst a dinner suit will see you channel James Bond, a black suit is more likely to see you confused for the wine waiter, so don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away with your failsafe black suit for a black tie affair. Peaked lapels in a subtly contrasting fabric to the jacket itself and covered buttons are the main differentiators between the two.

Faking it with a clip-on bow tie

No self-respecting gentleman should make it through life without learning to hand-tie a bow tie. A clip-on may be convenient but it doesn’t scream class like a bow tie should. And don’t even get us started on those novelty versions.

Discounting dark blue

The black tie dress code needn’t be as monochrome as its name suggests. In fact, the darkest of blue suits is also acceptable for black tie events and could even be considered a more modern take on classic formal attire.

Falling foul of footwear fails

You could be wearing the sharpest dinner suit in the room, but it only takes a footwear fail to let the whole look down. Strictly speaking, formal footwear should be patent and simple in style, so leave the brogues, boots and suede shoes at home.

Still bewildered by black tie? Our style advisors are on-hand daily in our dedicated suiting department, so visit Robinsons today to ensure you’re looking suitably suave for your black tie soirees this season.