Black is a color traditionally reserved for both funerals and formal evening events, also known as "black tie" events. Because of its versatility and its tendency to act as a "slimming" color, the color black has found its way also into casual wear. In both formal and nicer casual outings, couples color coordinate with each other. This leaves the man with the challenge of matching a tie with his own suit along with his date's black dress. Choosing the right color and pattern are the keys to matching a tie with a black dress.
Matching Shades of Black
Inspect the shade of black on the dress. Shades of black vary in color. For example, a sequined or silk dress may be a sleeker or more vivid shade of black that is best matched to a tie that has a shine to it, like a silk tie. Select a tie that is muted, like a tweed or cloth fabric tie, to match a dress that is flat black.
Select a tie that is complimentary to the style of the dress. If the dress is longer and more formal, a longer and slightly wider than usual tie is a good accompaniment. For a shorter or more casual dress, a slightly shorter and narrower tie is a better match. Bow ties are also a good choice if the event is formal.
Selecting a Tie Pattern
Pick a tie pattern that will go with both the dress and your own suit. A complimentary black suit should be worn to match the dress. Pinstriped suits are more formal. Wear a striped tie with a pinstripes suit, as the stripes tend to compete. A pattern of dots or squares that are geometrically proportioned compliment the pinstripes. Standard stripes compliment a solid suit.
Choosing Tie Color
Choose a tie that has a base color that matches the suit. A solid black tie is one option. In addition to matching the suit and the women's dress, the tie color should also go with the color of the man's dress shirt. Although a white dress shirt is standard for black suits, light blue and pink are also acceptable dress shirt colors. Wear a tie that has accent colors that match the shirt color.