The tuxedo is the classic attire for men at formal evening events. Traditionally, it's a white dress shirt, a black or midnight-blue dinner jacket, matching trousers, a vest or cummerbund, and a bow tie. However, there occasions where you can step away from tradition by choosing to wear a long tie instead of the bow tie. When choosing this alternative, know the rules to follow to be a well-dressed gentleman.
Know Your Dress Code
Understand what your invitation means. If you're invited to a black-tie wedding, the standard evening attire calls for the traditional tuxedo -- dinner jacket, matching trousers and a bow tie. This is not the occasion to break the rules, as it's considered poor etiquette. Black-tie optional and semi-formal are events where a conservative tie paired with a dark suit is acceptable. Creative black tie is rarely seen, however guests have the option of pairing a colorful tie with their suit.
Wear the Right Shirt
Stick with a simple white button-down shirt to provide a neutral canvas for your tie. Whether or not you choose a black or boldly colored tie, the white button-down shirt is a fail safe to ensure your outfit will look sleek and streamlined. A printed or boldly colored button-down takes a bit of skill to match with a tuxedo, therefore it isn't recommended. When choosing a colored shirt, wear a conservative black tie to avoid an outfit with too much going on.
Wear a black tie to black-tie optional or semi-formal events. Ideally choose a tie in the same material as your jacket lapels -- the fold of the front of the dinner jacket that is usually a continuation of the collar. Otherwise, a long skinny black tie is appropriate. If the invitation calls for creative black tie, be an individual and wear a colored or patterned tie.
Cover Your Waist Properly
Create a smooth line at your belly by wearing a waistcoat - a vest worn with the tuxedo that generally has lapels. Wear the waistcoat and you'll have something to tuck your tie into. Or, keep your jacket fully buttoned throughout the night if it's doublebreasted. A cummbund - a broad waistband usually worn with the tuxedo - can appear messy when paired with a long tie. By streamlining the tie with traditional accessories, you'll look well-dressed even in the long tie.