Crane Brothers: Navigating Dress Codes

With an array of stringent regulations, navigating dress codes can be overwhelming. Together Journal has turned to the experts at Crane Brothers for guidance.

Decoding Black Tie

When confronted with a black tie dress code, questions tend to arise rapidly from guests. Queries like the appropriate style of footwear, the necessity of a cummerbund, the ideal colour for a bow tie, and even the method of tying a bow tie can flood one’s mind. And trust us, tying a traditional bowtie outside of practised hands is no easy feat. But read on; Crane Brothers have advice for this and much more.

From the 19th century onwards, the black tie dress code has raised questions from guests-to-be, even among the most knowledgeable enthusiasts of fashion.

As New Zealand’s foremost brand in men’s attire, Crane Brothers has dedicated decades to outfitting grooms, groomsmen, and wedding attendees. Consequently, mastering black tie attire.

Addressing inquiries ranging from seasonal variations to the essential accessories needed to perfect the ensemble, the team at Crane Brothers offers responses to the most frequently encountered questions concerning black tie attire below.

What if you don’t want to wear a black tuxedo? What other colours are appropriate?

Navy exudes evening elegance and serves as a splendid alternative choice from black for a two-piece tuxedo.

For those inclined towards separates, opting for a cream smoking jacket paired with black trousers exudes a slightly more laid-back yet stylish aura. And for the summer months, in hot weather can be practical as well as polished.

Which rules are non-negotiable when following the black tie dress code?

White tie stands as the utmost formal dress code, and thus it must be treated as absolutely inflexible. This entails a two-piece black tuxedo, a formal dinner shirt, a white bow tie (undoubtedly), and black evening shoes – preferably something like patent oxfords or opera pumps, although smart black calf oxfords or wholecuts can also suffice in a pinch.

In contrast, black tie adheres to a similar code but with a touch of flexibility. While a tuxedo is typically the preferred choice, it need not be exclusively black – midnight navy offers a well-received and slightly more subdued alternative. An independent smoking jacket, whether in wool or velvet, is also deemed appropriate, particularly if the occasion leans towards the more casual side. As the night progresses, both options gain a progressively debonair charm. Complement either with black dinner trousers. Footwear guidelines parallel those of white tie, yet a stylish velvet slipper or black loafer might be suitably employed with discretion.

What black tie accessories do you recommend?

Crane Brothers emphasise the importance of selecting the right bow tie. Avoid pre-tied versions favoured by novices; opt for a self-tie bow tie. They possess an inherent elegance and allow you to showcase your keen sense of style to fellow party attendees. Should you lack the skill to tie one yourself (while certainly worth learning, it’s not always feasible), a Crane Brothers bow tie offers the option of being tied and then discreetly unclipped for easy re-wearing, leaving others none the wiser.

Regarding additional accessories, investing in a high-quality white pocket square is a prudent choice. Simonnot Godard’s reputation for excellence in this area is well-deserved. Suspenders can elevate your ensemble’s elegance, with button-on attachments being more refined than clips. Remember, never pair a belt with this attire. A cummerbund, although not obligatory, serves as a more traditional accessory that imparts an extra touch of sophistication to your outfit. This is particularly advisable for occasions leaning towards the formal end of the spectrum.

How does black tie differ in summer and winter?

When it comes to the so-called “rules,” or rather, guidelines, the distinction is rather fluid. Separates inherently lean less formal than a complete tuxedo ensemble, yet they can be a suitable choice for a summer gathering. It’s worth considering the fabric, too – materials like velvet or the weightier tuxedo cloths can leave you feeling uncomfortably warm on a hot evening. And they can look too heavy for summer evenings.

The majority of weddings occur during the height of summer in New Zealand and Australia, underscoring the significance of selecting fabrics that ensure both aesthetic appeal and comfort. At Crane Brothers, their wedding collection is meticulously crafted to feature lightweight and breathable materials such as wool and mohair. These options offer exquisite drape without the burden of excessive heat. Should the ceremony adopt a more informal or beach-inspired ambience, consider linen as a chic and laid-back alternative. Linen not only exudes a relaxed charm but also ensures you remain cool and at ease throughout the event.

Visit Crane Brothers online or follow @cranebrothers on Instagram to browse their carefully curated selection of clothing, footwear and accessories. The menswear atelier also offers a made-to-measure service.