Contemporary Shoes, Accessories, and Outerwear

Contemporary Footwear, Accessories, Outerwear

Green cotton velvet slippers as an example of a black tie option for your home

Footwear

The Rules:

  • black patent or highly polished leather oxfords  (most popular)
  • black patent or highly polished leather pumps (most traditional)
  • black silk or fine fabric hose, over-the-calf length

Simplicity, shine, and shapeliness remains the benchmarks of formal footwear.  Any contemporary style of formal lace-up will be compatible with a dinner suit provided that it is free of decoration, highly polished and has a svelte silhouette.  Styles with thick soles, monk straps or wide, square toes are incongruous with formal wear’s refined minimalism.

Contemporary Slipper style on the left with higher vamp and classic, correct opera pump with deep cut vamp on the right

Contemporary Slipper style on the left with higher vamp and classic, correct opera pumps with deep cut vamp on the right

Contemporary versions of pumps are often styled as slip-ons due to their more masculine nature. Although they usually have a slightly thicker sole than a pump and a longer vamp (the piece that covers the top of the foot), the use of patent leather or grosgrain accents maintains a high level of formality.

Velvet Albert slippers can be an alternative choice for contemporary or slightly less formal Black Tie ensembles.

Eddie Remayne in black velvet dinner jacket with black velvet slippers but no cummerbund or vest

Eddie Remayne in black velvet dinner jacket with black velvet slippers but no cummerbund or vest

Pocket Square (Optional)

The Rules:

Silk pocket squares have become increasingly popular since the 1990s although traditionalists find that their comparative lack of body and excess of shininess make them inferior alternatives. Regardless of the choice of fabric, the decorative touch of a pocket square is more welcome than ever now that boutonnieres are rarely seen outside of a wedding, unless you get the ones from Fort Belvedere which upgrade any black tie ensemble. For suggestions on using your handkerchief to add a tasteful touch of color, see Contemporary Alternatives.

A trenchcoat is not a proper companion for a black tie ensemble

A trenchcoat is not a proper companion for a black tie ensemble

Outerwear

The Rules:

  • the paletot overcoat is most conventional but any other dark dressy coat is acceptable; rain (trench) coats are not appropriate

As long as you choose a dressy coat, the type doesn’t really matter.  What’s critical is that you do not ruin all the time and effort you put into your black tie ensemble by wrapping it in a crumpled trench coat or a puffed-up ski parka or duffle coat.

(Not So) Well Suited:
X Faux Formal Shoes

square toed shoe

square toed shoe

Thick heels and square toes make many styles of budget formal shoes inappropriate for sophisticated occasions. Being constructed of vinyl doesn’t do much for their suitability either.

Summary
Article Name
Contemporary Shoes, Accessories, and Outerwear
Description
Learn all about contemporary black tie footwear and outerwear, what not to wear and mistakes to avoid, including slippers, trenchcoat and more.
Author
Publisher
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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