Contemporary Footwear, Accessories, Outerwear





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 remain 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 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. 



Pocket Square (Optional)


The Rules: white silk or linen handkerchief

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.  For suggestions on using your handkerchief to add a tasteful touch of color, see Contemporary Alternatives




The Rules:
chesterfield coat 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.