Let’s start by setting a couple of ground rules. What follows is no ordinary eveningwear style guide. You see, we understand that as a loyal New & Lingwood customer you’re an individual of perspicacity, discernment and impeccable taste, so it stands to reason that you’ll be familiar with the founding tenants of a Black Tie style guide. Instead, we’re going to share some pointers on how to give a polished Black Tie ensemble those few finishing touches that will have you standing out from the black-and-white crowd at your next formal soirée.

First things first; we all know that a plethora of rules underpin Black Tie, and these can be tricky to negotiate. The key is to understand which rules to adhere to today, and which you can get away with breaking. Once you’ve understood the fundamentals of a black dinner suit cut with peaked lapels or shawl collar, a white Ritz wing collar or Marcella cotton dress shirt, silk bow tie and patent dress shoes (all of which we’re proud to make to the highest standards, of course), it can be tricky to know where to go next.


Well, silk evening scarves are an easy place to start. Traditionally, an evening scarf in ivory or plain black spun silk was worn by gentlemen with their evening coats, to shield them from the elements in open topped carriages en route to whatever high society shin-dig they happened to be jollying-it-up at. These days, men tend not to consider evening scarves, but we think this is a mistake; they are one of the simplest ways to stand out. To prove the point, this season we’ve styled our classic barathea dinner suits (we make two barathea dinner jackets – one with peaked lapels and the other with a shawl collar) with a hot pink spotted silk evening scarf and a black and yellow silk spotted scarf respectively. Like all our silk accessories, these are delicately hand-screened in Italy and finished with hand-knotted silk tassels.

Now, let’s talk about velvet. If a classic black wool dinner suit doesn’t do it for you, a velvet smoking jacket is the next natural choice. The modern velvet dinner jacket has its origins in the Victorian smoking jacket, worn after dinner to protect your clothes from the smell of a post-scoff cigar or two. Thankfully, you needn’t take up smoking to wear one these days; our Camerton evening jacket is cut in handsome midnight blue velvet, woven in Italy and trimmed with de rigeur black silk grosgrain lapels and buttons. It is understated and contemporary, while retaining the stature of a smoking jacket of old. Moreover, a piece like this merits relatively understated styling; keep the rest of your look suitably simple with a white pleated dress shirt, plain black bowtie and cummerbund.


That said, if you really want to push the boat out, tartan trousers are another appropriate choice for eveningwear, and give an otherwise conservative look an instant lift. Try our dark forest green, tan and navy blue Forde tartan trousers with a navy velvet jacket, and our beige Tranby trousers with a classic black Barathea dinner jacket. And no, you don’t need to be a clansman to wear these; we take care to cut our trews from ‘generic’ tartans, which aren’t affiliated with any particular Scottish clans – this season’s wool tartans are actually woven in Italy.


Then of course, we come to our pièce de résistance, the New & Lingwood Opera Cape. There’s simply no better way to make an entrance. As the name suggests, traditionally, capes like these were worn by gentlemen attending the opera, and ours is authentically cut and made in Veneto, Italy, from wool and cashmere melton that is cut on the bias and hand-hemmed for a superior drape. And, if you’re going to dress the part, you may as well finish your Black Tie rig with a pair of patent leather Opera Pumps, which are a classical alternative to formal patent dress shoes, first popularised in the Regency period, and still a keen choice among fashionistas today.

Photo by Jamie Ferguson

Whichever path to sartorial enlightenment you choose to tread; whether silk scarves, velvet smoking jackets, tartan trews or operatic accoutrements, one thing’s for sure. You can trust in New & Lingwood to ensure that you won’t put a foot wrong this season.