How 8 Debonair Gents Modernise Their Classic Black Tie Looks
The classic dinner jacket and black tie has gone through the rigmaroles of changes with the evolution of fashion – it’s not uncommon to see modern interpretations by high profile men at formal functions.
While it might be good to hold fast to certain traditions, when it comes to fashion, your only guide is good taste, as demonstrated by these 8 discerning gentlemen.
PR supremo and man-about-town
Ferhat Nazri-Aziz’s profession and lifestyle calls for him to always look and dress at the top of his game. “We live in a different era where it is permissible to be playful with how one dresses. I love the classic black tie with a gorgeous lapel and my favourites are Giorgio Armani and Tom Ford.” Ferhat says that with more relaxed rules of fashion, men can be more adventurous in formal occasions. “Once I wore a pair of printed flower trousers which I paired with a maroon velvet dinner jacket... I tend to go for more classic looks for the Tatler Ball but who knows? Maybe I’ll spice things up this year!”
CEO, Loob Holding
Taking calculated risks and diving in deep is all in a day’s work for Bryan Loo and the same applies to dressing up. "My sense of style is generally quite bold, so when it comes to dressing for a black-tie formal event, I still want to inject my personality into the classic suit or tuxedo.” This infusion of personality may take the form of a pop of colour or an eye-catching accessory. “One jacket which I like a lot is with a red trimming along the lapel and sleeve edges. I might add something simpler like my favourite Lanvin flower pin instead of a pocket square, or a chain accessory for an edgier vibe."
Head of marketing, Aquaria KLCC
The rule of thumb for Daryl Foong’s formal attire is to complement that of his wife, Melissa, without having to stretch the imagination to fit the description. “I lean toward understatement and less for me is mostly more. It’s a mark of respect to your host to follow the dress code requested.” However, Daryl firmly believes there is room of manoeuvre. “Creative and personal expressions are welcome, and accessories are a great way to add details to the classic black tie. Your pocket square can also add a nice spot of colour and if you are already sporting something flashy, it can pull the whole look together by matching it with your bow tie or cummerbund. Alternatively, you can wear colourful socks or a patterned jacket lining which shows your personality.”
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Group executive director, Bonia Corp
Being in the fashion business has definitely put Daniel Chiang on the style map and an edge over the rest. “I would consider wearing a coloured bow tie or a patterned vest, to add some interest to my formal attire but only a light touch and nothing too fancy,” he shares, adding the importance of accoutrements to accompany the black tie. “I think it is important to wear accessories such as cufflinks and shirt studs as they make the occasion more symbolic and meaningful for me…. I like them in gold trim.”
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When it comes to formalwear, this well-groomed gent favours velvet dinner jackets instead of traditional black ones. When the fancy takes him, Aliff has no qualms donning a printed jacket. When he goes the classic route, he will add a little flourish like a waistcoat or vest. Favouring designers like Lanvin, Tom Ford, Saint Laurent and Hackett, don’t be surprised to see him sporting a rock ’n’ roll look of black on black, bow tie, dinner jacket, trousers and shoes. A roll neck is another option for Aliff to substitute the white dress shirt. Aliff would end with a little bling – usually cuff links – a ring and bracelet in the same shade of gold!
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Real estate director, Menara Group
For a man who lives in the fast lane, Erwin Azizi’s formalwear style can be summed up where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Save for his predilection for coloured bow ties in silver, red, blue and white, his overall look is classy and elegant, veering on the conservative. Erwin expresses an openness to patterned waistcoats to jazz up a visual interest to his black-tie ensemble. And when it comes to footwear, it’s always a pair of tasselled patent slip-on leather shoes and it goes without saying that a Patek Philippe watch a must-have accessory.
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Creative director, Lord’s 1974
Born into the men’s tailoring business, one naturally expects Kenny Loh to possess countless ideas on putting together an impressive formal attire. “A sure fire way to dress up the classic dinner jacket is to have it tailored with a wider shawl collar as it gives a vintage look to the style. I would normally pair that with mohair or wool trousers and dress it up according to the formality of the occasion.” Kenny uses the example of a brocade dinner jacket (pictured above), with its opulent texture and a colour that brings out the handwoven silk details. “Coloured wool and silk jacquard dinner jackets are all the rage now as they are woven in different patterns, lending depth and flair to an otherwise mundane looking jacket, adding fun and creativity to a traditional dinner jacket.”
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This business strategist possesses exacting standards to formal attire. “I like to wear a midnight-blue dinner jacket and matching trousers,” he tells of the original colour of the dinner jacket dating back to 1865 when future King of England, Edward VII commissioned his tailor Henry Poole & Co to make. Patrik also favours Italian tailors, specifically Neapolitan workmanship, for its lighter construction, minimal padding and unlined jackets. “Higher-cut arm holes and wider sleeves greatly improve the wearer’s mobility and comfort,” he tells us adding that it is a nice contradiction to wear something so formal yet comfortable. “You can modernise a black tie but always do it in a classic way…. In the end of the day, you have to show respect to your host and the best way is to adhere to the stated dress code and put some effort into your dressing.”
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