Completing the Kit

I love dressing in black tie for many reasons, but mostly because it allows me to take my obsession with men’s clothing to the next level. I love the rules, the order, the importance of every detail. And although “Black Tie Season” may be over for many, but it’s just getting started for me; my tux has sat unused in storage for over six months, but it will start to see some regular use in the coming seasons. For that reason, I’ve been relishing the opportunity to slowly and purposefully make small additions to my black tie kit. And it’s getting pretty good, if I do say so myself.

The most important part of any black tie kit is the tuxedo, of course, but since I took care of that last year it was time to hone in on the details. You can read my article here if you’d like an in-depth review of SuitSupply’s classic tuxedo. In short, it’s the best option out there at its price. As for the other components:

Alfred Sargent Armfields. This is the newest pair of shoes in my stable, and you can read more about them here. I gave the toe caps a higher shine with some Saphir products and a bit of patience. In theory, a plaintoe style would be more appropriate for black tie, but I think a well-shined pair of captoes is a great substitute (and looks better in situations outside of black tie).

Proper Cloth tuxedo shirt. My favorite custom shirting company came through again with this great tux shirt. They have several classic styles to choose from, and I went with the pleated front option. This one is made with Greenwich white broadcloth, an impressive fabric that I’ve used on several shirts. It also features their new Roma spread collar. You can read more about my experiences with Proper Cloth here.

Vintage sterling/onyx cufflinks and studs. I knew I wanted a set of classic studs and links for my rig, and it wasn’t to hard to find them on the secondhand market. These ones are a few decades old, and have aged beautifully; I picked them up on ebay for about $25.

Aspinal of London card case. I love my Chester Mox wallet dearly, but the beautiful saffron museum calf stands out too much in a black tie kit. This one is jet black calf with a red suede lining; I got it several years ago (when the price was much lower) and pull it out every now and again when I want something more subtle.

Kent Wang Bauhaus watch. Now, black tie purists would say that you shouldn’t wear a watch with a tuxedo (and they’d be right). That said, it’s common practice these days and I think it’s much preferable to pulling out a smartphone to check the time. Kent just released this new version of his popular Bauhaus watch; besides the new black dial, it features an upgraded Miyota movement and applied metal markers. The bare-bones design and low-contrast face make it an ideal black tie watch (if such a thing exists). We’ve sold Kent’s Bauhaus on Massdrop a couple of times, so I’m borrowing this one from our sample library.

The Tie Bar grosgrain bowtie. There are expensive, fancy bow ties out there, but for under 20 bucks this one hits all the right notes. It matches the grosgrain trim on my tux, has a good shape, and is wide enough to have a good presence on the neck. There are nicer options, but for a tie I’ll wear 2-3 times per year it’s perfect. You can also find it in a diamond shape if that’s more your thing.

Kent Wang white linen pocket square. Simple, classic. Hard to go wrong with this one.

So, what’s next? Well, I have yet to experiment with waist coverings (vests, cummerbunds, etc) so I might take a look into those. And although I sometimes use suspenders with my black tie rig, I suppose they should be upgraded to black silk ones at some point. But outside of that, things are coming together. Now I just need tickets to a black tie event (and a date to go with me) and I should be good to go.