“Black tie optional” is one of the more ambiguous event dress codes, so these invitations can leave you searching through your closet for something that fits the bill. Don’t worry! It’s actually quite simple if you follow this rule of thumb.
At a black tie optional event, you are expected to wear one of two options:
- A classic black tie tux.
- A dark suit.
Although you can wear a tux if you’re so inclined, it really is optional—just as the invitation says. The same suit-and-tie look that you would wear to an important meeting will also work. A gray or navy suit is your best bet, paired with a proper dress shirt (no button-down collars, please).
Add a solid or subtle-patterned tie to keep things on the dressier side. Shoes should be formal and well-polished, as is appropriate for a formal affair. Leave the sneakers at home.