Black tie is a dress that originated in 19th-century British and American dress codes. Presenting yourself in a swell suit and tie or a one-of-a-kind gown, at the right occasion of course, somehow screams elegant, posh, elite, regal – even if you are just a Cinderella who was lucky to have a magical fairy godmother.
You have seen how celebrities are treated on the red carpet. Black-tie is a dress code that embodies formality. It shows the grandeur of the event you are attending and it calls for a certain demeanor that our everyday t-shirt and sweats can never uphold.
Let’s look at the classic example of casinos. We see it in movies all the time – can you picture James Bond any other way than in a sleek form-fitting black number? The idea behind the black-tie dress code in casinos was to create an atmosphere of luxury and opulence so players feel confident and relaxed as they play the different games.
Black Tie in Africa
In Africa, we have different occasions that call for black-tie dress including the opera, ballet concerts, state dinners, balls, galas, award ceremonies and those classy weddings.
Men wear black suits with African print bowties or pocket squares that match their partner’s dress, or put on a whole matching jacket.
Ladies experiment with different prints and colours, but you’ll mostly find Ankara (batik inspired wax-print) dresses. Our culture is not as strict as the British or American style, so a simple flattering dress from retailers like Ackermans or Jet will work just as well if paired with the right shoes and jewellery.
Most ladies prefer accessories that range from classy head-gear to chunky beads and bracelets mostly resembling cultural dress.