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Dress Code Guide Tips


"Carlton Suit Hire delivers you Suits and Accessories for all occasions"

Black Tie?
Not sure what you should wear to an event that you are attending?

Never fear. Carlton Suit Hire is here. 

Follow our simple guide and you'll be sure to turn up to your event in the correct attire.

Ever wondered when the Tuxedo was first worn? The section below provides answers to all of your 'black tie' history questions. 

You can book your suit by phone or email. Just refer to the Measurement section, select the items that you wish to hire and drop us a line.

When to Wear What Tips












Many invitations state the degree of formality expected of those attending an event. The following is a simple guide to common 'dress codes', and is intended to help attendees determine what they should wear to a particular event.

Black Tie - The most common dress code, 'black tie' can itself be qualified further:

  • 'Black Tie Optional' - This is generally the least formal of formal events and is sometimes called 'Black Tie Invited'. Wearing a Dinner Suit is appropriate but not mandatory. Men will attend in Dinner Suits but dark business suits will also be prominent.
  • 'Black Tie Preferred' - This is more formal than Black Tie Optional. Wearing a Dinner Suit is not mandatory but is definitely preferred. One can wear a dark suit but the majority of attendees will be wearing a Dinner Suit.
  • 'Black Tie' - Dinner Suits are not optional - one must be worn. Classic 'Black Tie' comprises of a black Dinner Suit, white wing-collar shirt, black bow-tie, and black cummerbund. The bow-tie does not have to be black, it can be as extravagant as you dare - but should match the colour of cummerbund being worn.

    If attending a wedding as a guest where 'Black Tie' is required it is prudent to wear classic 'Black Tie'. This is in order to avoid any clashes with what the groom and groomsmen may be wearing, and so as not to upstage the bridal party.

White Tie - This is the most formal of formal events. Evening Tails must be worn, with a white waistcoat, white wing-collar shirt and white or black bow tie. 'White Tie' is rarely stipulated but is the standard when attending occasions of State.

Tips - It is now more commonly accepted for those attending formal occasions to be more expressive in the items that they wear. One can wear waistcoats and different style ties to most events. As long as one adheres to the minimum standard of dress required there should not be a problem.

If unsure of what the dress code is to a particular event, contact the event organiser. It is better to check than guess and turn up in an inappropriate outfit!

Origin of Formal Wear















A brief history...

The 'Dinner Suit' has only existed as an option of formal attire since the late 19th century. Prior to this time the traditional mode of formal wear was a suit which included a jacket with tail coat.

As with most inventions, some dispute surrounds the exact person or persons who conceived of the idea in the first place and the methods by which the item became 'fashionable'. The 'Dinner Suit' is no exception to this rule. The following account is the most commonly accepted 'history' of the Dinner Suit.

The original Dinner Suit was designed by or for King Edward VII when he was still Prince of Wales, and was first worn by him at dinner aboard his yacht in Cowes. This suit was simply a traditional tail coat which had had the tails removed.

The concept of the Dinner Suit only rose to prominence following it's debut in America. In 1896, Pierre Lorillard IV designed several coats that he intended to wear to  a ball. Pierre wanted to wear something less formal than the traditional dress of the time - black tails with black tie. The coats were black but without tails and were shaped like the red jackets that were then worn for fox hunting. This decision can be seen as an attempt to rebel against the influence of the British upper class - who were influential in setting standards of dress and behaviour during this period.

The Lorillard family were tobacco magnates and owned land in a town called Tuxedo Park,  approximately 40 miles north of Manhattan. Pierre Lorillard was due to attend the 1896 Autumn Ball of Tuxedo Park. The coats were custom-made by a local tailor but Pierre backed down from wearing the revolutionary garments on the night of the ball.

However, Griswold Lorillard, Pierre's son, and his friends did wear the new jackets to the ball. The high social status of the young men wearing the new style jackets resulted in the design being imitated and accepted - and not condemned as Pierre had feared.

Consequently, and naturally enough, the new style jacket became known as the 'Tuxedo'. The use of the term 'Tuxedo' (or 'tux') is largely confined to America, with 'Dinner Jacket' or 'Dinner Suit' now being the most common form of description.

The style of the Dinner Suit has essentially remained the same over the years, with changes largely being confined to the design of the lapels and the number of buttons on the jacket. The bow tie did not become popular until the 1920s and the cummerbund was only later introduced following British governance of India (from the Hindu 'kamarband').

Measurements Required  


Carlton Suit Hire understands that you may be unable to visit us in person prior to collecting your suit. This is not a problem. Simply provide us with the following measurements and the names of the items that you wish to hire.

Measurement Diagram - Refer to the Measurement Diagram below if unsure of where/how to obtain the necessary measurements.

(Please give measurements in cm's)

  • Chest
  • Waist
  • Neck
  • Inside Leg
  • Height
  • Arm Length

Please also provide us with any other information that you feel is relevant.

To confirm your booking please phone or email us. We will advise of availability and the exact pick up time of the hired items.


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