- Getty/Ian Gavan
It’s a subject that’s given some considerable debate among men and those who dress them: Should a man wear a watch while wearing a tuxedo?
The old timeworn adage is that a man attending a black tie event – be it a cocktail hour, wedding, or other social event – shouldn’t be constantly checking the time. Instead, he should be in the moment, talking and socializing without worrying about what hour it is.
Another version of this story says that it’s actually rude to the party’s hosts to have a watch on, as it could signify that you have somewhere else to be.
Still another reason detractors claim is that wearing a watch with a tuxedo just “doesn’t look right” or “it just isn’t done.”
Whichever one of these you follow, we can admit that the rule is quite antiquated. You may be leaving your timepiece at home, but you’re taking your phone – which, obviously, tells the time. If you take your phone, does that mean you’re waiting for someone to call and text you so you can leave the black tie party? No, of course not.
Today, no one wears a watch because they need to know the time. They wear a watch because it’s the only piece of jewelry a man can get away with wearing. They’re looking to add a bit of individuality to their outfit. (Can you blame them? Most black tie get-ups look pretty similar.)
Even author Alan Flossier, who wrote the classic style bible “Dressing the Man: Mastering the Art of Permanent Fashion,” which many refer to as one of the most important guides to dressing men, only notes that “if you choose to wear a wristwatch, remember that the thinner the watch, the more tasteful it is. Black bands are recommended.”
Today, black tie dressing rules seem to be flying out the window faster than thought possible. This isn’t the tradition anthill to die on, however. There are more pressing issues to tackle – like that of the non-bow tie tuxedo, which makes us positively shudder.
If you’d like to wear a watch with your tuxedo, we support and encourage you to do so. It’s a chance to actually wear your nicest, dressiest watch.
If you don’t – well, while we don’t understand it, we respect your decision.