The black tie dress code is a style of formal dress that has been around for centuries. With that kind of track record, it’s hard not to rack up a few rules, right? Well, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a short list of “commandments” to help you get on track. Whether you’re a stickler for details or you’re determined to go rogue, it’s always nice to know what’s what.

circle_1 Thou shalt not swim in thine clothing. Find thyself a tailor for alterations.
circle_2 Thou shalt always button the middle button, sometimes the top button, and ne’er the bottom button on thine jacket.
circle_3 Thou shalt not adhere to a specific style of vent, although a double vent renders itself trendy and flattering.
circle_4 Thou shalt find better salvation in bowties, especially with tuxedos. Longer ties are also permitted for thee, however, when the occasion is appropriate.
circle_5 Thou shalt button every button on thine shirt, including thine forearm and collar buttons.
circle_6 Thou shalt realize that matching the metal in the cufflinks, belt buckle and shoe buckles is not required, but applauded and rewarded.
circle_7 Thou shalt ne’er covet suspenders and a belt at the same time.
circle_8 Thou shalt always pair a black belt with black shoes and a brown belt with brown shoes. To mix and match is a sin.
circle_9 Thou shalt not wear square-toed shoes, for they are an abomination.
circle_10 Thou shalt always wear socks, and they shalt ne’er be white.

Photo: ☺ Lee J Haywood/Flickr