Learn to tie a bow-tie. There really is no excuse: you can tie your shoelaces, and a bow-tie knot is really little different, it’s just you’re doing it in the mirror. Practice by sitting down and tying it round your thigh with the same bow as you’d use for your shoelaces. A clip-on tie is simply a signal of lack of effort, lack of style and lack of class. Don’t go there.
Fold that collar down. Wearing a wing-collar with black tie is bad; doing so with a clip on bow is a surefire way to look an absolute doofus. Wing-collar shirts had a bit of a moment a decade ago, but that was an aberration. They’re for white tie and tales, so leave them at that.
Don’t hire. Tuxedos from hire shops are the pits. Especially the pits of the jackets themselves, given they’re synthetic garments worn on the dancefloors of dozens of parties and weddings before you put it on. You want to look your most stylish at a black tie party, so it’s hardly the time to don something that sags and billows in only the way a hired suit can.
Remember your shoes. Bad or wrong shoes will ruin the effect. Polished those oxfords, and wear dark socks.