Originally Posted by JLibourel
^Yes, really. According Storey, the dinner jacket was most commonly worn with a white tie in the pre-WWI era, but by the 1920s it had been pretty well supplanted by the black bowtie.
So, there is excellent historical precent for wearing a white bowtie with a DJ although it might be considered somewhat "reactionary" these days. However, I am sure that a nice conservative like you, Manton, wouldn't necessarily equate "reactionary" with "wrong" or "bad." Besides, if as hip and contemporary a figure as the current POTUS chooses to wear a white tie with a DJ how "reactionary" can it be? I have heard Obama called a lot of things in recent years, but "reactionary" isn't one of them.
Well, I was not aware that the DJ was commonly worn at all in the pre-WWI era. That was a time when tails ruled.
However, the real question here is what rules prevail at a given time. Originally tails were worn with black waistcoats. Every picture and illustration you see from the Gilded Age shows this. By the Edwardian Era, a white waistcoat was the rule.
So, you can say that, essentially, since it happened once however long ago, it's correct forever. But that's clearly wrong, it seems to me. Styles evolve. Otherwise (say) the blue coat with gold buttons and buff leggings of the Regency would still be "correct" for evening, which would be absurd.
The style of correct formal wear has changed little since the 1930s. One change in the UK would be that it's considered incorrect there now to wear a wing collar with black tie (it wasn't in the '30s) but it's still OK here.
However, I don't expect the styles to change any further simply because there is no longer any interest in them. Rather than evolve more, men's formal wear will simply die.
And if you think Obama wore what he wore out of conviction rather than ignorance, all I can say is