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The State of Black Tie: Your Observations - Page 11

post #151 of 3406
While we're on formalwear talk, what's the go-to with pants. Pleats? No pleats? Cuff? Plain Bottom?

Also, what's the deal with formal jackets without matching pants? Smoking jackets? How and what do you wear them with and what for?
post #152 of 3406
I realise this is a Black Tie thread but on a related note -

I quite understand, and agree with, the many posters here who hold Black Tie traditions, conventions and standards in high regard, and who lament the apparent fading of such classic dress in modern times.

However, I find it outright peculiar that on the other hand you simply don't hear such protestations on virtually any other fading or faded sartorial category with a traditional and practical grounding equaling Black Tie.

A pair of prime examples would be classic hats or ascots/cravats, in fact these two particular examples are just as steeped in historical importance, yet when brought up they frequently receive contempt and vitriol instead of the praise Black Tie is almost universally (within iGent circles) granted.

I don't want to hijack this into an ascot/hat discussion as there are plenty of them around already, I simply find it strange the selectiveness of what is considered classical, practical, stylish AND worth saving from history and heritage in the general forum consensus.
post #153 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by run23 View Post

The "no notch lapel" rule always amused me. It's one of those rules that some obsessive self-appointed style maven made up at some point and then has been repeated ad-nauseum like it's some sort of black tie decree from god. I prefer peaks, but notches are fine in an otherwise well-put-together tux.

279

David, notch; Winthrop, notch; John D. III, DB peak; Nelson, SB peak; Laurance, shawl.
post #154 of 3406
I remember in the 80's being told that notch-lapeled tuxes weren't ideal. No idea whom by. Maybe my sister.

I agree w/ the OP that standards are lower.
post #155 of 3406
51254_04.jpg
Edited by F. Corbera - 11/24/11 at 8:41pm
post #156 of 3406


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spong View Post

I realise this is a Black Tie thread but on a related note -

I quite understand, and agree with, the many posters here who hold Black Tie traditions, conventions and standards in high regard, and who lament the apparent fading of such classic dress in modern times.

However, I find it outright peculiar that on the other hand you simply don't hear such protestations on virtually any other fading or faded sartorial category with a traditional and practical grounding equaling Black Tie.

A pair of prime examples would be classic hats or ascots/cravats, in fact these two particular examples are just as steeped in historical importance, yet when brought up they frequently receive contempt and vitriol instead of the praise Black Tie is almost universally (within iGent circles) granted.

I don't want to hijack this into an ascot/hat discussion as there are plenty of them around already, I simply find it strange the selectiveness of what is considered classical, practical, stylish AND worth saving from history and heritage in the general forum consensus.


I think it's easy to figure out - and understand - the roots of the difference: black tie events, via the enforced dress code, socially permit the eccentricity of wearing of anachronistic items like Black Tie. However, the context of wearing Black Tie these days is socially completely different to the role in had before. It's no longer night-time formalwear; it's a party costume. Another example is wearing morning dress to a wedding: common enough, so the costume retains a certain modern social acceptability. But only within that context. You wouldn't wear it to work instead of a suit. These formal dress codes have become costume dress instead, and they're only acceptable when worn to an appropriate costume event. Sad maybe, but true.

 

Wearing anachronistic clothes items in normal daily life also has a costume effect; many dislike being thought of as wearing a costume. Myself, I don't mind that tag (in moderation anyway; or rather, I want people to think it's an stylish costume), so I do occasionally wear anachronistic items. But not everyone has a lifestyle that permits that flexibility, and more would probably not want to project that image in the first place. How can it be judged what is anachronistic and what is not? No hard & fast rule; it's based simply on what the average person in your intended circle of contacts thinks.

post #157 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post


Black tie is not about you. It's about others. It is not you, as an individual, who represents elegance. It is the event itself that embodies the festive side of elegant dress. Everyone...at least, in a sartorial sense...takes part as equals (or as close as one can get when it comes to clothes) in a black tie (or white tie) occasion. It is that very inclusiveness of everyone being "in" on dressing for the evening that lends itself to convivial social interaction: more simply put, fun. The potential fact that you, personally, might look good is quite secondary.

I have joked that unlike women who are panicked when they see another woman wearing the same dress, I am the opposite. I get panicked when I'm not dressed like all the other men! Also, I have thought the man is for contrast - he should dress so that the woman stands out. (N.B. this is in the context of relatively formal gala or other fete type events)

My understanding from the teleological prospective is that Beau Brummell, changed the peacocking of court dress to a serious more military style. Conservative men's style has been on that same track since.
post #158 of 3406
Well stated, FC - I appreciate your input. I am certainly one of those who does NOT have a native fluency in black tie. As I said in my first post in this thread, I've never worn black tie, and I may never wear black tie. And this saddens me, because I feel like the elegant evenings you describe are a valuable and stylish thing in a man's life. My suggestions to try and bring about a renaissance of black tie stem not from a desire to look better than everyone else, but to encourage a proliferation of the social atmosphere that you eloquently describe. And, to the extent that this is possible, it seems right that the originators of such a movement would want to propose as stylish an evening as possible, not to set rules of exclusion, but elevate the events they create. As I said before, I would never think less of anyone who was wearing notch lapels or flap pockets. Especially if they were an otherwise invigorating party participant.
post #159 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

With two or three exceptions, no one posting in this thread seems to have any native feeling for black tie (or any tie, for that matter.) In a way, the tenor of the chatting is symbolic of the decapitated nature of the Mens Clothing forum today, which in turn, simply mirrors the decline in the role of tailored clothing in everyday life. So be it.

Black tie is not about you. It's about others. It is not you, as an individual, who represents elegance. It is the event itself that embodies the festive side of elegant dress. Everyone...at least, in a sartorial sense...takes part as equals (or as close as one can get when it comes to clothes) in a black tie (or white tie) occasion. It is that very inclusiveness of everyone being "in" on dressing for the evening that lends itself to convivial social interaction: more simply put, fun. The potential fact that you, personally, might look good is quite secondary.

Exclusivity might very well characterize the event itself, either in the innocent form of being only for familiars or in the possibly politically incorrect cases of an occasion demarcated by class. That exclusivity, however, is ideally left at the door. You enter, you meet friends, and strangers become friends. That's black tie.


You wrote your post at the same time I was writing mine, and there's a lot I agree with in it and tangentially echoed (from a different angle, admittedly) in my preceding post.

 

However, I do think you're heavily romanticising the role & meaning of historical Black Tie in this quoted excerpt from that longer post of yours. Black Tie was simply a semi-formal dress code used for dinners between people from a certain class. Uniformity was not desired in order to create equality, but rather to define the boundaries of the event (i.e. "it's dinnertime, and this is what we do at dinnertime"). Remember, this was a dress code that at one point was adhered to even within the privacy of one's own home in certain circles, more worn out of a sense of obligation, duty and routine rather than with the aim of fun or inclusiveness. Now, it DID become what you're talking about, but only, I'd suggest from (roughly) the '60s onwards as people latched on to the idea of (to use your phrase) a festive elegant dress code to distinguish the gradually increasing informality and variation in the rest of their dress.

 

Nowadays, it is largely an instruction to follow a specific costume party theme (which, incidentally is what positively encourages greater deviation from the standard, and gives room for personal expression. After all, if it's just a costume, you can riff on it how you like and it means nothing). I will leave it to others to debate whether this is a good or bad change (actually, I'm pretty agnostic on that issue. I'm not sure whether having worn black tie fairly frequently makes me more or less likely to side for or against, actually).

post #160 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

What Vox said (Click to show)
Sigh.
This subject is dear to me, so I'll say something about it.
With two or three exceptions, no one posting in this thread seems to have any native feeling for black tie (or any tie, for that matter.) In a way, the tenor of the chatting is symbolic of the decapitated nature of the Mens Clothing forum today, which in turn, simply mirrors the decline in the role of tailored clothing in everyday life. So be it.
Black tie is not about you. It's about others. It is not you, as an individual, who represents elegance. It is the event itself that embodies the festive side of elegant dress. Everyone...at least, in a sartorial sense...takes part as equals (or as close as one can get when it comes to clothes) in a black tie (or white tie) occasion. It is that very inclusiveness of everyone being "in" on dressing for the evening that lends itself to convivial social interaction: more simply put, fun. The potential fact that you, personally, might look good is quite secondary.
Exclusivity might very well characterize the event itself, either in the innocent form of being only for familiars or in the possibly politically incorrect cases of an occasion demarcated by class. That exclusivity, however, is ideally left at the door. You enter, you meet friends, and strangers become friends. That's black tie.
The phenomena is not limited to formal or semi-formal dress, of course. Which is why you cannot be that guy who wears black tie to an event at which few others, or God help you, none, do. As an avid reader of all the books, or as a formidable interlocutor on online forums, or careful parser of other's posts, or ace underwear typist, you might bristle at the notch or the flapped pocket. You might squeak at that derby-shod foot. You might cry in horror at that attached wing collar. That is all well and good. The odds are, I think, that you will never get to use your clever, clever knowledge in any useful way.
Tell me I'm wrong.
Foo was bound, I think, as Maid of Honor to dress more classicly than the other members of the party. If he had attended his event not in that role, given his description of its partiers, black tie would have been pushing good taste (notwithstanding the cummerbund with the DB.)
Similarly, for all of the hootin' and hollerin' by the occasional Euro about only morning dress being correct for day weddings (well, they're right in a way), few are the weddings even in deepest Europe (cuckoo! cuckoo!) where all members of the occasion dress so. When the form of dress is not pervasive at the event, the dress of the greatest formality is oft only a kind of sad costume. I don't care how natty you are: you're off, particularly if you cause discomfort or wonder for other people at the event.
So, that's it. If you like it and have lucked out with a location or life among other men with the same feeling, opportunity, understanding, and means, great! Enjoy black tie while you can. I'm trying to.
If not, what is your point? Self-expression? Historical re-enactment?
Let me hand you a peacock feather.
Some of you will already see that this has applications to pretty much everything else on the MC forum.


Saving for later... carry on.
post #161 of 3406
bow+ties.jpg
Edited by F. Corbera - 11/24/11 at 8:40pm
post #162 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post

Sigh.
This subject is dear to me, so I'll say something about it.
With two or three exceptions, no one posting in this thread seems to have any native feeling for black tie (or any tie, for that matter.) In a way, the tenor of the chatting is symbolic of the decapitated nature of the Mens Clothing forum today, which in turn, simply mirrors the decline in the role of tailored clothing in everyday life. So be it.
Black tie is not about you. It's about others. It is not you, as an individual, who represents elegance. It is the event itself that embodies the festive side of elegant dress. Everyone...at least, in a sartorial sense...takes part as equals (or as close as one can get when it comes to clothes) in a black tie (or white tie) occasion. It is that very inclusiveness of everyone being "in" on dressing for the evening that lends itself to convivial social interaction: more simply put, fun. The potential fact that you, personally, might look good is quite secondary.
Exclusivity might very well characterize the event itself, either in the innocent form of being only for familiars or in the possibly politically incorrect cases of an occasion demarcated by class. That exclusivity, however, is ideally left at the door. You enter, you meet friends, and strangers become friends. That's black tie.
The phenomena is not limited to formal or semi-formal dress, of course. Which is why you cannot be that guy who wears black tie to an event at which few others, or God help you, none, do. As an avid reader of all the books, or as a formidable interlocutor on online forums, or careful parser of other's posts, or ace underwear typist, you might bristle at the notch or the flapped pocket. You might squeak at that derby-shod foot. You might cry in horror at that attached wing collar. That is all well and good. The odds are, I think, that you will never get to use your clever, clever knowledge in any useful way.
Tell me I'm wrong.
Foo was bound, I think, as Maid of Honor to dress more classicly than the other members of the party. If he had attended his event not in that role, given his description of its partiers, black tie would have been pushing good taste (notwithstanding the cummerbund with the DB.)
Similarly, for all of the hootin' and hollerin' by the occasional Euro about only morning dress being correct for day weddings (well, they're right in a way), few are the weddings even in deepest Europe (cuckoo! cuckoo!) where all members of the occasion dress so. When the form of dress is not pervasive at the event, the dress of the greatest formality is oft only a kind of sad costume. I don't care how natty you are: you're off, particularly if you cause discomfort or wonder for other people at the event.
So, that's it. If you like it and have lucked out with a location or life among other men with the same feeling, opportunity, understanding, and means, great! Enjoy black tie while you can. I'm trying to.
If not, what is your point? Self-expression? Historical re-enactment?
Let me hand you a peacock feather.
Some of you will already see that this has applications to pretty much everything else on the MC forum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post



You wrote your post at the same time I was writing mine, and there's a lot I agree with in it and tangentially echoed (from a different angle, admittedly) in my preceding post.

However, I do think you're heavily romanticising the role & meaning of historical Black Tie in this quoted excerpt from that longer post of yours. Black Tie was simply a semi-formal dress code used for dinners between people from a certain class. Uniformity was not desired in order to create equality, but rather to define the boundaries of the event (i.e. "it's dinnertime, and this is what we do at dinnertime"). Remember, this was a dress code that at one point was adhered to even within the privacy of one's own home in certain circles, more worn out of a sense of obligation, duty and routine rather than with the aim of fun or inclusiveness. Now, it DID become what you're talking about, but only, I'd suggest from (roughly) the '60s onwards as people latched on to the idea of (to use your phrase) a festive elegant dress code to distinguish the gradually increasing informality and variation in the rest of their dress.

Nowadays, it is largely an instruction to follow a specific costume party theme (which, incidentally is what positively encourages greater deviation from the standard, and gives room for personal expression. After all, if it's just a costume, you can riff on it how you like and it means nothing). I will leave it to others to debate whether this is a good or bad change (actually, I'm pretty agnostic on that issue. I'm not sure whether having worn black tie fairly frequently makes me more or less likely to side for or against, actually).

Vox & Holdfast, is it then all about translating occasion into dress? And not the inverse? And hence, what does the decline in formality of dress say about occasions?

Surely dress plays some part? It seems to me that what Holdfast hints at is that perhaps dress, and all that it represents, just isn't as important these days?
post #163 of 3406
I hear lamenting that there is no where to wear black tie. There is if you look for a reason. There are certainly places and times I would not wear a tuxedo. But I live in a small city in Michigan and I wear it several times a year. I wear it to performances of the local orchestra. Rarely, except for some attempts at a formal look for the Christmas concert, is anyone else wearing a tuxedo, but I feel properly dressed. I used to work for a radio station and went to the company Christmas parties in a tux. On New Years Eve I wear one even if I'm going to a local neighborhood bar. And I keep trying to think of other good reasons to wear black tie.

There is a resurgence in formal dressing. Not as big a comeback as business suits in the work world. The biggest indicator I've noticed is the Academy Awards. The seventies started a long period of "I'm going to wear what I want no matter how bad it looks." But in recent years most men at the ceremony have been wearing tuxedos and making an attempt to do it right.

Price is often cited as the reason for black ties demise and the reason individuals give for why they don't wear it. But today with the internet price isn't a factor. My first tuxedo, complete wit all accessories to wear it correctly, cost me $80.00 on Ebay. I had to find all the pieces but it only took a couple of months to find a good deal on everything I needed. Now I have both shawl collar and peak lapel jackets as well as both turn down and wing collar shirts.

Notch lapels have been around since the beginning of the tuxedo but never in great numbers because, as stated before, shawl collar and peak lapel are more formal looking. So notches aren't wrong. Today purists would say that white waistcoats and top hats are too formal for the tuxedo. But in the thirties both were seen with black tie at times. Anyone can afford and find reasons to wear black tie if they wish. If anyone wants to learn how black tie developed and guidelines for wearing it look at the earlier linked Black Tie Guide.
post #164 of 3406
21779_952.jpg
Edited by F. Corbera - 11/24/11 at 8:38pm
post #165 of 3406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicio View Post

Besides money, I think the big obstacles are 1) lack of knowledge and role models; and 2) the difficulty of buying decent formal attire, even when one has good intentions. Its just not that easy to find in the US.

Don't Brooks Brothers do a complete range of black-tie outfits and accessories(including pumps)? I know my father needed a tux for a cruise a few years back, Think he just went to the local Marks & Spencer for it, as he didn't want to spend too much on something that was only going to get used for a couple of weeks.
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