Originally Posted by Holdfast
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.
I agree it is rather a shame though. I will say firstly that, having observed your dress in WAYWRN I wouldn't describe your style as costumey at all, I would frankly expect someone in your profession to dress smartly, but perhaps that is just my conservative view on the world.
It's a subject of great interest to me, in my line of work (tech journalism) there is absolutely no need to dress in classical MC whatsoever - I can happily stroll into work in a t-shirt and jeans and this is indeed the way most people in my workplace dress, at least on the editorial teams.
I tend to wear sport coats, blazers, odd trousers and the occasional waistcoat, complete with pocket squares, ties and sometimes braces, without bothering anyone. I get the occasional comment but it's usually positive or at least in jest and in fact people seem more disappointed when I 'go casual' sometimes.
As much as I'd like to I'm not sure I'd add cravats or hats to the mix as that may be a step too far, but the reasoning behind it is the same - this is a style of dress I feel looks good and suits me better than jeans and a t-shirt. To me it is no more pretentious than people who carefully style themselves as a Goth or some other aesthetic and personal style which represents them.
What I think is most interesting is how friends and colleagues sometimes talk about the desire to 'dress up' occasionally. In fact, mentioning Black Tie got some people in a bit of a flutter about how much they'd relish the excuse. I think it's one of those things which has a lot of public support generally, but in a very quiet fashion - people have a desire to do it but no real opportunity to pursue it without appearing peculiar in their view. I have heard much the same regarding classic hats - many men allegedly want to revive them but feel they could only do so if they saw more men walking around in trilbies on a regular basis (and not the trendy douchebag kind).