The State of Black Tie: Your Observations - Page 175
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No, he meant what he said: the traits of black tie established in the 1930s and 40s remain the gold standard. They look as good on an 18-year-old today as on an 80-year-old; you can hardly look at Bradley Cooper on the red carpet in his timeless tuxedo and claim that he looks like an old fogey. The fact of the matter is that no invention since that time - with the possible exception of the fly-front formal shirt - has matched, yet alone improved upon, the classic style's ability to make a man look his best. Yes, change is inevitable but the past 70 years of change suggests that black tie may be the exception to the rule of perfection being unattainable in dress.
Do any of you think that the state of black tie will continue to evolve? Meaning, that what most of us here consider the proper black tie may or will eventually change in years to come. There are many ways to assemble a proper black tie attire but we know it didn't begin with all those options at its conception (cummerbund or vest, black or midnight navy, etc.) The attire is a derivative of the white tie for semi formal events and now, in most cases, has replaced white tie as the equivalent of formal.
Will we eventually see the lack of waist coverings, two button jacket configuration, etc. taking over to what we currently consider as proper black tie?
One of the cultural trends that you see everywhere, not just fashion, is a desire for authenticity and a reaction against the "pre-packaged" and mass-marketed. The rise of small-batch whiskeys, micro-brews, "real versions" of imported foods (think of how much easier it is today to find imported block parmigiano with the stamp than it was ten years ago), shaving with double-edged safety razors, people insisting on the proper use of "literally" all attest to this trend. Of course Jim Beam, Budweiser, Kraft grated cardboard, Gillette 15-blade cartridges and phrases like "Tiger Woods will literally battle the ghosts of the past" still predominate, but in many circles they're signs of a lack in taste. The reason that certain styles are marketed as "classic" or "timeless" is because there is a consumer demand for it. The difference now (as opposed to thirty years ago) is that the consumer can research (with minimal effort) what a classic style actually is, rather than taking a salesman's word for it. I don't think the mentioned options will take over what is "proper black tie" because the only people who consider what is proper at all seems to be the community "in the know," which is growing and will hold the line: style is a religion, and no one is more fanatical than a recent convert. I would bet ten years from now, the two-button notched-lapel uncovered waist will still be the majority, but not the overwhelming majority it is today, and that having "correct" details will matter more.
I think another thing is that something is classic if you could wear it in the beginning of the century or whenever just as easily as today. Both time periods have fashion trends that would look weird outside of the decade they were popular in but a well put together tuxedo should really transcend that.
If you put on a tuxedo to all the agreed upon specs you see in this thread and elsewhere online, it seems to me (based only on Hollywood movies, don't get me wrong) that you should be able to walk into a time machine and attend a black tie affair in the 20s without anyone thinking you looked strange. But you should also be able to walk the red carpet today without anyone thinking you look strange either.
Watching Ocean's Eleven, I'm pretty into the look of Andy Garcia's tux- mainly the super high DB vest and long tie with wing collar, but mostly im just confused.
Does anyone with more knowledge know if theres any historical precedence for long ties with wing tips? Only other time I've seen it is on a goofy character in some movie from the 30's. Also the vest is pretty insane. Lapels are a little skinny but whatever.
Thoughts on this fit? Dont know if Id go so far as to wear something like this, but I do like the look.
I would guess that, if it were ever worn with evening dress, it was in the mid 19th century, in the lead up to the defining of white tie, and morning dress, standards.
I do think though, if you were going to wear a long tie, a white marcella/piqué one would be more in keeping with black tie's aesthetic, ironically, than a black one. It would maintain the white V in front, though not with that high waistcoat pictured, of course.
I kind of like the look too. I certainly wouldn't call it black tie, but sort if a hybrid between black tie, regency dress, and sone kind of Asian court dress. In the context of the character, it's basically meant to be a refined pimp suit, and I think they hit that nail, squarely, on the head.
That makes alot of sense- he wears the outfit to a boxing match, by no means a black tie event, with few other characters dressed formally in any way whatsoever. I guess my confusion stems from an attempt to rationalize everything vaguely formal within the context of black or white tie, forgetting that regency or even military dress are valid as well (outside of a black or white tie exclusive event of course).
I agree that in choosing a long tie to go with a wing collar, white seems the best choice. Also, the downward V of the tie knot makes an interesting juxtaposition to the multiple V's created by the collar.
After writing my last post, I'm curious. What are your thoughts on an outfit like the one worn by Andy Garcia, above, in a non-formal, but dressy, evening context? I'm sure most of our initial reactions will be "it's wrong, therefore bad." However, if we try to imagine a context where more than a suit is warranted, but a specific dress code is not desired, more like the days before black tie, and white tie, what might we choose to wear? For better, or for worse, it doesn't take too much imagination to see that that could be the direction evening dress takes over the 21st century.
What about dressy smoking jackets?
The reason Garcia is dressed that way is that his character is somebody with money, power, and brains, but no respect for tradition, and no sense of romance, sprezzatura, duende -- the traits Clooney's character has in excess. The messages the outfit sends are, to my eye, rather unfortunate ones.
As for the scene, every other gent is in black-tie -- and if we can suspend our disbelief about everything else in the movie, we can accept a black-tie boxing match.