Originally Posted by archibaldleach
See, I'd say that the transformation from white tie to black tie is the same idea as the transformation from black tie to a suit and tie. The tailcoat pretty much fell out of use but on the rare occasions when it is worn today, it is pretty much the same garment. The fact that black tie is worn less frequently isn't really a rationale in itself for the elements of it to change.
One could have a very long and potentially interesting discussion on whether the rough similarities between a tuxedo and a suit made it easier for certain features seen on business suits to creep into tuxedos without the average man being too aware or concerned about this trend. While I continue to believe that the peak and shawl and far preferable to the notch lapel, I suspect that this played a large part in it. I buy the idea that one can see a tuxedo as a form of suit much more than the idea that one could see black tie as a form of white tie. I don't dispute that notch lapel tuxedos are probably here to stay as a practical matter. All that said, I believe that the rare occasions one has to don a tuxedo give one a chance to honor tradition in a truly elegant manner.
If anything, today's black tie events should call for the most formal interpretations of the outfit because it is now used in only the most formal settings. I feel like it used to be that any evening event one attended was black tie, and it was more of a way to set daytime apart from night than a way of signifying formality.
A better example of the "natural evolution" referred above is the shawl collar appearing on dinner suits (vs just smoking jackets) and being perfectly acceptable outside the home. That evolution wasn't about making the tuxedo more like a suit but taking the less formal elements of traditional evening attire and elevating then to the same level as the more formal elements.
And I don't know that I believe the transition from white tie to black was about making the tux more like a suit as much as a reflection in the changes to the ceremonial uniforms worn by the military and heads of state (which were the inspirations for white tie). This is pure conjecture on my part, however.