Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The State of Black Tie: Your Observations
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The State of Black Tie: Your Observations - Page 299

post #4471 of 4838

So, the reason I don't think they are fine is because black tie is a moment in time to express conspicuous consumption. Unashamedly. If you have a pair of shoes that cost $400 that you wear perhaps 2-3 times a year, that is the essence of the aristocratic look that black tie embodies.

post #4472 of 4838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustic Man View Post
 

So, the reason I don't think they are fine is because black tie is a moment in time to express conspicuous consumption. Unashamedly. If you have a pair of shoes that cost $400 that you wear perhaps 2-3 times a year, that is the essence of the aristocratic look that black tie embodies.

One counter-argument which is more applicable in the UK, where there are still white tie occasions, is that black tie is your relaxed home dinner outfit, so it should be comfortable. It is, after all, the comfortable and casual version of white tie. 

 

When I was a student and a musician, I wore black tie weekly, sometimes several times a week and ended up adjusting it accordingly (e.g. cummerbund instead of waistcoat, switching studded starched front shirts for normal white shirts with MOP buttons... or wearing calf oxford instead of patent leather which gets worn out much faster) and kept the nice stuff for the 1-2 times a year I was in white tie.

 

I will readily admit that if someone did put in the effort even with this amount of black tie wearing I would admire their backbone. Some people still went all out with scarf, gloves, etc. Seems like a lot of trouble just for dinner and drinks... 

 

I didn't even bother bringing my black tie to Singapore, and the only event I've had to miss out on as a result was my alumni reunion dinner. Here a tie is formal.

 

Still doesn't excuse the American habit for notched lapels and multiple front buttons. Just no.

post #4473 of 4838

Yes, that's a valid argument. But, as you hinted at, in America black tie is about as good as it gets. I'd love to wear white tie but that really does look like costume in the U.S. at this point. I can't speak to Britain, of course.

post #4474 of 4838

Honestly, at your average event where everybody is in rental* (which are almost universally bad: notched lapel, multiple covered buttons, fusing starting to bubble, no or fake lapel hole, uncovered waist, low cut trousers, square non-shined black slip ons... and let's not speak of those who think they are oh so original by coming in with a necktie a la Hollywood) coming dressed in proper black tie is also quite striking and can isolate you somewhat. 

 

In that setting, coming in a well fitted white tie outfit might get the same reactions out of people. A couple of initial remarks then they get used to it, provided you wear it comfortably. I have done it in the past and gotten away with it, but have stopped as the dress codes are philosophically opposed. It's also a lot more work for your female companion, not that most will know or care.

 

* but I do not judge them. I had to ask a school teacher what black tie meant as a high school student. I know where they are coming from. I blame the rental companies for not doing their job.

post #4475 of 4838

You make some good points, once again. I think it's worth mentioning though, the number of rental tuxedos per capita depends on the event. At weddings, yes, the ratio is quite high, at least that I have noticed. At events like opening night at the opera, formal garden parties, or other "society" events, the ratio is very low. This doesn't mean that everyone in attendance is wearing a well fitting garment, but at least they aren't renting.

post #4476 of 4838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustic Man View Post
 

You make some good points, once again. I think it's worth mentioning though, the number of rental tuxedos per capita depends on the event. At weddings, yes, the ratio is quite high, at least that I have noticed. At events like opening night at the opera, formal garden parties, or other "society" events, the ratio is very low. This doesn't mean that everyone in attendance is wearing a well fitting garment, but at least they aren't renting.

I agree. I give a pass to the wedding guests. But this is unacceptable:

 

I mean, even the boutonniere on the lapel seems hand finished. Yet, notch lapel. It is the source of eternal arguments with my American friends who insist it is perfectly acceptable. 

post #4477 of 4838

That's another issue altogether. Notched lapels look hideous on a dinner jacket, in my opinion. However, what is acceptable or not has changed dramatically over the years. You hinted at it yourself when you mentioned the humble(ish) origins of the tuxedo. Learning the origins and history of black tie emphasizes the point that black tie has never been one specific thing, frozen in time, unchanging forever. It always goes through modifications and updates. Some good, some not. I think it's great that I can wear black tie style from the 1940s and still look like I belong next to George Clooney in any contemporary context. Call it a strength of the genre.

post #4478 of 4838

Yes, that's the excuse the Americans always give, and it's also, I suspect, precisely why he requested it that way - to look more approachable, more All American, middle class suburbia to whom Clooney is marketed. Not that it was his actual decision, since stars are dressed by stylists who curate these product placements on the basis of the fee paid by the brand so long as it fits the brief.

 

He is capable of peaks, though: 

 

But immediately, he looks more imposing, with more ego, and thereby more distant from the viewers - even with the stubble. (I won't comment on the bow tie or shirt collar. Off subject.)

post #4479 of 4838

Well, I'm not sure it is an excuse, but it certainly has to do with American familiarity with the notched lapel suit. Most American men won't even attempt to find places to wear a tuxedo, and when they do wear one they want it to be familiar and safe. I believe that #menswear aside, most American men disdain standing out with their clothing. They would rather fit in than make a statement. Not to mention most of them are not, and have never seen, true social aristocrats. Which creates a lack of context for an imposing and distant persona.

post #4480 of 4838

The problem is that I sympathise very much with that philosophy which is that of the man who produces value for a living. The cognitive dissonance is painful.

post #4481 of 4838

Your link was messed up but I was able to get to it. You could possibly get by with those, but generally it is considered that if you're going to wear non-patent oxfords with black tie, it should be a Wholecut or Cap Toe without brogueing. Not a plain toe Oxford.
post #4482 of 4838
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caustic Man View Post
 

So, the reason I don't think they are fine is because black tie is a moment in time to express conspicuous consumption. Unashamedly. If you have a pair of shoes that cost $400 that you wear perhaps 2-3 times a year, that is the essence of the aristocratic look that black tie embodies.

I disagree with the above entirely. The point of black tie isnt to show people how much you have, how much you spent, or how much better you are than them. In fact, I would argue its the opposite of those things. It is an opportunity to be equals with the men around you so that the event and the common experience is the focus of the evening, rather than peacocking around as an individual. 

 

You are certainly welcome to construct your rig however you like, but being conspicuous is the antithesis of black tie etiquette. 

post #4483 of 4838
That's a valid argument, but it doesn't really touch on what I meant. Conspicuous not in the sense of being flashy or standing out, but in the sense that it is not the time to look like you are trying to be frugal. If you are ever going to look like you are wearing expensive clothes that have no other use than in a formal environment, then this is it.
post #4484 of 4838
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavro23 View Post
 

I disagree with the above entirely. The point of black tie isnt to show people how much you have, how much you spent, or how much better you are than them. In fact, I would argue its the opposite of those things. It is an opportunity to be equals with the men around you so that the event and the common experience is the focus of the evening, rather than peacocking around as an individual. 

 

You are certainly welcome to construct your rig however you like, but being conspicuous is the antithesis of black tie etiquette. 

http://www.styleforum.net/t/67010/lightbox/post/8577925/id/2228713

post #4485 of 4838

Some things cannot be unseen...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › The State of Black Tie: Your Observations