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post #61 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsg View Post

Styleforum is a gigantic exercise in confirmation bias.

Aren't most forums? biggrin.gif
post #62 of 81
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice. The reason for my OP was for advice on how to explain correct formal attire to a girlfriend who doesn't agree. I don't need any confirmation on what the right attire is.
post #63 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zauberer View Post

Good God, if it was a problem every time my girlfriend didn't know what the hell she was talking about, I'd be sailing nothing but stormy seas. As it is, things are mostly alright.

What the OP's girlfriend is recommending isn't really black tie.  If 'most people' are dressing like what she wants, then the OP and his gf aren't attending real black tie functions.  So don't worry about it. Leave the tux and all in the closet.   Wear a navy solid suit (with some mohair would be nice) a white shirt, dark shiny tie, black calf oxfords and call it an evening.  Then treat the evening as reconnaisance.  If it's true that hardly anyone else is wearing a tux then you're cool as cabbage.  If not, then point this fact out to your girlfriend and head to the bar.  Wear your tux the next time, and wear it the way you want it. 


.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

Now that's some damned good advice.

So were the events you were invited to actually "black tie" events, or were they just the sort of events to which one might wear black tie, or perhaps listed as "black tie optional" but where not 1/10 would be wearing a tuxedo and not serving drinks?

If it was an actual black tie event, I'd personally stick with a bow and cummerbund but relent on the shirt and shoes (however I happen to prefer black calf and turndown collars myself, so perhaps it's just my bias). Also explain that unless she wants to spring for a new tux for you, peak lapels aren't really an option, assuming that's what you already own.

Now, if this isn't a real black tie event, then I could see how she'd feel a little awkward showing up with the one guy who wore a tux. I'd stop short of saying "embarrassed" but I think she may have a point. Or, if it's something that's "black tie optional" and she knows for a fact that most there will be in suits, then once again there may be a little more to what she's saying, in which case I'd rethink use of a tux all together.
post #64 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

Thanks for all of the advice. The reason for my OP was for advice on how to explain correct formal attire to a girlfriend who doesn't agree. I don't need any confirmation on what the right attire is.

 

Sorry, you're not getting off that easy.  You started this shit storm of "happy wife, happy life" comments and savant posters that can tell based on one clothing dispute with your girl that you must immediately dump her.  If we have to endure this thread that won't die, you do too.  We demand pictures of the girl in question and a poll on whether to continue the relationship or not. 

post #65 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimelesStyle View Post

So were the events you were invited to actually "black tie" events, or were they just the sort of events to which one might wear black tie, or perhaps listed as "black tie optional" but where not 1/10 would be wearing a tuxedo and not serving drinks?

She is basing her opinion on black tie functions that she attended in the past. I don't know how serious the dress code was for any of them because I wasn't there. The one we're going to is a charity function and we live in New York City, so I'm guessing that it'll be fairly formal.

What I find annoying is that she actually thinks that a straight tie, regular white shirt, and business shoes are appropriate for BT and that the traditional accessories look bad and are not in style any more. She said that since most people don't wear a bow and patent shoes and all the rest, then that should tell me something about what's in style. I countered that one reason that so many people do BT wrong is because they just don't want to spend the money on the right accessories. Still, she says that patent shoes look feminine, bow ties look awful, and a cummerbund looks like something an old man would wear.

I spent a fair amount of time on my dinner suit, and it's the second one that I've owned. I used to shop at A.T. Harris.
post #66 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

Thanks for all of the advice. The reason for my OP was for advice on how to explain correct formal attire to a girlfriend who doesn't agree. I don't need any confirmation on what the right attire is.

Two "correct ways to do that:

One would be to point out that the long tie/no waist covering/notch lapel thing is actually on its way out. Pictures like the one pointed above of Craig, etc would make that case. If you gf is trend sensitive (and it sounds like she is), this should be effective.

You could also, correctly, point out that visually the long tie and notch lapel isn't as appealing. Again, showing pictures like that one above would do that. Could get into some visual theory if she's inclined that way, but sounds like Path A would be the winner.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

What I find annoying is that she actually thinks that a straight tie, regular white shirt, and business shoes are appropriate for BT and that the traditional accessories look bad and are not in style any more.  She said that since most people don't wear a bow and patent shoes and all the rest, then that should tell me something about what's in style.  I countered that one reason that so many people do BT wrong is because they just don't want to spend the money on the right accessories.  Still, she says that patent shoes look feminine, bow ties look awful, and a cummerbund looks like something an old man would wear.
I spent a fair amount of time on my dinner suit, and it's the second one that I've owned.  I used to shop at A.T. Harris.
If you're not wearing opera pumps, there's no much difference between patent and well shined calf.  Not sure why she'd have a strong opinion on that.

Bow ties are coming back in in a large way, shouldn't take much prodding to get her to see that they can look good.

Cummerbund, no one should notice it anyway.  


Wing collar, good luck with that. Not a fan.
post #67 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

She is basing her opinion on black tie functions that she attended in the past. I don't know how serious the dress code was for any of them because I wasn't there. The one we're going to is a charity function and we live in New York City, so I'm guessing that it'll be fairly formal.
What I find annoying is that she actually thinks that a straight tie, regular white shirt, and business shoes are appropriate for BT and that the traditional accessories look bad and are not in style any more. She said that since most people don't wear a bow and patent shoes and all the rest, then that should tell me something about what's in style. I countered that one reason that so many people do BT wrong is because they just don't want to spend the money on the right accessories. Still, she says that patent shoes look feminine, bow ties look awful, and a cummerbund looks like something an old man would wear.
I spent a fair amount of time on my dinner suit, and it's the second one that I've owned. I used to shop at A.T. Harris.

Well, first of all, I have to question the degree to which she even knows fashion trends, let alone style: for the last few seasons everyone has been showing bow ties and not just for formal use. Just look through the J Crew or Banana Republic online catalogues (fairly good representation of what's "in" for mainstream folks) and you'll see plenty of these. It started as hipsters with clip-ons but the self-tie bow has come back in a big way.

Similarly, for the last five or six years I've seen more single breasted peak lapel suits than any time since Prohibition, so to say that peaks are out also demonstrates that she doesn't pay attention to what's been seen in men's fashion recently.

If these are annual functions, and it sounds like they are, perhaps you can find photos from previous years to show her (assuming they depict your version of how things should be).

I must say, though, that in all honesty, while I don't consider patent to be inherently feminine, I do think it looks cheap and much prefer a well-polished calf shoe, so I'm willing to give her that one. If you want to appear compromising that's the one I'd give on, as well as perhaps the wing collar, since a turndown is just fine and by some standards actually more correct.
post #68 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibonius View Post

Wing collar, good luck with that. Not a fan.

After my OP I noticed that I got rid of the wing collar at some point and replaced it with a turn down collar. I prefer the wing but I'm ok with either.
post #69 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

After my OP I noticed that I got rid of the wing collar at some point and replaced it with a turn down collar. I prefer the wing but I'm ok with either.

yeah, yeah. Give in now - give in forever.

Look - relationships are power struggles, pure and simple. You've got to stand up for yourself and centuries of tradition and Do The Right Thing, young man. Accept no compromise! Your future and your reputation depend on this. Go get another wing collar and wear it often! Assert your manliness or prepare to hand your genitalia to the girlfriend for safekeeping, she will embark on a life of noisy fulfillment while you stay at home washing dishes, ironing the dishtowels and reading Das Kapital in what little spare time is granted to you.
post #70 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post


yeah, yeah. Give in now - give in forever.
Look - relationships are power struggles, pure and simple. You've got to stand up for yourself and centuries of tradition and Do The Right Thing, young man. Accept no compromise! Your future and your reputation depend on this. Go get another wing collar and wear it often! Assert your manliness or prepare to hand your genitalia to the girlfriend for safekeeping, she will embark on a life of noisy sexual fulfillment with other men while you stay at home washing dishes, ironing the dishtowels and reading Das Kapital in what little spare time is granted to you.

FTFY.

post #71 of 81
Give her something else to think about. For example, sodomize her regularly.
post #72 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craiger View Post

It's tux season again, and my girlfriend has very strong opinions about my suit. She prefers spread collar to wing, straight tie to bow, and thinks my patent oxfords look feminine. Predictably, she also hates the cummerbund and isn't crazy about peaked lapels. She (rightly) says that most men at black tie functions dress the way that she recommends. How to I explain to her in a way that she'll understand?
She actually said that I will embarrass her if I wear the outfit that I have.
Tell her that you choose your own clothing. Don't let her tell you how to dress ... or it will be never ending.

Then again, if the way you want to dress will embarrass her ... perhaps it's time for a new girl friend ... one who won't be embarrassed by you.
Edited by RSS - 12/6/12 at 8:00pm
post #73 of 81

The question is does she know anything about men's clothes, and hence is criticising things for legitimate reasons; or is she just projecting her own preconceived notions of fashion. I would guess the latter. Then - is her fashion sense actually right on some of the things? Example - opera pumps, in my opinion, do actually look effeminate and ridiculous on a man. Just because they are traditional does not mean they aren't ugly, ridiculous, and likely to get you laughed at by anyone under 60.

 

I'd approach it like this - explain and show her the *reasons* why black tie rules exist. Www.blacktieguide.com is useful for a quick crash course. Example - the cummerbund. Its function is not to be seen, but simply to cover the part beneath the jacket button, so that you don't get an unsightly little white strip of shirt showing through. Since your jacket should be buttoned up the whole time you are wearing it, it will cover almost all of the cummberbund. So, the cummerbund, if chosen in the correct colour (i.e. black) is basically invisible. The ONLY time it is seen is when, if you were not wearing one (and had no waistcoat instead), the shirt front bottom would be showing - which looks a lot uglier than a patch of black cummerbund.

 

Next: bow tie vs normal tie. The reason a bow tie is worn, is not to look like a penguin or a 60 something WASP Republican, but to avoid having a tie dropping into your dinner. It is, after all, called a DINNER SUIT - you will be eating/drinking several courses at a table for 2+ hours, the last thing you want is a waist-length tie flopping around in the gravy or red wine and getting it and your white shirt stained. Ties also tend to get out of place when dancing, carousing, and so on. Plus, a BLACK bow tie with a dinner suit, looks sharp (google some pics of Connery/007 and show her).

 

Patents vs black oxfords. Personally I'd avoid patents - simply because a well-polished black oxford does the job just as well. Why spend money on a shoe you will wear a few times a year at most, when an existing must-have wardrobe staple can do it. The reason to have patent leather is to match the sheen effect of the bow tie and the lapels (grosgrain etc) - but really, no one looks at your feet so IMO this effect is wasted (and tiny anyway). So, I'd concede on this one and just bring normal black oxfords.

 

Peak lapels vs notch. The reason for peak lapels is to emphasise the v-shape of a man's torso. Dinner suits are fitted more tightly, and the one-button design gives more of a classic v-shape silhouette. Peak lapels enhance this. Plus, it distinguishes it from a normal business suit. Notch lapels aren't 'wrong' but peak look better, in most people's opinion, and they are more trad. 

 

Finally, convince her by demonstration - get a classic black tie rig with peak (grosgrain facing) lapels, one button, black bow tie and black cummerbund (both grosgrain also), either well-shined oxfords or patent leather if you want, marcella front dress shirt with turndown collar (wing collar is more for white tie, and looks more 'fussy' IMO), with either studs or buttons, and onyx &silver cufflinks. Get dressed in your dinner suit, place a bottle of champagne and an ice bucket in the bedroom, light some scented candles and put on some seductive music when she gets back home. Walk in, do your best 007 impersonation, and then screw her brains out for the next 2 hours. After that, you won't hear any bullshit about black suits and skinny ties. 

post #74 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic View Post

Next: bow tie vs normal tie. The reason a bow tie is worn, is not to look like a penguin or a 60 something WASP Republican, but to avoid having a tie dropping into your dinner. It is, after all, called a DINNER SUIT - you will be eating/drinking several courses at a table for 2+ hours, the last thing you want is a waist-length tie flopping around in the gravy or red wine and getting it and your white shirt stained. Ties also tend to get out of place when dancing, carousing, and so on. Plus, a BLACK bow tie with a dinner suit, looks sharp (google some pics of Connery/007 and show her).
Peak lapels vs notch. The reason for peak lapels is to emphasise the v-shape of a man's torso. Dinner suits are fitted more tightly, and the one-button design gives more of a classic v-shape silhouette. Peak lapels enhance this. Plus, it distinguishes it from a normal business suit. Notch lapels aren't 'wrong' but peak look better, in most people's opinion, and they are more trad. 

It sounds like the OP's girl is informed primarily by trends and/or herd behavior, so this approach may not be effective.

Also, you can relate the bowtie point to the same visual theory aspect as the lapels. A long tie disrupts the triangle of white from the shirt, while the bow tie preserves it and draws attention towards the face.
post #75 of 81
Show you gravitas.
Address her in calm and dignified manner and maintain your position with such
well- reasoned expressions as " You do not know shit from shinola"
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