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The State of Black Tie: Your Observations

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mafoofan, Nov 22, 2011.

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  1. bdavro23

    bdavro23 Well-Known Member

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    Details? I'm not really a fan of pumps in general, and would only wear them at a private event, but the plain calf skin doesnt look terrible to me. Care to expound?
     
  2. the1gofer

    the1gofer Member

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    Looks like they are no longer making these. That's too bad, I like allen edmonds.
     
  3. ClassicKerim

    ClassicKerim Member

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    I can confirm that the Continetal is fully canvassed. They weren't 100% in the store as the line is new and they confirmed over the phone with their HQ.
     
  4. ClassicKerim

    ClassicKerim Member

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    Sorry for the repeat, the quote didn't work before.

    I can confirm that the new Continental 3-piece is fully canvassed. They were not even 100% in the store as the line is new, but they called into HQ and confirmed the good news; fully canvased.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. Andy57

    Andy57 Well-Known Member

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    I know of no US-based retailer that has OTR U-shaped formal waistcoats. I agree with you that such a waistcoat is a nice touch, but if time is of the essence, a cummerbund is your best bet.

    Also, white shirt.
     
  6. the1gofer

    the1gofer Member

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  7. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    I'd say no to this. If the event is special enough to wear black tie, then it is special enough not to skimp on the essentials. Black tie is, to my mind, the one remaining realm of men's clothing where symbols of frugality are frowned on. If you only ever wear it once, don't look like you were trying to stretch your budget, or the usefulness of your clothes beyond their intended purpose. For this reason I also say no to calf skin oxfords with black tie.
     
  8. Mr. Six

    Mr. Six Well-Known Member

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    ^ Fair points. It's not like getting a good white dress shirt for a suit is a tremendous burden. Shoes are tougher though. I guess there are plenty of decent patent leather shoes that aren't too expensive. This is a special event, but I think pumps or slippers wouldn't be appropriate.
     
  9. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all of this except the no to calfskin oxfords part, though I may be biased due to my hatred of patent leather. That said, I do have a pair of plain toed oxfords that I shine really well and pretty much only ever wear with black tie. When I am wearing a suit and white shirt, I use a pair of punched toe oxfords.
     
  10. Andy57

    Andy57 Well-Known Member

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    Although I love patent leather, I agree with @archibaldleach on this. Well-shined calf oxfords are fine.
     
  11. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. crdb

    crdb Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  13. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  14. crdb

    crdb Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  15. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  16. crdb

    crdb Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I give a pass to the wedding guests. But this is unacceptable:
    [​IMG]

    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
  17. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
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  18. crdb

    crdb Well-Known Member

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    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:
    [​IMG]

    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.)
     
  19. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  20. crdb

    crdb Well-Known Member

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    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.
     

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