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What to Wear: The Black Tie Wedding

By Synthese, Apr 25, 2016 | | |
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    Tuxedo: Kent Wang
    Tie: Vanda Fine Clothing
    Shirt: G. Inglese at No Man Walks Alone
    Links: Kent Wang
    Cummerbund: Drake's at A Suitable Wardrobe
    Studs: Practical Wear at The Armoury
    Shoes: Crocket and Jones at Pediwear

    The Black Tie Affair

    “Black Tie Requested.” When’s the last time you saw an invitation with that written on it? It doesn’t happen much these days, but when it does - well, who doesn’t love a person in a tux?

    Ok, so you’re taking on the challenge. This isn’t the time to be creative - that means no skinny leather lapels, too-short jackets, or skin-tight trousers. Especially if it’s an evening wedding. Your tuxedo doesn’t need to be brand new (this is one garment that hasn’t changed much in the last several decades), and it doesn’t need to cost you half a year’s salary. It just has to fit perfectly.

    Take note: this is not for beginners. Proper execution of a black tie ensemble may - and should - require a bit of research on your part. Thankfully, we can help you get started. For more resources, please see these links:

    Final note: a tuxedo is not daytime wear. Please don’t wear one to a daytime event - wedding or otherwise - as it is a garment specifically reserved for evenings (generally, the main event occurs at or after 6:37.43 PM). If you do, you’ll just look silly.

    • The Tuxedo
      A tuxedo is not a black suit. A tuxedo has contrasting silk (satin is acceptable) lapels. Tuxedo trousers have a similarly contrasting stripe running down the outside of the leg, in a fabric that matches the jacket facings. A single button differentiates the jacket from a business jacket.

      Black or midnight blue (not navy blue) are acceptable, as is, on occasion, white - the first two choices are the safest, the latter being generally reserved for the summer months or events that take place outdoors.

    • The Shirt
      One does not simply wear a barrel-cuffed white shirt with a spread collar under a tuxedo. Look for:
      • French Cuffs (this means you use cufflinks to close your shirt cuffs)
      • Holes for studs (meaning you use studs - kind of like cufflinks for your shirt - to close your shirt buttons; i.e. your shirt will not come with buttons sewed on to it). The one we've chosen has a removable placket, which means you can wear it with or without studs.
      • Shirt texture can be a matter of preference. Piqué is often used on plain shirt fronts, while shirts with pleated tuxedo “bibs” are also available.
      • A turn-down collar is the most traditional for a contemporary tuxedo, as it does not show the tie band or buckles. A wing collar is generally reserved for white-tie affairs, with roots in traditional morning dress.
    • The Pocket Square (not shown)
      White linen. You have one, don't you?
    • The Studs:
      They're like buttons, only fancier. That is, they keep your shirt closed. They come in 4-packs, but the fourth is an extra - your shirt should have 3 holes. Want low-effort? Go with black.
    • The Cummerbund/waistcoat
      Believe it or not, these aren’t as easy to find as they once were back in the days of, y’know, yore. That said, you still can! You’ll just have to look. A waistcoat may be single or double-breasted, but generally has a lower gorge, just covering the bottom of the shirt bib.
    • The Tie
      Bow. Black. Silk. Self-tie. No room for argument here.

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  1. LA Guy
    @Journeyman - We were going to include them, but frankly, couldn't figure out how to put them in the picture. Also, we are going to assume that the pants have self adjusters and don't require braces.
  2. Journeyman
    Braces? What about braces?

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