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"Academic white tie" ??

ysc

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I will be graduating from University in the summer and have been informed that the dress code for the day/graduation ceremony is "Academic white tie" which consists of:

" Dark lounge suit with black shoes, white shirt and white bow tie. The kilt may be worn with dark jacket and kilt hose. "

I won't be wearing a kilt, so I suppose I will be wearing a white bow tie with a suit, which sounds pretty odd to me. Obviously it will be with a gown and matching natty headgear, I was just wondering if anyone had heard of this as a dress code before, if there is any history to it.
I rather suspect that it is just something the university made up to make the ceremony more "accessible". What does one traditionally graduate in?
 

Deipnosophist

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This sounds identical to "sub-fusc", worn by students at Oxford University during matriculation, exams etc. It is, as with "academic white tie", a dark suit, white shirt, white bow tie, gown and mortar board (those black caps that students always throw into the air after graduation
) I'm guessing that it's not all too uncommon during graduation ceremonies, but I think very few universities make you wear it as frequently as Oxford do. Holdfast will no doubt elaborate
 

Lord Gladstone

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Here in Europe one wears white tie (so no ordinary suit) during promoting to become a doctor in science. Why the heck do they want to use such a hybride???
 

academe

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St Andrews has a similar dress code for graduation events. Always thought it a a bit odd, but there you go.
 

Sanguis Mortuum

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Originally Posted by Lord Gladstone
Here in Europe one wears white tie (so no ordinary suit) during promoting to become a doctor in science. Why the heck do they want to use such a hybride???

Possibly because the main focus of the outfit is the robes, what is worn underneath them doesn't really matter as much...
 

CharlestonBows

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College of Charleston wears a white dinner jacket with black tie (ladies in white dresses) in the summer graduation, black tie for winter graduation.
 

Irond Will

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Originally Posted by Sanguis Mortuum
Possibly because the main focus of the outfit is the robes, what is worn underneath them doesn't really matter as much...

Or because sticking new graduates with the cost of having to actually meet the exacting standards of real white tie would be cruel.
 

literasyme

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No, it has nothing to do with that. Even calling it "white tie" is inaccurate. As you go up in the hierarchy, the white bow tie often is replaced with bands/tabs. Wearing a white tie underneath a gown is conventional in other contexts as well -- German lawyers and judges do it, too.

Formal white tie (tails) or dinner jackets of any colour would be totally inappropriate in this context; academic dress, at least subfusc, is not primarily celebratory/festive but more like a uniform or habit. That it's almost universally worn only for special occasions now doesn't alter that historical fact.

Personally, I prefer the neutrality of dark suit & white tie to the usual standard in American academic dress, which usually results in a strange clash of a too-colourful gown with a regular suit and tie underneath it.
 

Irond Will

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Originally Posted by literasyme
Personally, I prefer the neutrality of dark suit & white tie to the usual standard in American academic dress, which usually results in a strange clash of a too-colourful gown with a regular suit and tie underneath it.

This is a reasonable objection, the spirit of which could be applied to a broad variety of American clothing decisions. I'm rather hoping that the new trend of forcing school uniforms on kids will lead them to grow up with a better sense of how to dress.
 

ysc

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Well the reason it sounds similar to St Andrews dress is because it is St Andrews, and it does seem identical to "sub-fusc". I can see something simple under the robes would be a good idea, I have never worn a bow tie with a suit before, a white one with a white shirt just seemed a little odd to me, but I suppose with robes etc. it does make some sense.

As to forcing uniforms on people making them dress better... well I always went to uniformed schools and most people seemed to spend most of their time trying to make it looks as scruffy as possible, it seemed the smarter the uniform the further people would try and push to make it un-uniform (or as much like casual clothing) as they could.
 

academe

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Originally Posted by youngscientist
Well the reason it sounds similar to St Andrews dress is because it is St Andrews, and it does seem identical to "sub-fusc". I can see something simple under the robes would be a good idea, I have never worn a bow tie with a suit before, a white one with a white shirt just seemed a little odd to me, but I suppose with robes etc. it does make some sense.

As to forcing uniforms on people making them dress better... well I always went to uniformed schools and most people seemed to spend most of their time trying to make it looks as scruffy as possible, it seemed the smarter the uniform the further people would try and push to make it un-uniform (or as much like casual clothing) as they could.


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