The amount of evening wear I saw at Pitti Uomo really surprised me. The share of the world's evening wear at Pitti is likely even greater than Pitti's share of the world's double monks, surpassed only by its Hobbit hat holdings. Perhaps this was all in anticipation of Justin Timberlake's smash hit 'Suit and Tie' (which apparently means a tuxedo and a bow tie)? Is this a reactionary movement to thwart the hobo chic celebrated in 'Thift Shop'? At its best, there is nothing more attractive a man can wear than black tie (white tie now being all but extinct). If evening wear is resuscitated from the its current purgatorial state generating profits as rental garments for Jos A Bank and Men's Wearhouse, that would indeed be a lovely thing. Of course, (almost) no one brought the classical ideal of a tuxedo. Very few bring the classic version of anything. So I saw a dinner suit in electric blue, as well as a very odd garment that appeared to have satin trim running down the back seam of the jacket, but I ran away from those as quickly as possible. But not all mutations turn into abortions. Here are four evening items that intrigued me at Pitti. In each category, there's one item that's quite expensive and one that's more affordable. Category I: Dinner suits: Regent and Lardini These two mostly conform to the classical ideal. Just ignore the long tie and presumed lack of waist covering on the Lardini, and the pre-tied bow and lack of studs on the Regent. Despite the classic styling on both, they provide a study in contrast. The contrast to study on both is that between the fabric on the body of the coat and the facings of the lapel. The Regent (very finely tailored, one of the finest RTW tuxes I have seen, I will be providing a full writeup on this German company later) is made of a wool and mohair blend. The mohair provides some sheen to the suit. The facings and trim are of grosgrain, to my eye less shiny than the other option, which would be satin. The result is a subtlety of contrast between the facings and jacket. The Lardini, meanwhile, goes the complete opposite direction. The body is actually a worsted flannel. Some may view this too "casual" a fabric for a dinner suit. To me it was pretty fabulous. I think of black tie as gear for celebration and classy relaxation, not haughty stuffiness. So a nice dark flannel is just the right twist on a classic. If I didn't think it would be so hot, I would have considered it for my own tuxedo. In any case, in contrast to the mohair blend of the Regent, flannel is not reflective at all. The facings are in satin, providing a high contrast. Together they make an elegant, if sweaty, combination. Category II: Dinner jackets: Sartoria Partenopea and Chester Barrie As a devoted supporter of the velvet evening jacket, I was heartened to see so many brands showing them off at Pitti. Sartoria Partenopea had the largest collection, as well as some more exotically patterned dinner jackets. All of these feature silk facings on the lapels, in a mix of shawl and peak lapels. Of course, they are impeccably tailored, with Neapolitan spalla camicia shoulder construction and gorgeous lapel rolls. The silk-faced lapels and exotic fabrics make them rather more aggressive and less versatile. The (much cheaper) Chester Barrie is still styled for evening with one button closure and peak lapels (just tuck in the flaps). In dark, solid colors and self-faced lapels, these jackets can be worn with jeans to a bar and foster admiration rather than confusion. And with the right kind of attitude, you can still wear these to a relaxed black tie affair in a pinch. Be careful, though. If there's one thing I've learned about velvet, it's that women loving feeling it. Chester Barrie peak lapel burgundy velvet jacket. Chester Barrie in chocolate. A rack of velvet jackets at Sartoria Partenopea, frontlined by a shawl collar in brown. Peak lapel SP in a kind of elephant gray. You can see some of the patterned jackets farther back in the rack. More classic styling from Sartoria Partenopea - a double breasted tuxedo. Beautiful shoulder. The Regent dinner jacket. Note the low contrast in fabrics. What an evening waistcoat is supposed to look like. One more, can't resist. Closer. Linked front. Peak lapel. Bow tie in 3D. Cuff buttons. Flannel and satin on Lardini. Ignore the long tie. High contrast.