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Need Help on Formal Dinner

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by furo, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. furo

    furo Senior member

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    I have an invitation to a formal banquet coming up and the only indication as to dress is "black tie."

    Knowing this, can I get away with a suit in lieu of having to buy a tux?

    And secondly, IF I can get away with a suit, does it have to be black w/ white shirt and black tie?

    I have three suits in my inventory:

    1: Hickey Freeman LTD 3-button Dark Brown w/ faint pinstripes, single vent (this one is very dark brown, and difficult to tell it's brown unless under a bright light)

    2: Hickey Freeman LTD 2-button Navy Blue w/ faint pinstripes, single vent (sort of an in-between shade of dark and light navy blue, not too dark but not light either)

    3: Hickey Freeman LTD 2-button Grey w/ light pinstripes, double vent (lighter grey, certainly not a charcoal color)

    I assume the grey is already a "no-go" but any help or advice here would be appreciated.

    Here's the crowd attending: mostly retired and active military, and many defense industry partners. All active military will be in either Dress Blue uniforms or "dress mess"

    Region: this event is in Texas in May
     


  2. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    black tie means a dinner jacket and a black bowtie, along with a formal shirt.
     


  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    If it's black tie and people are going to be uniform, I would not try to get away with less than a bona fide dinner jacket.
     


  4. furo

    furo Senior member

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    Got it.

    Figure I could get away with a dark suit but maybe not worth the risk.

    What pains me is that the quality of my suits would/will FAR outweigh the quality of the tux I'll get or rent ... and for that matter ... the quality and fit/look of my suits is probably going to be better than 75% of the "black tie" outfits I see at this event, lol (not talking about comparing tuxedo to military uniform, either).

    I just don't have the cash to burn on a nice tuxedo and I hate renting ... meh...
     


  5. Maharlika

    Maharlika Senior member

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    Formal dinner attire means tuxedo or dinner jacket. Depending on the shirt, I usually wear a cummerbund. If you don't own a tuxedo, you may wear a black suit with white shirt and black tie, of course.
     


  6. Bounder

    Bounder Senior member

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    Formal dinner attire means tuxedo or dinner jacket. Depending on the shirt, I usually wear a cummerbund. If you don't own a tuxedo, may you wear a black suit with white shirt and black tie? Of course not.

    Maharlika, I fixed those typos for you.

    Furo,

    First, the obligatory reference to www.blacktieguide.com

    Second, you might be surprised at how inexpensive a decent tuxedo can be. There are lots of places for new ones on-line. You can also find some extremely good deals on e-bay for used ones that, unlike virtually all other clothes on e-bay, really have only been worn once.

    I really strongly suggest that you buy one and have it tailored for you rather than rent one. The rental tuxedos are usually monstrosities and they never fit properly. If you have any hope of ever wearing a tuxedo again, you're much, much better off buying one.

    Finally, a word about shoes. As a special concession to your newbie status, you are granted the right to wear highly polished black cap toes -- no broguing please -- in place of the obligatory patent leather.
     


  7. bowtielover

    bowtielover Senior member

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    You could get away with a suit although you may be the only one, the suit however must be black. This is because the tie must be black and neither dark brown or navy go with balck. You do at the least need tux shirt and formal tie, anything else would be unaceptable and you will deffinatley stand out amoungst the other men there. Your safest bet is to stay with the tux, at least that way you know you won't be wrong.
     


  8. fcuknu

    fcuknu Senior member

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    HF LTD suits arent exactly top notch...
     


  9. furo

    furo Senior member

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    HF LTD suits arent exactly top notch...

    Sure, but it's a better quality than what I'd find at JC Penney's in the tuxedo section, because I don't have much cash to spend on a tux.


    How inexpensive are we talking, and what do you qualify as decent? If I'm going to buy one I certainly want to be able to use it year after year, and I only go to maybe 2 of these type functions per year.
     


  10. furo

    furo Senior member

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    Also, I got the HF LTD suits for $290 each. Is that a good price or not? From what I understand, they aren't fully canvassed suits, but are still made at the HF factory. Is this true?

    Are they from Rochester, and from anyone's experience, is the HF LTD any better at all than a standard Hart Schaffner Marx suit?

    If not, I'm going to take the HF LTD suits back to the store, since the guy selling them told me they were all fully canvassed. On sale or not, I don't like being lied to, and this was only a week ago.
     


  11. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    Black tie means a dinner jacket/tuxedo.
    You can wear a suit, but that is no different to wearing a blazer and trousers to an event that mandates a suit, or going without a jacket to somewhere with a jacket in the dress code. You should only do it if you have no choice.
     


  12. furo

    furo Senior member

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    Black tie means a dinner jacket/tuxedo.
    You can wear a suit, but that is no different to wearing a blazer and trousers to an event that mandates a suit, or going without a jacket to somewhere with a jacket in the dress code. You should only do it if you have no choice.


    So in your opinion it's better to look crappy in a cheap rented tux than to look good in a fitted HF suit?

    And I'm being honest when I ask that ... because it seems that the etiquette rule trumps all here regardless of how terrible you might appear.
     


  13. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    I don't think it is better to look crappy, I just don't really understand when people read an event requires suits they know they have to get a suit, but if it says black tie they think they can get away with something else.

    Is buying a tux really not an option?
    You may not use it frequently but you can hang on to the thing for years. You could check out thrift stores, if you can't find a jacket that fits what about a black tie alternative like a velvet jacket? It's less formal than a dinner jacket, but beats a suit.

    If not, I guess it depends on how strictly you think the dress code is going to be adhered to- I would feel awkward as the only guy in a suit if everyone else was in djs, but if others are wearing suits instead then I suppose a nice suit would beat a really bad dj.
    Renting is not tempting, I give you that, can you borrow one from a friend? have you looked into what your rental options are like?
    I guess if the only stuff you can rent is ghastly then maybe the suit is better, it is really up to your judgement.
     


  14. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Is buying a tux really not an option?
    You may not use it frequently but you can hang on to the thing for years. You could check out thrift stores, if you can't find a jacket that fits what about a black tie alternative like a velvet jacket? It's less formal than a dinner jacket, but beats a suit.


    Agreed. When you need a dinner jacket, you need a dinner jacket, and there's little to no room for compromise. It's like a pair of black captoes: you may not wear them a lot, but they are essential.

    Doesn't some place like Jos A Bank make an inexpensive tux?
     


  15. greekonomist

    greekonomist Senior member

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    Doesn't some place like Jos A Bank make an inexpensive tux?

    They do. I had one in college.
     


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