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The perfect tuxedo except for one thing...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by shnikies, Dec 3, 2012.

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  1. Erik Vegas

    Erik Vegas Member

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    I found this interesting information about Tuxedo Vents in Black Tie Guide. www.blacktieguide.com


    Vents


    The original dinner jackets were made without vents then later offered with side vents. While side vents provide easier access to trouser pockets and are more comfortable to sit in, they can also make the jacket less slimming and somewhat compromise the intended formality of the tuxedo.


    The center (aka single) vent is unacceptable not only because of its sporty pedigree (it was designed for horseback riding) but also because it opens up when a man reaches into his trouser pockets thus exposing the seat of his pants and often a white patch of shirt to boot. Despite its inappropriateness, the single vent is becoming more common on dinner jackets as mainstream manufacturers save money by patterning their tuxedos on standard suit styles. Fortunately, a good tailor can convert these jackets into ventless models by closing the vent.
     
  2. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    I was in Poole's a few years back and heard the story of how Henry Poole created the first of what would become the "tuxedo". It was an informal dinner jack for Edward VII, I believe. It was decidedly something that stood out, rather than conformed. And was a rather bright blue.

    Funny how that evolved into something that looks nothing like the original, and then somehow became fixed and rigid around a set of rules that would make the original appear to be an abomination. How does something evolve for fifty years, and then arbitrarily become fixed in time? It's not a rhetorical question.

    For what it's worth, I prefer very traditional peak lapel, no vent single button, proper waste coat, with grosgrain facings and in midnight not pure black. So I adhere to 'proper' tuxedo rules in general. But the question of how something that's not at all like the original became 'proper' is interesting to me.
     
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  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Coalescence over time. There's no cut-off point. But looking at everything that's been done as a whole, then thinking about what would make sense if we are to contrive a "standard," is how we wind up something like your own traditional dinner suit.
     
  4. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    To the original question, conformity is the point. But there are accepted alternatives that are considered more or less equally proper (grosgrain vs satin facings, peak or shawl lapel, one button single or four button double breasted, black or midnight, etc.). some might argue that even those choices are more or less proper or ideal. Some would argue that a cumberbund should only be worn in the summer in hot climates. (Some might not even consider garnet studs proper :) )

    Are certain items absolutely outside the range of 'proper' and if so, who decides? Again, it's not really a rhetorical question. In one sense, it's sort of like trying to define ideal beauty in a woman, or what constitutes a particular genre of music. I know what looks right to my eye, but there are a lot of things that I would not consider proper in a tuxedo, but might still conform to the idea of 'a tuxedo'. I find that line somewhat blurry, myself. Others, maybe more clear for themselves. That's why I struggle with the idea of a universal ideal here.

    Just my opinion. Perhaps not as eloquently stated as I would like, but I will blame that on Pappy VanWinkle this evening. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  5. js4design

    js4design Senior member

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    You really think someone shouldn't participate in a black tie event because they've got a vented jacket? There is most definitely a difference between someone eschewing the rules in favor of "creative black tie" and someone wearing a correct rig with vents. I'll pose this question. Which of the following would be preferable - a vented single button peak lapeled jacket, or an unvented 2 button notch lapel jacket?
     
  6. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    I think a combination of the two posts above best epitomizes the right attitude for approaching black tie. On the one hand you have the rules, and on the other you have the set of decisions to be made within the rules. As has been stated, one may choose between facings, lapel style (peak or shawl), jacket style (SB vs. DB), shirt front (but always white/double cuff), waist covering, color (black or midnight or ivory for the jacket) and footwear and still conform to all of the rules.

    So much like any profession, there are clearly ways to not do things but there are a number of equally correct ways to do things and each person will have their own preference on how to do them. Different doctors will prescribe different drugs, different bankers will use different valuation methods and different engineers will use different design principles. Still, no doctor would (should) prescribe antibiotics to cure cancer and no man should use a button-cuff shirt and black and white striped necktie with a tuxedo.

    Then of course you get to the point where you must decide which new territory to explore because perhaps established rules don't specifically cover it, or you think the rules are wrong (rather than simply not knowing/caring about them). I see DJs where only the edge of the lapel has silk facings, and while hardly traditional, I don't recall seeing a specific rule that the entire lapel must be covered. Even within the confines of SF this happens. For instance, foo, you've posted that wedding photo several times with your midnight DB DJ and garnet studs and I noted a few things that don't seem to conform to the "rules" yet aren't actually breaking any either (and rules or no rules look damn good):

    The garnet studs stand out for sure, but also the midnight DJ faced with midnight silk. A violation? No, I don't recall anywhere that it states the facings must be black (even though I do recall seeing that they are supposed to match the tie) but it's traditionally what I've always seen. I believe you also mention using a cummerbund, in spite of the fact that the DJ is DB. Once again, I know of no prohibition on pairing the two, but at the same time I know that a DB DJ is the one form not requiring a waist covering. I guess my point is that new developments are made by people challenging the established rules bit by bit, but this is markedly different than people throwing the rules to the wind with reckless abandon simply because they don't know better or want to make a point.

    And Flake, any night where any shortcomings can be blamed on Pappy is a good night :fistbump:
     
  7. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    Actually my get-up included a silk evening vest, matte evening oxfords (alternative to patent leather) and an off-white SILK pleated evening shirt w/
    onyx studs. The jacket has a center vent- I occasionally went to black tie events on horseback, and notch lapels. At the time I was pure trad-Ivy, but
    even now every piece of tailored clothing I own,except for one, has no padding. When it was purchased from Paul Stuart the store was only
    slighlty less Ivy than Brooks or Press in that it offered two button suits RTW which were more suitable to those of us whom god gave broad shouders
    and chests and had proportinately smaller waists. Today I think it's called an athletic build. Alas, the years of debauchery and athletic injuries have
    rendered my build post-athletic at best.
     
  8. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    So conviction is a valid reason to be impolite? We're you bullied as a child because you have the signs.
     
  9. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    You have the signs of prejudice. The post I responded to aggressively was itself highly impolite. Yet, you clearly singled me out.

    To the extent being bullied is part of the story, I've simply learned that low tolerance is the most effective way to deal with it.
     
  10. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    See what you did there - you managed to be defensive and offensive at the same time. I quoted you as you escalated to name calling. Style is a reflection of character and hence how you treat others.
     
  11. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I can only hope you saw what I did--it wasn't particularly complicated. Nonetheless, I'm glad you're proud of yourself for accomplishing the task.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  12. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    Oh yes - I saw the same pattern of behavior being repeated yet again. Happy to let you have the last word though - it seems very important to you.
     
  13. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    I'd probably avoid engaging in arguments with an attorney-turned-investment banker who manages to find time to write a blog unrelated to law or finance and post eloquent and typo-free posts (whether or not you like/agree with them) on here simply because I'll lose based on stamina alone :). Pretty sure in that situation I'm OK with just getting :foo: ed and taking it like a man.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  14. bertie

    bertie Senior member

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    You are undoubtedly right. I just feel the need to tilt at windmills sometimes.
     
  15. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    Reasoning I don't understand? Hmm. I don't think you've bothered to address my reasoning. [ You're definition of correct is a subset of a larger set of acceptable configurations. This larger set is evident the world over in world class manifestations, but not the ones you consider OK. ]

    What you've taken as ad hominem is relevant to the subject. With your presence on SF, you frequently take the same attitude and view - the superiority of your own tastes, and deviations being wrong. You're infalability is crucial to you. It's insufferable.

    Think back to how you discussed the great coat that you got, that was of course branded "the greatest ever", and how you framed so many things as "no matter what you say, i still won't change it or agree anything is wrong." I don't think you could bear admitting that any part of it wasn't superior.

    It's just pompous.

    Most people don't bother to quarrel with you because you're willing to drone on endlessly, kind of like DWII or DFII or whoever the shoemaker guy is that rages against technology, slightly modifying your stance or argument each time it has been well rebutted.
     
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  16. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
     
  17. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    The actual name "Tuxedo" refers to Tuxedo Park, New York, a nearby country estate locale for the New York
    monied elite in the "Gilded Age"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuxedo
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2013
  18. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    If someone has a single vented tuxedo that they like, of course they should not throw it away and buy a new one (though getting the vent sewn shut is a reasonable option). The degree to which people care about standards and whether there are standards are two separate questions. I think that sometimes those arguing against standards confuse these points, often to the detriment of discussion here.

    1. There are standards of dress and any attempt to deride such standards as mere preferences or deny that they exist is incorrect and ignorant. If there are no standards, then every thread should only have the response "Wear what you like" and this forum is pointless. There are pretty clear standards on how to wear black tie, good sources such as www.blacktieguide.com, etc.

    2. In the real world, there is limited enforcement of these standards and many people either do not notice or do not care. The social consequences of small deviations (e.g. single vented tuxedo vs. wearing jeans and a baseball cap to a black tie event) from these standards are likely to be minimal.


    The examples you're citing are for the most part not things I would consider "deviations" from a standard but rather different options that are considered acceptable within the standard (though I cannot see a point collar shirt ever being remotely correct with black tie). Black tie is largely a uniform but there are some choices one may make within it. As I understand it, these are the main options:

    1. Black or midnight blue
    2. Grosgrain or satin lapels and trouser detailing
    3. Peak or shawl lapels (shirt choice comes in here since I believe a wing collar should only be worn with peak lapels)
    4. Pleated or marcella front shirt
    5. Pleated or plain front trousers
    6. Cummerbund or vest
    7. Shape of self-tie bow tie used
    8. Ventless or double vents (I am on the fence on this one as I really do believe ventless is more correct)

    If you are supposed to choose between peak or shawl lapels when picking a tux, notch lapels would be a deviation. Same thing applies to vents. Single vent is clearly a deviation. I'd agree that some of my points and yours may alter the look to a greater extent, but they do so in a way that is still considered proper.
     
  19. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    Yes. Supposedly (according to Poole's anyway) a member of the Tuxedo Park Supper Club was a guest of Prince Edward, and had Poole make a copy of Edward's jacket for himself, which he brought back to the states. Club members copied it, and thus the Tuxedo was born. Again, that's according to the folks at Henry Poole, though I have no reason to doubt it.
     
  20. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    Do we have any info on the configuration of that original, just for kicks? Seems reasonable to assume it had differentiated lapels, but who knows on the rest...
     

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