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The State of Black Tie: Your Observations

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mafoofan, Nov 22, 2011.

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  1. Tried and True

    Tried and True Senior member

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    I imagine most of the custom makers would send swatches. Looks like many of the makers could deliver the set for under $200, that is, if the right fabric is in stock.
     
  2. powerkicker

    powerkicker Senior member

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    I and my Lady have our first black tie outing in November to a gala ball. I have scoured the internet to find out what kind of coat a woman should wear with her black tie gown and/or dress. Can anyone give me any insight on that?

    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2014
  3. nyarkies

    nyarkies Senior member

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    How cold is it there at that time? I think if it's not that chilly a cashmere silk stole can suffice.
     
  4. powerkicker

    powerkicker Senior member

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    30 degrees or less at night.
     
  5. nyarkies

    nyarkies Senior member

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    Oh. My girlfriend and I had that similar problem of finding a proper coat for her for a black tie event. When I tried looking it up on the web, most I would see is fur stole wraps or fur coats. In the end, she just used a long coat from j crew and didn't care much if it looks a bit casual reason being the coat will be checked in anyway.
     
  6. powerkicker

    powerkicker Senior member

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    Thanks for the input. My wife has a faux fur full length coat that looks fairly nice.
     
  7. NeedForTweed123

    NeedForTweed123 Senior member

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    What do you all think of wearing a white tie rig on an event like new years eve? I love the outfit too much to not ever wear it, but obviously there are no events for it. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal because even though members here argue over etiquette rules and such, I find that 99% of the U. S. population just thinks white tie is an interesting form of a tuxedo. Especially if worn for a non invite or non dress code specific event. And also, does anyone know of civilian white tie events ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2014
  8. ImTheGroom

    ImTheGroom Senior member

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    Doooooo it. And just charity balls.
     
  9. NeedForTweed123

    NeedForTweed123 Senior member

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    Well I do not foresee any charity balls in my future anytime soon, so I guess New Years Eve it is. I figured that white tie is so rare and common knowledge on proper etiquette so foreign to most that I could definitely get away with white tie at any event similar to a New Years Eve celebration. Perhaps even Christmas parties full of crazy holiday outfits.
     
  10. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Senior member

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    Wearing white tie or a tuxedo to an event where you will be the only one in such an outfit, unless is a costume event or period party, is absolute out of the parameters of Classic Menswear. Some people on this threads having been fantasising about those things for a while, taking it out of context: Formal dress wear is meant for occasion where the dress code will bring uniformity and let people blend in. Being the only one standing out is exactly the opposite of the reasons for these dress codes being created in the first place
     
    3 people like this.
  11. Tried and True

    Tried and True Senior member

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    My sentiments exactly.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    As long as you are OK with people thinking it's a costume, and you don't take the idea of being in such an outfit too seriously then go for it. Personally, I wouldn't wear such a thing to such an event because the likelihood of getting stuff spilled all over it is too high, so I never wear particularly good clothes to those kinds of parties. If I wanted to wear "black tie" to a non-BT NYE party, that's when I'd go get the $70 velvet jacket at H&M to pair with old tux pants and some white shirt. It would serve the dual purpose of preserving my nice formalwear and also looking festive enough that people didn't think I had just totally missed the memo about this being a casual party.



    Yup. On the plus side, someone may think that you are the waitstaff and you can collect tips all night long.
     
  13. NeedForTweed123

    NeedForTweed123 Senior member

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    Yeah I get that, and I'm all about following the rules of formality, but if you want to talk about the real world, these outfits are basically dead. Sad, yes, but true. So I don't really think that wearing this outfit outside of a white tie specific event on a night like new years eve is that ridiculous anymore. It's honestly the only time a normal person would get to wear it, and it would be nice to not let the outfit die completely. Again, I totally understand your point and have read the rules and debates of social etiquette countless times. But I believe that sticking to certain archaic rules prove to be foolish. I don't disagree with them, but we live in a different world now where anything more than a t shirt and jeans is considered formal. If we stuck to what is appropriate socially, based on the efforts of others, I think many here would find it very difficult to wear all their beautiful tailored clothing. At some point in the modern age, you accept over dressing a bit or standing out in public because even sportjackets and trousers draw a lot of attention. So my final point is, who cares about the original origin of formal dress codes on a night like new years eve? Obviously nobody else cares, but on the opposite side of the spectrum. Nobody but us really even knows what white tie is. I would definitely get some odd looks, but I get those everyday anyway. I don't really think anyone would be insulted by my apparent lack of social etiquette. It's just not something many are concerned with. And at the end of the day, I'm just trying to wear a rare and beautiful outfit and have fun. Maybe it'll help trigger a revival lol.
     
  14. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    Again, as long as you're prepared to have people think you're basically in costume (which is totally fine at most NYE parties) then go for it. In some ways, I think it's better if you wear it to someplace that everyone else is in jeans vs. everyone else in cocktail attire for example. In order to pull off an outfit like that, you either need to be in a place where everyone takes formal dress very seriously, or nobody takes dress seriously at all.

    Yes, everyone today pretty much considers WT to be a "quirky tuxedo", but they'll think of it as a quirky tuxedo one would have worn 100 years ago, so they'll sort of think you're playing dress up. Once again, if you go in with that expectation, you'll probably have a pretty good time. If you go in taking yourself at all seriously in that getup, it could be an awkward night. Also, if you're bringing a wife/girlfriend/fiance/mistress make sure she's ok with you essentially going in costume. If it's an escort, don't worry as much ;).
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. RHS2362

    RHS2362 Member

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    I kinda agree with the OP in missing the black tie events and most of the ones I go to now the guys just don't get it. The tux is the suit where the man makes the suit rather than the suit making the man. A black tie event is all about the girl, her dress, her hair, her shoes, her jewelry, her perfume, etc. All the men are supposed to be wearing the same outfit with no frills and all the working parts of the suit covered. We separate ourselves from the other men with our attitude, hence we make the suit rather than the suit making us.

    When guys change up the rules of the black tie, it cuts down on the fun as it cuts down on the attitude coming out in the tux. When I wear my tux these days, I usually where a shirt with a fly covering the buttons rather than studs, as it cuts down on the formal aspect where half the men wear a tux & the other half wear a suit but I am still wearing my tux.

    I have a tux that is 20 years old that I bought back in the early 90s when I was in the banking/finance industry and everyone was still relatively formal. It is a cheap tux with a notch collar but everyone seems to be going that way on collars on pretty much every suit. I guess the notch collar fits the slim look better? I notice than Sean Connery wears a notched tux in his James Bond movies.

    I keep thinking I am going to upgrade to a fully canvassed tux but I have to look for places to wear it once a year.

    To the poster who has the white tie rig, wear it every chance you get, I love the look. I'd love a white tie outfit but I would never get a chance to wear it so I can't justify the expense. So if you can find a place to wear it, go for it.
     
  16. blackbowtie

    blackbowtie Senior member

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    The older I get the more my attitude towards clothing etiquette shifts towards the "live and let live" end of the spectrum. If Needfortweed wants to experience the joy of wearing white tie and the only occasion for him where that would not be completely inappropriate and out of place is NYE, then by all means he should do it (pace marcodalondra). If for no other reason than life is short, carpe diem etc.

    The only reservation I have is that white tie done right is an inherently formal garment (in contrast to black tie that was meant to be an informal and relatively frivolous garment). And to the uninitiated (and I include myself in this group) having fun in the context of a riotous and alcohol-fueled NYE's party while wearing a stiff detachable collar and a starched shirt front may take some getting used to.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  17. NeedForTweed123

    NeedForTweed123 Senior member

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    Well I'm pretty much always in an environment where nobody cares at all about dress etiquette so I'm used to standing out in general. And I would not take myself too seriously, I'd be having too much fun wearing it, but also acting like an aristocrat would just be putting on a facade anyway.
    I'm glad someone else shares the sentiment! I find that a lot of people here are so concerned with proper etiquette that they forget clothing should be fun. I dress for myself, and while I won't pretend to not care at all what anyone thinks, I realize most people are insecure about their own clothing and oblivious to any form of dressing well. So I don't let it bother me. I also find that mostly all of those old rules of etiquette don't apply anymore. While over dressing /under dressing is still very possible, it wouldn't be a slight or in poor taste to wear white tie on NYE, or even black tie for that matter. But I'm sure nobody would see people wearing black tie either. I would be doing it for myself, for my passion of clothing, and because I really really want an excuse to own a white tie ensemble.
     
  18. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    I'm a bit late to the whole white tie on NYE debate:

    I think that black tie on NYE is perfectly fine. Black tie is formal (by modern standards) but also celebratory and fun. It fits nicely into the NYE theme and quite a few commentators here have brought this up (I believe Will on ASW posted something also at some point). At any given party you go to, there are probably not going to be many (if any) people in black tie. I don't think in today's world that coming in white tie is going to be that much more of a big deal. I wouldn't do it personally, but at least part of that is because I am not going to bother to commission a tailcoat I'll never wear and I am content to have 5-6 excuses a year to wear black tie.

    As far as etiquette is concerned, it's important to differentiate between events where there is a specified or implied dress code and the large majority of social events which in my experience have no such rules. It is inappropriate to wear black tie or white tie to an event that calls for cocktail attire or business attire. It's inappropriate in most cases to outdress the groom at a wedding. Wearing a suit to an outdoor barbeque in most cases is going to be out of place (not to mention wearing a tie while manning a grill just sounds like a really dumb idea). There are plenty of other examples of things that are inappropriate, but basically if there is a defined dress code, you follow it. If there isn't a defined dress code, there's more leeway.

    At most NYE parties, there isn't a defined dress code. A lot of people use it as an excuse to dress up. Provided your NYE party doesn't have a defined dress code, I see no reason why you can't have some fun and wear white tie. Some people will think you are in costume (speaking of which, have you considered white tie for Halloween?). IMO the most important part of etiquette is not causing offence to your host or other guests. Provided you are not doing so, go nuts.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    Spot on advice. I'd even go one step further and inquire about what is really meant by BT-optional, and whether you'd be the only one availing themselves of the option, or the only one not. And while I agree about not out dressing the groom, there are some notable exceptions; some grooms will go tieless for a casual wedding, but wearing one is still fine, and some may opt for a more casual version of BT at a BT/BTO wedding, such as an ivory jacket in summer, and I don't think one need ratchet down their own formality based on this (particularly if you only have one BT outfit). It's also not a good idea to just ask what the groom will be wearing, since there are some times when the groom will be in black tie but no guest is expected to be and one doing so would look out of place.

    I like BT for NYE partly because it's really easy to transition it from what is considered, by today's standards, quite formal, to festive and fun, such as swapping the regular DJ for a velvet one, breaking out colorful links/studs/socks or a non-black waist covering. That dresses it down substantially and makes it great "party" attire.
     
  20. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    ^ Yeah, I agree with those exceptions, hence the "in most cases" qualifier. I think the better approach is to not ask the groom what he is wearing but what he expects the guests will be wearing. Being the only guy in a tuxedo outside of the wedding party is also sub-optimal, even if you are not technically dressed more formally than the groom.
     

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