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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. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Really? I'm not trying to be argumentative here - and I'll allow for the possibility that sometimes rules can be broken to positive effect (although within semi-formal wear I can't say I've ever seen it) - but you're suggesting something different, which is that breaking some rules has value for its own sake. Which I really don't understand. Particularly in a setting that is now so rare that few people know the rules anyway. In that case, don't you just want to look as good as possible? And can you deny that the rules in this case pretty much ensure that?
     


  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I don't think wearing a tux is supposed to be "interesting", or "fun". It is about formality and blending in, specifically the time FOR that.
     


  3. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Just to elaborate a bit more - there was a time when evening dress was worn frequently, to the extent that it might provide a welcome deviation from the ordinary just to alleviate the boredom of uniformity (although even this I am skeptical of). Now, it is so rare to see someone in fully correct evening dress (even at a black tie event, as foo points out), that there is certainly no danger of this. And said by-the-book attired individual will look better than every man in his vicinity.
     


  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Nobody cracks a raw egg over their head before heading out for a walk. I'll show them how to have fun . . .


    Part of the appeal of black tie for men is that it gives the women an evening to really standout. Also, typically we only wear black tie when specifically asked by the host of the event to which we have been invited. It seems utterly rude and disrespectful not to comply to one's best ability.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011


  5. scurvyfreedman

    scurvyfreedman Senior member

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    I attended a Black Tie wedding in NYC about a month ago.

    One well dressed man was wearing a midnight blue, peak lapel dinner suit with a real satin black bowtie and a turn down collar. His jacket did have two buttons, though. He had gold studs and cuff links. Don't know about cummerbund as he was always buttoned. He had a cream colored silk square.

    Another was wearing a single button, peak lapel in black with a turn down collar with fly front, MOP cuff links, a real satin black bowtie and cummerbund (although it never showed), but the jacket had side vents. He had a white linen square. That person was me.

    Everyone else was either wearing a clip on bowtie 40% or a 4-in-hand tie 60% and notch lapels. Other than the two referenced above, no one had anything other than notch lapels. Only one person wore what was obviously a suit rather than what is marketed as a dinner suit.
     


  6. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Let's talk about this a bit - is it ever stylish to wear black tie when not requested? Modern day occasions which are no longer black tie, but you could conceivably wear a tux:

    1) opera/theater/symphony (do you get mistaken for someone in the orchestra?)
    2) fundraisers?

    other suggestions? Do you look like a douchebag if everyone else is in a suit and tie and you have teh tux? Maybe it depends on the person (cue :foo: arguments against this idea)
     


  7. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I think in this day an age depending on the social circle, (the majority of them) if a host asks their guests to attend an event in black tie they will be seen as pompous and/or a lot of people would rather opt out of the event than bother to try and dress for it, even if renting a tux were a simple thing. I don't like that this is the case, but it is kind of true. Semi-formal and formal dressing people find irritating and presumptuous.

    As for giving the women time to shine. I guess. I can see that perspective, but for me womanwear whether formal, or not is more or less the same to me. I have no eye for it. Anything that is not jeans and a tank-top I think is wonderful on a woman.
     


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I think you'd look ridiculous as the only person at any event in a dinner suit. I don't know how things used to be, but in the U.S. today, black tie is only ever expected when specifically requested. So, to wear it outside of such instances would appear wildly odd and miscued.

    That said, there are occasions and settings (such as the opera) where black tie is regularly, if not universally, worn. In those cases, I'd probably dress as formal as the range of reasonable expectations allows, even if many or most other men are simply in suits.
     


  9. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Two years ago I wore my black suit and black wholecuts to the opera. I didn't try to make it look like a tux, but it seemed a more appropriate time for a black suit.. It had been a long time since I had remembered going to one when I was young when I wore a typical suit the the opera. I was slightly embarassed that I was going to be underdressed. Then I saw most the people around me looking like they just came from the beach... It was disgusting.
     


  10. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Yea I'd agree with Patrick's comment on the opera, at least in my experience. These days it seems rare to go and see anyone but an orchestra member in a tux. Similar to a boxing match - Michael Buffer wears one, the TV crew wears one, that's about it.
     


  11. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Jewfro Dubiously Honored

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    Also, any suggestions for other events where at least there's a chance someone else might wear a tux?
     


  12. tj100

    tj100 Senior member

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    In my recent experience, black tie varies quite a bit depending on the event and who is hosting it. I go to several "black tie" fundraisers every year, and the quality of dress varies quite a lot. I would note that there seems to be a direct relationship between the cost of the event and the quality of clothing (events targeting young professionals at the <$250 range bring out a lot of matching colored ties and cummerbunds, events at the $2,500+ range tend to be more classic).

    Weddings IME are the most consistently true to "the rules". The last one I was at had about 500 guests; and I don't recall anybody trying to pull off a suit as a tux, but there were very few men following all of the rules. The most frequent offenders were:

    1. Shoes. 95% of guys were wearing their office captoes or other black shoes. Very few patents or pumps. I would assume that this is due to rentals - people don't mind renting a tux, but renting the shoes is a bridge too far.

    2. Notch lapels. This is a tough one, because probably 75% of tuxedos sold have notch lapels, so they are definitely in the majority.

    3. Buttons. The one-button is a rarity.

    4. Vents. No vents is probably more common than proper lapels/buttons.

    5. Shirts. I'd say most people had a proper shirt. There was a period where the white business shirt was an understated "FU, I go to so many of these things all my tux shirts are at the cleaners", but that seems to have passed.

    6. Colored ties/cummerbunds. Quite rare on the wedding circuit, quite common at fundraisers.
     


  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I'm way too 99% to answer that very well, but black tie events I've been invited to include: weddings (obviously), charity dinners, embassy dinners, and school/alumni-related events.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011


  14. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    Two black tie events in the last thirty days, no less. A lot of fun. Probably no more than a third of the male guests wore something approaching proper black tie, but I didn't care. I received many compliments and one phone number so I am quite content.
     


  15. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    This is depressing. Sounds like the day will come when a plain black suit is more correct than a proper dinner jacket.
     


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