The State of Black Tie: Your Observations

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

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  1. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    My hesitation in going this way is that the tie/cummerbund (if you go with one) should match the facings but also shouldn't be blue (otherwise it would be "blue tie"). Also, the idea that midnight appears "blacker than black" in the right light wouldn't necessarily apply to the silk facings (satin or grosgrain).
     


  2. Metlin

    Metlin Senior member

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  3. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    Given his current job I would hope he'd know how to do suits and black tie, both of which are done quite well on the show (though I'm not a fan of buttoning both jacket buttons).
     


  4. blackbowtie

    blackbowtie Senior member

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    Yes, the ones I've been to in DC have usually been white tie optional, and even where the invite only says "White Tie" an overwhelming majority turns up in black tie (me included). I've been debating getting a set of white tie attire for the longest time, but have not had the courage to take the plunge. Maybe if i keep going to these balls, I should get one after all.

    Also, as someone who enjoys Viennese waltz, the ultimate dream would be to go to Vienna during the ball season, and THAT would undoubtedly justify getting white tie attire (but that's presumably another thread).
     


  5. Achillus

    Achillus Senior member

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    Nothing wrong with it, you could wear that colour with a grey suit.
     


  6. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    My argument had been in favor of black facings, not against midnight fabric for the rest of the suit.
     


  7. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    I've gone through this thread and am still confused about terminology as it relates to formal wear. I'm thinking of commissioning a suit from Chan that can be worn for most formal occassions. Whether I can get away with it for "Black Tie" I suppose depends on what I understand:


    • When reference is made to a "dinner jacket" - what are the correct pants to wear with it?
    • How is a dinner jacket or dinner suit different than a tuxedo?
    • Are dinner jackets and tuxedo jackets suppose to have vents or is ventless or double vents entirely personal preference?
    • How do the pants differ, if at all between a dinner suit and tuxedo? Is it the striping along the side?

    Would appreciate any opinions on my proposed configurations for my "formal suit" I can use for attending weddings (hell, maybe my own if it ever happens), opera, NYE or random formal events that don't come up often for me:

    Jacket
    • Midnight blue in a mohair blend fabric, single breasted, one button (what is proper color of the button - also blue?).
    • Peak lapel with black grosgrain facings.
    • Double vents.
    • Quarterlined.
    • Jetted straight pockets.

    Pants
    • Midnight blue in a mohair blend fabric, no cuffs.
    • Side tabs, no belt loops. But I'm also interested in having suspender buttons included. Would this require the cut of the pants to be less slim than I would typically wear with suit pants?
    • Off seam pockets.
    • One or two back pockets?

    Should I also commission a vest with this? If so, would something like a dove grey single breasted work with midnight blue silk back, or should it also be entiretly midnight blue?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  8. Archivist

    Archivist Senior member

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    Limeys vs. Yankees.
     


  9. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    TR, everything that you have decided to do is fine.

    Tuxedo is an Amercanism for what the British call a dinner suit. They are the same thing today. What makes it a suit is that the jacket and pants are in the same fabric.

    A dinner suit takes semi-formal pants, which have a single side braid, typically in the same material as the facings. Pants cut for suspenders are ideally a bit loose, which allows the suspenders to do their job in allowing a nice drape to the legs. Pants cut to be worn without suspenders can still take suspenders buttons. While you lose the graceful drape, suspenders can prevent the dreaded pooling of pants at the ankles

    Acceptable jacket buttons on a black or midnight tuxedo are black plastic, highly polished near-black horn, or fabric-covered buttons done in the same fabric as the facings. The fabric on the button can be smooth or interwoven in a jaquard pattern. A nice touch on a SB jacket are link buttons: at the buttoning point, there is a buttonhole on either side. Two fastening buttons are joined like cufflinks. It's an archaic detail, though, since you would never fasten an SB jacket. Because you never fasten an SB jacket, ventless is as practical as vented in a way that it is not for a DB, since a DB is always closed, Dougie dancing or Macarena notwithstanding. Midnight blue semi-formal pants look nicer with odd dinner jackets (cream, tartan, etc), so that's an advantage.

    Because an SB jacket remains unfastened, a waist covering is essential. This can be a cummerbund, but better in a full dinner suit with peaked lapels rather than a roll/shawl collar is a semi-formal vest. A semi-formal vest is black. There are many designs, both SB and DB. The archtypical vest is the black version of the full dress vest, which is white, but anything cut low is correct. A semi-formal vest is done in same fabric as the dinner suit, preferentially with lapels is self fabric rather than in the jacket facings. Since you are doing a quarter lining in the jacket, consider a backless vest. Backless looks loopy with the jacket off, though.

    Full dress vests in white were originally worn with dinner jackets, but with white tie. This was generally replaced with the black vest, black tie combo. The Duke of Windsor reintroduced the dress vest in white, but with black tie, making it fashionable at the time. This remains okay, but it is very formal for most occasions.

    How's that?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  10. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    Black tie = Tuxedo = Dinner Jacket* = Smoking**

    * Note that 'Dinner Jacket' refers to the whole get up, not just the jacket. Also some times called 'Dinner Suit' but still the same thing.

    ** 'Smoking' may only carry this exact same meaning in Scandinavia and maybe Germany.

    Now, I'm no Black Tie authority, but I'll try to address a couple of your questions just the same - hopefully the resident experts will be along to correct any glaring mistakes.


    •When reference is made to a "dinner jacket" - what are the correct pants to wear with it?
    •How is a dinner jacket or dinner suit different than a tuxedo?
    •How do the pants differ, if at all between a dinner suit and tuxedo? Is it the striping along the side?


    As stated above, Dinner Jacket/Dinner Suit/Tuxedo are the same thing and so are the pants: Made from the same fabric as the jacket and with a single braid along outside seams to match lapel facings.


    •Midnight blue in a mohair blend fabric, single breasted, one button (what is proper color of the button - also blue?).

    As for buttons, cloth covered seems the most classic. One button front for a SB and four at the cuffs. For a midnight DJ with black facings I guess you could go either way with the button colour - maybe check with the tailor?


    •Double vents.

    No vents is the classic option.


    Should I also commission a vest with this? If so, would something like a dove grey single breasted work with midnight blue silk back, or should it also be entiretly midnight blue?

    A standard part of Black Tie is the waist covering (not necessary with a DB as it's supposed to remain closed. For a SB this means either a waistcoat or a cummerbund. A cummerbund should be the same colour as the jacket facings, a low-cut evening waistcoat the same colour as the suiting.


    Also, http://www.blacktieguide.com/ is a pretty solid resource.


    Edit: Wrote this while Voxbera posted so everything here is probably covered in the post above.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  11. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    FC and Kaplan, you are awesome. Thanks very much.

    So as for SB jackets, is there a particular reason it is never fastened? So the convention of buttoning while standing for lounge or business suits doesn't apply to DJs?

    Also, the vest is suppose to be the same fabric as the suit - does this imply color as well, so something like a dove grey would not be traditional? But if i were to go with grey, would that be a disaster or still acceptable?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  12. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    SB dinner jackets trace back to full dress, for which coats are worn unfastened.

    I wouldn't do dove gray...a contrasting vest would be for morning wear, except for a strict white full dress vest as I mention above.

    A "fun" vest could be okay for a tuxedo, but only as an option for someone with a full black tie season.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  13. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Last question (promise). I'm assuming the braiding on the trousers elevates it to black-tie appropriate dress. Given that my attendance to black tie is rare (although the point is I would want to be prepared in any such event), and I want to be able to wear the suit to less formal events, like weddings where no specific dress is designated or nice dinners on the town, should I still opt for the braided trousers, go for plain or just order a pair of each while I'm at it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  14. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    The details of both the coat and pants of correct black tie will pretty much mark them as such, so they're not really something you can dress down as non black tie. That said, the correct black tie pants (with a single braid along outside seams to match lapel facings) can be used with several types of jacket: A SB or DB in the same colour as well as a SB or DB in ivory as well as more casual smoking jackets in plaid or velvet. Don't get plain pants for this, IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  15. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    There would be no point to pants without the seams finished with a dinner jacket.

    It you want something less formal, better a dark or midnight blue regular suit with a FIH or bow. Skip the tuxedo altogether.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


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