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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. landshark

    landshark Senior member

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    You will not be able to have a suit that is both technically appropriate for a true "black tie" setting as well as less formal setting where men will only be in suits.

    What you are looking for is either a Midnight Blue or Black suit. One button, peak lapel, & double vented. Put on a cummerbund and black bowtie and you have something that resembles and may even pass off as a tuxedo. Wear a long neck tie or open collar and you have a dark suit that will be appropriate for less formal evening events.
     


  2. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Wait, you smell that?
    OK. good point guys, thanks. I thought the jacket with peak, grosgrain lapels, one button and jetted pockets with grossgrain trim was more versatile and not stricly a "tuxedo" jacket. Looks like I am mistakenly looking at it more from a GQ magazine pov (i.e., trying to treat it other than it is).

    Looks like I need to consider whether I really need the grosgrain touches and should just opt for the midnight peak lapel suit with suspenders...
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012


  3. Archivist

    Archivist Senior member

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    The dinner jacket with white vest, black tie, and shirt with a soft turndown collar was a nice look, it's too bad it didn't last.

    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]

    Same rig but with a stiff wing collar

    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]

    King of Jazz, 1930. Fun fact, this was an early two color process technicolor film.
     


  4. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Black Tie Guide says "often worn unbuttoned", not "never".
     


  5. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    Peter is more forgiving than am I.
     


  6. Digmenow

    Digmenow Senior member

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    Could you please expound on the jacket's fit?


    • When having it altered, is waist suppression a good thing or should it be more sack like?
    • Do I button it to allow the tailor adjust it to my body or is there simply no way to have an OTR (thrifted :embar: ) jacket drape properly if left unbuttoned?


    I understand each of the words separately but together, they do not quite make teh sense to me.

    Please assume a shawl collar/single cloth covered button.
    Cummerbund or semi-formal vest?

    Most exerrent. Many tanks.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012


  7. calogero

    calogero Well-Known Member

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    It's been a while since I went to a black tie event, but the last time I did (a 21st about 1.5 years ago) I was shocked. There was one person out of about 50 who wore a suit. A handful wore casual collared shirts (sleeves rolled up), and the majority were just wearing t-shirts and jeans. I died a little inside that night.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012


  8. Kaplan

    Kaplan Senior member

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    He means cummerbund better with shawl collar, waistcoat better with peak lapels :)
     


  9. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    The odds that you will find a sack tuxedo these days seems pretty remote to me. When I think of "waist suppression," I think of something a bit more complex than taking in the sides. The degree to which you might have it done depends on (1) what is consistent with the style of the jacket, (2) your own physique and aesthetic objectives, (3) what is physically possible concerning what can be altered, and (4) the skill the tailor has and the degree of work he is willing to put into your alterations.

    Alterations done to a dinner jacket are no different in concept or process than alterations done to a regular jacket. A good tailor will see how it fits both fastened and not.

    My advice would be not to worry too much about these things if you are thrifting. The point of thrifiting would seem to be economy, and economy is usually inconsistent with getting something to fit really well. So, why worry about it? Just get the basic alterations that you need and then go have fun.


    Cummerbunds look better to me with roll/shawl lapel jackets. The rounded shapes are familial, and each shares its orgination in the more personal/informal history of dinner dress, which is the smoking jacket for the shawl lapel version of the dinner jacket, and the sash for the cummerbund.

    If you go back before WWI, pretty much every possible combination of features and accessories was present for dinner clothes. You would be wise to not seek inspiration from that period unless your intent is to affect an extremely antique or eccentric style today.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012


  10. blackbowtie

    blackbowtie Senior member

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    Where did this black tie event take place? Jeans and t-shirts? Really? Did you perhaps misread the dress code on the invitation? ;)
     


  11. calogero

    calogero Well-Known Member

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    Waaait, I retract that. 'Cocktail dress' was the code, and it was at the birthday person's home.

    I still think it's unacceptable that people would rock up in t-shirts for such an event.
     


  12. TimelesStyle

    TimelesStyle Senior member

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    I don't personally subscribe to the "leave a SB DJ unbuttoned at all times philosophy. I know that people say it stems from white tie tradition, but a tail coat has no buttonholes and cannot be closed. Furthermore, I've long been under the impression that a big part of the reason for a waist covering is that you don't want the "triangle" of shirt that one would see when a jacket is buttoned but gaping a bit below the button to show. Otherwise, if one chose a shirt with hidden buttons there would be no need for a waste covering.
     


  13. Artigas

    Artigas Senior member

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    I dunno if the waistcoat is specifically intended to hide a shirt triangle, as the higher-waisted trousers of yesteryear did a pretty good job of that in and of themselves. IDK, I had read that it was just to cover one's waistband. :confused:
     


  14. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    So far, the world has not exploded when the following things have happened:

    1. When someone leaves a sleeve button unbuttoned.

    2. When someone buttons the bottom button of their lounge vest.

    3. When someone neglects to button a button in their button fly.

    4. When someone buttons the bottom button of their two or three button SB jacket.

    5. When someone buttons up their SB tuxedo jacket.

    But why risk it? We have yet to find another Earth-like planet, and if this one explodes, we are shit out of luck.
     


  15. Digmenow

    Digmenow Senior member

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    Ah. I was hoping that was the case but couldn't quite be certain. Thanks.

    I have read, with interest, your recent posts regarding "waist suppression". This was a term with which I was unfamiliar until my arrival here at styleforum, last year. You are correct that I mistook that term to mean, "have the side seams taken in" as that was constantly hammered into me during my early days here when the adjective most frequently used to describe my fits was "boxy". No doubt, I have taken that advice to the extreme and I'm now seeking a more natural yet unboxy look.

    Regarding thrifting, I have located what I consider to be a dinner suit of significantly higher quality than the usual Stanley Blacker rental units found in most thrift stores. I went so far as to spend the grand sum of $50 for it (twice the amount that I spent for my BB 1818 Madison). Research seems to indicate that it would have originally retailed in the high three to low four figure range which is where I currently live in my quest for ever better suits. Let's just say that I'm trying to move beyond the basic Brooks Brothers / H. Freeman & Sons suits in my rotation and I'm hoping that this new acquisition will represent a step in that direction. My tailor is adequate for my needs and price range, although it could be argued that a more talented/expensive tailor would yield a better result but you have commented on a number of my fits previously and I have been encouraged by your approval in the latter instances. That alone, tells me that I can continue on my current path as confidence in my own sense of what fits me grows.


    Extremely antique or eccentric style is exactly what I hope to avoid! Your explanation of the relationship of the cummerbund to the shawl lapel has illuminated yet another dark corner of WHY we should wear what we wear. It is appreciated.

    If you would further indulge me, would you offer a bit more advice as I try to nail down this suit?

    • I will be obtaining a shirt(s) with point collars to wear with it. It has been established previously that a spread collar that reaches the lapels is more complimentary to my appearance. Is this desirable in formal wear or should I go for a more downward point?
    • Suggestions for studs/cufflinks? I always thought that basic black was the ideal but now I am aware of MOP.

    Thanks, in advance.
     


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