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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. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If black tie is optional, I am wearing black tie. Not because of any complex social calculus, but because I like to make use of my tux. I could not care less if no one else wears one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
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  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Oh god. But are you surprised? At all?
     
  3. Van Veen

    Van Veen Senior member

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    Or maybe he's just a fan of Nucky Thompson...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    +1. Any excuse to wear the tux is good in my book.
     
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  5. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    Ok, you've taken quite a leap here. My position was that black tie is not an entirely unreasonable or unrealistic request for a wedding invitation (speaking nothing of my own preferences; just talking about black tie in general). You've taken five steps forward and declared that not only is black tie unreasonable, but in fact, anyone who requests black tie at his wedding is a selfish asshole. These are two different issues you're conflating.

    Regardless, I disagree that someone would request black tie necessarily for self-centered reasons. More likely than not, someone requests black tie because that happens to be the tradition in his culture, or that's the way his parents and grandparents did it, or that's what his church has requested (especially true at Catholic weddings), or that's what he believes to be proper, etc. Black tie may present an inconvenience to a lot of guests, and it may or may not be realistic for most of those guests to accommodate it. But I would never assume malice or selfishness on the part of the groom.

    The general rules of the game these days seem to be to treat black tie as black tie optional, anyhow. Those who have 'em wear 'em, and those who don't wear dark suits and ties. Nobody's going to play tux police, or deny admittance to those who aren't dressed properly. That would be a legitimately dick move.

    (On a side note, black tie is technically incorrect at a day wedding, and I do get a little annoyed by those who request it as such. But that's a very minor technicality).
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  6. johnvw

    johnvw Senior member

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    :fistbump:
     
  7. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    No what's insufferably elitist is your belief that you know "the rules" but that everyone else is an unwashed rube who doesn't. See my actual data point below.


    I didn't (specify a dress code) and they didn't (show up in khakis) and I don't (run in high social circles).

    I live in North Carolina, got married in 2008, did thermographed invitations in Edwardian Script with no dress code but with the ceremony time announced as "half after six o'clock in the evening". The men who owned tuxes wore them, and the rest wore suits. Maybe one sportcoat - I'd have to check the pictures. A few guys did consult with our most "fashion-forward" friend as to whether tuxes would be appropriate, and she properly told them that the ceremony time and invitation typeface implied that evening wear was welcome.

    We specifically omitted a dress code so as to not make the men who didn't own tuxes and didn't want to go to the expense of renting one feel like they were inadequate by having to opt out of "black tie optional".
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  8. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    "Cocktail attire" is ridiculously ambiguous. I have a "cocktail attire" event next month at a local museum. I'm torn between wearing a Brioni tux and ordering Vespers, or a Jack Daniels t-shirt & Canada Dry ballcap (backwards of course) and chugging bourbon & gingers....
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
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  9. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I agree "cocktail attire" is a silly designation, but it basically means men should wear jackets and women should wear a skirt or dress.
     
  10. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    Obama wore a peak-lapel tailcoat to the Al Smith Dinner, though a size or two large, with a turndown-collar shirt with black studs; Romney wore wing collar with black studs; Gary Johnson wore - oh wait, he wasn't invited. Screw Al Smith.
     
  11. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    #winning
     
  12. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    That's pretty good that you were able to get people to wear a tuxedo to your wedding without explicitly stating so. I think you were only able to pull it off is because of your "fashion-forward" friend and that you do run in higher social circles than you admit/realize. The comment about the Briono tuxedo kind of confirms that for me. Most people I know don't own a tuxedo, would never consider wearing one to a wedding unless they were explicitly told to do so, have never heard of Brioni, and will never own a garment even approaching the price of someting from Brioni.
     
  13. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This thread is insane.
    BTW, at the wedding I went to (which started this diversion), on one occasion I found myself in a small group where I was the only one not in the wedding party and thus not in a tux. It was o.k.

    And despite the warning I got, had I showed up in a tux, that would have been o.k., too. It was a wedding. People were happy. Nobody really cared what anyone wore.
     
  14. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    My view is that adults can make their own decisions and you don't have to worry about offending by stipulating black tie as a host. If they don't want to pay to rent a dinner suit and would rather not attend, it's up to them. Just don't be offended if they don't show up.
     
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  15. musicmax

    musicmax Senior member

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    Well, Charlotte has a run of five big dressy-but-reasonably-priced Christmas parties within a two-week span that my "gang" has frequented for years, as well as a smattering of other such events geared to young- and young-at-heart professionals, so it makes sense for all of us to own penguin suits.

    eBay, Last Call, and Century 21 are your friends :)
     
  16. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It depends. Obviously, you know your own invite list, but it is not hard to imagine having relatives that you would like to attend but know that they couldn't easily afford to rent a tux and you wouldn't want to make them feel bad. If I had an evening wedding here, I would probably not specify anything, or else specify evening attire, which would be vague enough to mean the right thing to each person that saw it.
     
  17. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, we did not specify any form of dress for our own wedding, and the wedding party wore suits, not black tie. Nobody showed up in a tux, even though it was an evening wedding. Maybe my background is too surburban, but I think the vast majority of our family friends would never think to wear a dinner suit unless explicitly asked to do so, regardless of the event's timing.

    Anyway . . .

    We didn't specify black tie exactly for the reason you point out, that there were some important guests we wanted to make sure could attend for whom renting a dinner suit would have been a burden. Yet, had I specified black tie, I doubt those same individuals would have been offended. The decision came down to how we wanted our wedding to turn out, not whether it would be rude to state "black tie" on our invitations.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  18. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Al Smith is dead.
     
  19. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    . . . long live Al Smith?
     
  20. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Lighten up, Francis. I didn't say any of what you ascribe to me. It's great that you run in circles where men still wear tuxedoes. This may be a function of your locale, not easily translated to other parts of the country. In my experience in Missouri, Texas, and California, I could count the number of non-wedding-party tuxedoes on one hand (this excludes iGent-type events, of course).

    BTW, am I supposed to be amused, tweaked, or offended by your changing my screen name? Just let me know so that I can react accordingly.
     

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