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The State of Black Tie: Your Observations

AdductorMagnus

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Here's my tallest wing collar, which I alternate with an imperial collar which I think is about an inch lower. Couldn't find a picture unfortunately. The wing collar is uncomfortable in that I can't really turn my head past maybe 25-30° either side. Looking up is not really an option. The imperial collar on the other hand just feels like a stiff turndown.
20200706_132833.jpg
 

Mark from Plano

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Random question: does anyone still use the waistcoat buttons from the old dress sets? I can see how they make sense if you are using a white waistcoat. But you’d have to stick to the abalone or darker models to have it work with black barathea or silk
I think I’ve only ever used mine on a white waistcoat.

I would think that most of these sets originated for use with white tie and so were not designed for use on a black waistcoat, but perhaps I’m wrong about that.

My antique sets that have waistcoat buttons are from the 1920’s or earlier. My later sets don’t include waistcoat buttons.
 

Concordia

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It seems on the various websites that the ones with vest buttons are older. But many are not particularly aimed at white-tie affairs. Again, the abalone and jet-black ones. So perhaps this darker color was the way of adapting a white shirt and waistcoat to non-white-tie? The fact that they usually come in groups of four and not three suggests that it wasn't necessarily meant to be worn with tails.

I've actually thought of getting a white waistcoat to wear occasionally with a pique shirt for black tie. It wouldn't be especially visible, but would permit a slightly longer, uninterrupted, line from neck down to crotch-- without the hassle of wearing a bright red tie. The only catch right now is that I'd have the most use for it in the UK, where making black-tie too formal is considered 'naff'. Wing collars are definitely out. That may be because the soft, attached ones look so tacky, but over there, black-tie is no longer a patchwork of things made to dress down white tie ingredients for private affairs. Rather, it is a pretty well-established code of its own that doesn't reach too far beyond a blazer or dark suit. Also, most vests of this kind come with their own white MOP or covered buttons, so this may be over-thinking the problem.
 
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Mark from Plano

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Understood. I generally only wear the white waistcoat with a “dressed-up” version of black tie. I have a detachable wing collar shirt. In this rig it’s nice to have matching shirt and waistcoat studs.

However, the occasions for wearing this rig are few and far between. Maybe one of every ten black tie events.

This is the look I shoot for:

A5278BBE-7204-4B37-9C48-A0617C4F51CE.jpeg


It’s not a look I’d personally modify very much. If a turndown collar is called for (for example) I’d likely opt for a different waistcoat. But that’s just me.

I think this look is very elegant, but in my mind it’s a bit “all-or-nothing”. Peak lapel DJ, detachable wing collar shirt and white cotton waistcoat. I wouldn’t really consider wearing only one of the last two items without the other and wouldn’t wear the pair of them without the first. But again, that’s just me.

Oh, and alway opera pumps with this look.
 
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Zerase

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White vest and a black bowtie gives me waiter vibes. Having said that, I think it is a nice look.
 

Mark from Plano

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White vest and a black bowtie gives me waiter vibes. Having said that, I think it is a nice look.
I’ve never in my life seen a waiter who looked like the picture above, or really anything like it. But perhaps you eat in different restaurants than I do. 😉
 

Concordia

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This is the look I shoot for:

View attachment 1419216

It’s not a look I’d personally modify very much. If a turndown collar is called for (for example) I’d likely opt for a different waistcoat.
Excellent example, and useful qualms about the turndown collar. I suppose if I were to avoid wing collars (and I do have a starched one that I wore to a Cambridge graduation, with a white tie and bands but plain shirt), I'd probably peel the rest back to the more relaxed version of the rig.

Anyway, stuff to think about when there is nothing more interesting to do.
 

Zerase

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Haha well I never seen them too. And to be completely honest it is more of a white tie thing I believe. If you wear a black bow tie to a white tie set, you were usually the waiting staff. But that is from like 100 years ago ,)
 

Concordia

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Some time ago, Alan Flusser had a nice mannequin on his website with the most-formal black tie rig. Wing collar, white waistcoat. But a pique shirt, and not the fully-starched version that goes with tails.

As long as you're not actually wearing tails, I think the black tie is not too much of a solecism.
 

Concordia

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In this general theme, I have in sight a dress set that appears to have a spring broken in one of its shirt studs. Is that an expensive repair?
 

Concordia

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It seems on the various websites that the ones with vest buttons are older. But many are not particularly aimed at white-tie affairs. Again, the abalone and jet-black ones. So perhaps this darker color was the way of adapting a white shirt and waistcoat to non-white-tie? The fact that they usually come in groups of four and not three suggests that it wasn't necessarily meant to be worn with tails.
And here is someone more famous trying to prove me wrong: . Doesn't look too bad.
 
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Big A

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