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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. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    I would agree with those who hold that the forum group hatred toward notch-lapel tuxes is a bit silly. They were around in the pre-WWI era. I'll concede that they seem to have lapsed into abeyance during the "golden age," but they have been back in force since at least the 1960s. The notch-lapel echoes the historical fact that the tuxedo began as a casual garment. Styles do change after all, and after something has been current for almost a half-century, one can hardly regard it as a novelty subversive of "proper" black tie.

    So, while I would never get a notch-lapel tuxedo (in the unlikely event I ever needed a tuxedo), I cannot say that there is an inherent "wrongness" to it or that a man otherwise well turned out and wearing a notch-lapel is ipso facto substandard in his dress.
     
  2. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    1 - My impression is that it derives from the tailcoat, which is always peak-lapeled. I'm sure this was bent early on, but as the morning coat is generally peak-lapeled as well, it's my impression that peak lapels are for formal attire. Somebody explain to me how SF invented these rules.

    2 - He looks great because he is an extremely handsome man (no homo). He would look better in peak lapels. (edit: or a shawl, as the other picture shows)

    3 - Again, these rules are not random and they are not SF clique. They're not even really rules as they are broken too often to be called rules. "Standard" maybe? Idk...in any case, again, I emphasize, I am not suggesting sticking with them because they are anybody's rules or suggestions. It's just what looks best, and, as a side benefit, does the most honor to the history of the garment.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  3. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's a more casual version of a formal garment. It was never a "casual" garment. And again, my argument is not that it's "wrong". It's just never the best you'll look in a tuxedo.
     
  4. Butler

    Butler Senior member

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    + 1
     
  5. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    "So, while I would never get a notch-lapel tuxedo (in the unlikely event I ever needed a tuxedo), I cannot say that there is an inherent "wrongness" to it or that a man otherwise well turned out and wearing a notch-lapel is ipso facto substandard in his dress."

    +1

    Good if we could put this hoary old chestnut to bed. It's not wrong. It's just most of us think other options are better. I feel the same in reverse about the recent fashion for peaked lapels on SB day suits. Lots of historical precedents, and not wrong, but not an option I'd personally entertain.
     
  6. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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  7. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'd put it in roughly the same category as flapped pockets, maybe a bit less egregious. It's not wrong, it just doesn't look right to me.
     
  8. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Quote:
    Well, it was casual by the standards of the people who came up with it. Essentially it is an adapted smoking jacket. The proto-tuxedos would therefore have had shawl collars, which to me is still what looks best in evening wear. Peak or notch lapel tuxedos are both later hybrids. Also fine, I am sure, but they lack that certain FU quality that characterised the original intent and turn it into something about rules.
     
  9. rs232

    rs232 Senior member

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    What's the rule/consensus on silk pocket jettings?
     
  10. pvrhye

    pvrhye Senior member

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    To be fair all of these notch pictures are from the late 60's, which is basically the twilight of good taste.
     
  11. Superfluous

    Superfluous Senior member

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    While we're on formalwear talk, what's the go-to with pants. Pleats? No pleats? Cuff? Plain Bottom?

    Also, what's the deal with formal jackets without matching pants? Smoking jackets? How and what do you wear them with and what for?
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  12. Spong

    Spong Well-Known Member

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    I realise this is a Black Tie thread but on a related note -

    I quite understand, and agree with, the many posters here who hold Black Tie traditions, conventions and standards in high regard, and who lament the apparent fading of such classic dress in modern times.

    However, I find it outright peculiar that on the other hand you simply don't hear such protestations on virtually any other fading or faded sartorial category with a traditional and practical grounding equaling Black Tie.

    A pair of prime examples would be classic hats or ascots/cravats, in fact these two particular examples are just as steeped in historical importance, yet when brought up they frequently receive contempt and vitriol instead of the praise Black Tie is almost universally (within iGent circles) granted.

    I don't want to hijack this into an ascot/hat discussion as there are plenty of them around already, I simply find it strange the selectiveness of what is considered classical, practical, stylish AND worth saving from history and heritage in the general forum consensus.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
    1 person likes this.
  13. LaoHu

    LaoHu Senior member

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    [​IMG]

    David, notch; Winthrop, notch; John D. III, DB peak; Nelson, SB peak; Laurance, shawl.
     
  14. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    I remember in the 80's being told that notch-lapeled tuxes weren't ideal. No idea whom by. Maybe my sister.

    I agree w/ the OP that standards are lower.
     
  15. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  16. Holdfast

    Holdfast Senior member

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    I think it's easy to figure out - and understand - the roots of the difference: black tie events, via the enforced dress code, socially permit the eccentricity of wearing of anachronistic items like Black Tie. However, the context of wearing Black Tie these days is socially completely different to the role in had before. It's no longer night-time formalwear; it's a party costume. Another example is wearing morning dress to a wedding: common enough, so the costume retains a certain modern social acceptability. But only within that context. You wouldn't wear it to work instead of a suit. These formal dress codes have become costume dress instead, and they're only acceptable when worn to an appropriate costume event. Sad maybe, but true.

    Wearing anachronistic clothes items in normal daily life also has a costume effect; many dislike being thought of as wearing a costume. Myself, I don't mind that tag (in moderation anyway; or rather, I want people to think it's an stylish costume), so I do occasionally wear anachronistic items. But not everyone has a lifestyle that permits that flexibility, and more would probably not want to project that image in the first place. How can it be judged what is anachronistic and what is not? No hard & fast rule; it's based simply on what the average person in your intended circle of contacts thinks.
     
  17. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    I have joked that unlike women who are panicked when they see another woman wearing the same dress, I am the opposite. I get panicked when I'm not dressed like all the other men! Also, I have thought the man is for contrast - he should dress so that the woman stands out. (N.B. this is in the context of relatively formal gala or other fete type events)

    My understanding from the teleological prospective is that Beau Brummell, changed the peacocking of court dress to a serious more military style. Conservative men's style has been on that same track since.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  18. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well stated, FC - I appreciate your input. I am certainly one of those who does NOT have a native fluency in black tie. As I said in my first post in this thread, I've never worn black tie, and I may never wear black tie. And this saddens me, because I feel like the elegant evenings you describe are a valuable and stylish thing in a man's life. My suggestions to try and bring about a renaissance of black tie stem not from a desire to look better than everyone else, but to encourage a proliferation of the social atmosphere that you eloquently describe. And, to the extent that this is possible, it seems right that the originators of such a movement would want to propose as stylish an evening as possible, not to set rules of exclusion, but elevate the events they create. As I said before, I would never think less of anyone who was wearing notch lapels or flap pockets. Especially if they were an otherwise invigorating party participant.
     
  19. Holdfast

    Holdfast Senior member

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    You wrote your post at the same time I was writing mine, and there's a lot I agree with in it and tangentially echoed (from a different angle, admittedly) in my preceding post.

    However, I do think you're heavily romanticising the role & meaning of historical Black Tie in this quoted excerpt from that longer post of yours. Black Tie was simply a semi-formal dress code used for dinners between people from a certain class. Uniformity was not desired in order to create equality, but rather to define the boundaries of the event (i.e. "it's dinnertime, and this is what we do at dinnertime"). Remember, this was a dress code that at one point was adhered to even within the privacy of one's own home in certain circles, more worn out of a sense of obligation, duty and routine rather than with the aim of fun or inclusiveness. Now, it DID become what you're talking about, but only, I'd suggest from (roughly) the '60s onwards as people latched on to the idea of (to use your phrase) a festive elegant dress code to distinguish the gradually increasing informality and variation in the rest of their dress.

    Nowadays, it is largely an instruction to follow a specific costume party theme (which, incidentally is what positively encourages greater deviation from the standard, and gives room for personal expression. After all, if it's just a costume, you can riff on it how you like and it means nothing). I will leave it to others to debate whether this is a good or bad change (actually, I'm pretty agnostic on that issue. I'm not sure whether having worn black tie fairly frequently makes me more or less likely to side for or against, actually).
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011
  20. james_timothy

    james_timothy Senior member

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    Saving for later... carry on.
     

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