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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. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    Stay away from the patent!
     
  2. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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    Why do you say that?
     
  3. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    I dislike patent shoes. I do not think they make a DJ or any other style of clothes look better. I much prefer a pair of well polished black calf shoes with black tie.
     
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  4. Veremund

    Veremund Senior member

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  5. random-adam

    random-adam Senior member

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    I'll set aside for now the eminent suitability of black cap-toes for weddings, interviews, and funerals. It may be a shortcoming of my intellect, but—regardless of claims made by Allen Edmonds and countless tuxedo rental companies—I cannot wrap my brain around how black patent bluchers might somehow be more formal than shined and bulled black calf cap-toe balmorals.
     
  6. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    +1. I own a pair of black plain toe balmorals in calf and just make sure they are well shined. Any concern I might possibly have about breaking the rules goes away when I see the shoes that most of the other men are wearing.
     
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  7. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    If you're going to get a patent leather shoe for black tie events, it should be a plain toe balmoral. I consider a plain toe calf balmoral to be more of a venial sin than wearing bluchers, even if they are in patent leather. The patent leather blucher is a useless bastardized shoe that deserves to die IMO.

    I do think the plain toe is important though.
     
  8. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    I don't know about you guys but I go to approximately 6-10 black tie events a year where almost all the men are in tuxedos. I started first wearing polished black shoes but it didn't look right. I moved to wearing patent leather shoes because they look better under artificial light and seem to better complement the occasion. I got the EG plain toe patent leather derbies with silk lacing from Leffot and I think they work quite well.
     
  9. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    ^ Where on earth are you going to black tie events where men are wearing proper shoes? I'm a bit envious. I probably go to 5-6 events a year where a majority of men are in tuxedos and see captoes, bluchers and loafers in calfskin, sometimes not even that well shined.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  10. poorsod

    poorsod Senior member

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    I'm in NYC. I agree that although most men are in tuxedos, their footwear can be wanting. I do give the elderly men in tuxedos and orthopedic shoes a pass. I'm not going to begrudge wearing orthopedic shoes because of diabetic feet.
     
  11. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've got my original pair of plain toe patent bals, made in Italy for Church, $150 circa 1992. (Back then "Custom Grade" made in England shoes were $300.) Since they are worn 4x in a busy year, they are still fine. Would not do a derb.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  12. ImTheGroom

    ImTheGroom Senior member

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    What sold me on getting a patent pair is that, as you wear them only with a tuxedo, they last forever, and continue to look new, getting worn only a handful of times per year. Otherwise i would have worn my cap toe oxfords. I find patent looks nice with the dinner suit's facings. Silk hose add for the same reason. Mine are in their box on the top shelf of my closet, staying beautiful until the black tie signal is seen in the sky.
     
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  13. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    I reject the entire notion that a derby is in any way inferior in formality, appearance or comfort to an Oxford. I realize this view is not in accordance with SF consensus, but don't care. Who decided this anyway? I understand that the evolution of each style occurred more or less concurrently so it comes down to personal taste.
     
  14. marcodalondra

    marcodalondra Senior member

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    A blucher/Derby is less formal then an Oxford/Balmoral, in and out of SF sources. However, as a person with a general problem in wearing most oxford due to a very high foot "neck" (and I do own a patent oxford that I wear where appropriate), for people in a similar situation or worst, a derby style is more comfortable and arguably better to look at, that an oxford.

    I do like a formal patent loafer with a silk band, like Ferragamo and JLP as a modern alternative to Opera Pumps, but the problem with the cheaper imitations is that they seem al to have a squarish/chiselled toe, rather then a more appropriate round one

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  15. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    me
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
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  16. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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    I know that Culverwood and I are in the minority, but I also dislike patent shoes. They look artificial and cheap to me.

    I have a pair of plain toe balmorals in black shell cordovan that I buff to a high shine. I really prefer the look of these shoes to patent.


     
  17. StephenB

    StephenB Senior member

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    Anyone have a lead on a RTW tuxedo matching the following?

    Midnight Blue
    1 button (covered) SB peak lapel
    Grosgrain lapel
    ventless (side vent OK if necessary)
    matching waistcoat (is this pushing it for RTW?)

    I'm on the smaller side (5'8" 140 lb) so I'm looking for a slimmer suit with lapels that arn't too wide (Suitsupply tux lapels being too wide for me) but also not "fashun" slim lapels either.

    Ideally for <1.5K (but show me anything)

    I know this is probably a long shot but if anyone knows where I can find one, this thread surely does!
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  18. WICaniac

    WICaniac Senior member

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    The central point of my earlier post was that formal shoes need to be plain toed. I don't deny that a pair of well-shined calf or cordovan cap-toed balmorals may look fine--and better than most shoes at your table--but they are not ideal for evening wear. Nor do I contest the idea that well-shined shoes may be substituted for patent. I also agree that a balmoral is preferable to a blucher, but there is nothing "wrong" with an open-laced shoe if it presents a sleek, unadorned toe. For what it's worth, I would rank the options under discussion thusly:

    1. Patent or exquisitely shined calf opera pumps.
    2. Patent or exquisitely shined PT balmorals.
    3 (T). Patent PT bluchers.
    3 (T). Patent loafer (the "modern" pump).

    Cap-toes are not on this list; were I to extend the list, they would fall below black glass bead loafers. Again, I mean no offense to anyone who wears cap-toes with a tux well, but they are a conspicuous departure from convention, and for good reason. A man in a tux should resemble a series of Vs: broad shoulders to narrow waist, hips to svelte ankles, and ankles to a tapered toe. Nothing should interfere with this diminishing line save bows on your pumps, which actually serve to make your feet look smaller. A cap-toe, on the other hand, causes the line to end in something of a bulb. Bluchers aren't as sleek as bals, but if they have the right shape they don't break up the line.

    Part of the prejudice against bluchers may be that they are not as "formal" as bals; you would wear cap-toed bals to a board meeting / inauguration but you reserve PTBs for casual wear. This isn't entirely applicable for evening wear, however, for which a slipper is de rigueur and shawl lapels are perfectly acceptable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
  19. ImTheGroom

    ImTheGroom Senior member

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    Formality, unlike style, does have hard and fast rules. The decision that Oxfords are more formal may well have been arbitrary, but it was agreed upon at one point. Without rules, it ceases to be formal, I.e. having a consistent form.

    Of course, this does open the argument that black tie has evolved with significant latitude, and therefore it's footwear should be no different. I would argue that there is already quite a lot of latitude in what is considered correct black tie footwear. Cap and plain toe Oxfords are acceptable, as well as opera pumps, formal loafers, and whole cuts, and each of these is acceptable in either high polished calf skin, or patent leather. I would agree that a plain toe Oxford is preferable to a cap toe, as less detail is always better than more. Bluchers' details, I think, are more noticeable, even if there is not actually more detail, because they sit atop the vamp, like a patch. So, in the same way that patch pockets are the least formal option for a jacket, bluchers are the least formal option for a dress shoe.

    In the end, I would say it comes down to how formal an event you are attending. I think that, at a relatively informal black tie event, a blucher is not altogether inappropriate. I would, however, wear calf skin rather than patent leather. This would be my hierarchy of shoes, from most formal to least formal, with material being a personal preference:

    Opera pump
    Formal loafer (patent only) or whole cut
    Plain toe Oxford
    Cap to Oxford
    Plain toe blucher
    Cap toe blucher
    Black brogues
    Black and white Spectators
    All black custom chucks
    Black and white standard chucks (if it's good enough for the doctor...)

    Sorry, the post seemed so serious it needed some levity. Please do not blame me for sideways glances you receive when going with anything below cap toe oxford on my list. :p
     
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  20. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    This explains a lot.
     

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