• Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Please visit ou very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are posted, including the latest, updated, very comprehensive, Styleforum Black Friday Sales List

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

The state of white tie

Andy57

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
3,902
Reaction score
10,148
Interesting. I've always thought black tie felt more like another suit - comfortable and sharp, but not too much different.
Why do you think that?
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
Why do you think that?
Probably because of the lack of tails and cutaway front, but it's also that I wear black tie more often and the silhouette of the full-dress coat is different and quite elegant. The construction also allows for a more form-fitting look.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
I'm really not sure how you can construe black tie as "another suit" lol.

I've yet to be in a situation where I've been wearing a non-tuxedo suit with grosgrain/satin lapels, buttons, or a trouser stripe.

I've never worn patent leather shoes with a non-tuxedo suit.

I've never worn a cummerbund with a non-tuxedo suit.

A tuxedo's waistcoat, if you do not favor a cummerbund, is significantly different in appearance and construction to a three piece suit.

I've never worn shirt studs with a non-tuxedo suit.

I would never choose to wear a bowtie with a non-tuxedo suit (I grant it can be done, I would just never choose to).
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
I'm really not sure how you can construe black tie as "another suit" lol.

I've yet to be in a situation where I've been wearing a non-tuxedo suit with grosgrain/satin lapels, buttons, or a trouser stripe.

I've never worn patent leather shoes with a non-tuxedo suit.

I've never worn a cummerbund with a non-tuxedo suit.

A tuxedo's waistcoat, if you do not favor a cummerbund, is significantly different in appearance and construction to a three piece suit.

I've never worn shirt studs with a non-tuxedo suit.

I would never choose to wear a bowtie with a non-tuxedo suit (I grant it can be done, I would just never choose to).
All right! Well, it's not exactly like a suit. It certainly can feel that way sometimes for me, though. Especially if you opt for covered shirt buttons, the main differences are the cut of the waistcoat and details of the coat's exterior. Most tailors also cut the dinner jacket almost like a suit coat these days, although I thankfully have not had to endure such a thing.

I guess the habit of wearing black tie more makes it familiar. Interestingly, my grandfather often opted for a bowtie with his suits, although I definitely prefer regular neckties.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
So the shirt is different, the waistcoat is different, the jacket construction and material is different, the trouser construction and material is different, the shoes are different, and the neck-wear is different.

Thats....almost everything besides the basic shape of the garment.

And even there there are detail points that on a suit would be wildly unacceptable on a tuxedo.

Cuffs on pants? Traditional on a suit. Abhorrent on a tuxedo.

Notch lapel? De riguer on a suit. Being done but I would argue abhorrent on a tuxedo.

Then there is the color! A black suit (despite the protestations of the fashion industry) is ... uh.... not generally elegant in the opinion of many (myself included). A tuxedo is just about the only place you will find black advocated as a fabric choice by a majority of menswear types.
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
So the shirt is different, the waistcoat is different, the jacket construction and material is different, the trouser construction and material is different, the shoes are different, and the neck-wear is different.

Thats....almost everything besides the basic shape of the garment.

And even there there are detail points that on a suit would be wildly unacceptable on a tuxedo.

Cuffs on pants? Traditional on a suit. Abhorrent on a tuxedo.

Notch lapel? De riguer on a suit. Being done but I would argue abhorrent on a tuxedo.

Then there is the color! A black suit (despite the protestations of the fashion industry) is ... uh.... not generally elegant in the opinion of many (myself included). A tuxedo is just about the only place you will find black advocated as a fabric choice by a majority of menswear types.
The superficial details are different, but the overall feeling that I, personally, get from black tie is not very different from a three-piece suit with a bowtie.

Shoes and cuffs be damned. Perhaps the easiest way is with pictures:

01acec400077762a2f74178d776eb2d2.jpg
22883899292e6af45cb183c65e67bb7d.jpg

There is your suit, and there your black tie.

So what if the lapels do not peak? They might very easily do so. Look at the shoulders, the draping, and the general fact that the dinner jacket lacks tails. These are commonplace among modern black tie.

Additionally, it is only in modern times that the dinner jacket code has become ossified with necromancy into one with some kind of unmovable rules. There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone from wearing the same black oxfords with either a suit or black tie, a regularly buttoned shirt, no waistcoat (if your shirt fits perfectly and you are of a slim build), or even ordinary black trousers if you can pull it off. Black tie is hilariously relaxed - and I challenge anyone to find a dinner jacket that even comes close to the fit of a bespoke set of tails. They were called "body coats" for a reason.

Now, this is clearly all a function of how often one wears evening clothes. If black tie is a rarity, then it is obvious as to why it might be held upon a pedestal and its details fetishized. If, however, you make a habit of wearing evening clothes on a regular enough basis, it will feel very much familiar and not unlike tossing on a suit jacket. And if you opt for velvet and a rakish scarf, not only will you cause the self-annointed, middle-class guardians of "the rules" to seethe, but you will be much closer to the original spirit of the silly thing.

I think a refreshing picture of Full Dress is now in order:

tumblr_psrm02BmWE1qmlrqa_540.jpg

There, that's better.
 

JJ Katz

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2018
Messages
453
Reaction score
363
In London it’s not so rare, given the mix of traditionalism and broader relaxation of dress codes to witness events where you note a mix of BT and WT ( and indeed lounge suits).

Unlike anywhere else I’ve lived or know of, most Englishmen of middle class or higher seem to own their own DJ and on that basis, it’s widely accepted. Even the rules for many Royal events have been greatly relaxed.

All that said, I think WT looks great I think that aficionados should take a leaf out of Andy’s BT book and make their own occasions to wear it.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
The superficial details are different, but the overall feeling that I, personally, get from black tie is not very different from a three-piece suit with a bowtie.

Shoes and cuffs be damned. Perhaps the easiest way is with pictures:

View attachment 1449328
View attachment 1449329

There is your suit, and there your black tie.

So what if the lapels do not peak? They might very easily do so. Look at the shoulders, the draping, and the general fact that the dinner jacket lacks tails. These are commonplace among modern black tie.

Additionally, it is only in modern times that the dinner jacket code has become ossified with necromancy into one with some kind of unmovable rules. There is absolutely nothing to stop anyone from wearing the same black oxfords with either a suit or black tie, a regularly buttoned shirt, no waistcoat (if your shirt fits perfectly and you are of a slim build), or even ordinary black trousers if you can pull it off. Black tie is hilariously relaxed - and I challenge anyone to find a dinner jacket that even comes close to the fit of a bespoke set of tails. They were called "body coats" for a reason.

Now, this is clearly all a function of how often one wears evening clothes. If black tie is a rarity, then it is obvious as to why it might be held upon a pedestal and its details fetishized. If, however, you make a habit of wearing evening clothes on a regular enough basis, it will feel very much familiar and not unlike tossing on a suit jacket. And if you opt for velvet and a rakish scarf, not only will you cause the self-annointed, middle-class guardians of "the rules" to seethe, but you will be much closer to the original spirit of the silly thing.

I think a refreshing picture of Full Dress is now in order:

View attachment 1449331

There, that's better.
The lounge suit vs black tie look looks quite different to me

Basic tl;Dr it feels like you are trying to get across is something along the lines of: "A true fancy lad like me sees no difference in black tie, because only white tie is distinct enough."

Regarding dismissal of accoutrements:

Its not that you MUST wear patent shoes with black tie, but that you would not wear them with a lounge suit.

Similar with a bowtie - I would never wear one with a lounge suit, even though I could. However I am not a 70 year old man nor am I Tucker Carlson of the Crossfire days.

The vest in itself for BT is a closer correlation to WT than a lounge suit in shape, cut, and effect.

So what sets the last picture so far apart? Black and white certainly cheats the effect a bit. I am glad hats are gone, because I have a full head of hair and would never choose to wear one. Cane? Obviously affectatious in 2020.

So it really comes down to tails and the front closure on the tailcoat. I admit, the lay and layering effect of a tailcoat is quite elegant. I do not, in general, care much for tails overall.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
I also think the best form of WT or BT is (if you have the right to wear a tartan), Highland Dress.
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
The lounge suit vs black tie look looks quite different to me

Basic tl;Dr it feels like you are trying to get across is something along the lines of: "A true fancy lad like me sees no difference in black tie, because only white tie is distinct enough."

Regarding dismissal of accoutrements:

Its not that you MUST wear patent shoes with black tie, but that you would not wear them with a lounge suit.

Similar with a bowtie - I would never wear one with a lounge suit, even though I could. However I am not a 70 year old man nor am I Tucker Carlson of the Crossfire days.

The vest in itself for BT is a closer correlation to WT than a lounge suit in shape, cut, and effect.

So what sets the last picture so far apart? Black and white certainly cheats the effect a bit. I am glad hats are gone, because I have a full head of hair and would never choose to wear one. Cane? Obviously affectatious in 2020.

So it really comes down to tails and the front closure on the tailcoat. I admit, the lay and layering effect of a tailcoat is quite elegant. I do not, in general, care much for tails overall.
I apologize if that's the way it came across, since I don't necessarily consider myself fancy, really. I like to sport evening clothes fairly often, however, and I do think that's an excuse for more extravagance (in terms of BT and WT) than during the day.

They're clearly not precisely and wholly the same, and I just thought it was a nice picture. It's rare you see tails so well-cut these days, even when you can find a tailor who knows how to make them up at all!

Actually, I wouldn't mind a resurgence of the top hat, though that's even harder than white tie - might as well go all the way. Canadian winters can be rough, and there's no chance I'll wear a beanie with a suit, so I usually end up with decent headgear anyhow.

Edit: I agree - if I were Scottish than Highland Dress would be a smashing look. Too bad my heritage is just a bit more south.
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
In London it’s not so rare, given the mix of traditionalism and broader relaxation of dress codes to witness events where you note a mix of BT and WT ( and indeed lounge suits).

Unlike anywhere else I’ve lived or know of, most Englishmen of middle class or higher seem to own their own DJ and on that basis, it’s widely accepted. Even the rules for many Royal events have been greatly relaxed.

All that said, I think WT looks great I think that aficionados should take a leaf out of Andy’s BT book and make their own occasions to wear it.
Absolutely! As I mentioned before, at least here in Toronto there are still plenty who put in the effort for opera or ballet productions, and symphonies or upscale restaurants are still definitely well-dressed enough for a suit or blazer at least.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
I apologize if that's the way it came across, since I don't necessarily consider myself fancy, really. I like to sport evening clothes fairly often, however, and I do think that's an excuse for more extravagance (in terms of BT and WT) than during the day.

They're clearly not precisely and wholly the same, and I just thought it was a nice picture. It's rare you see tails so well-cut these days, even when you can find a tailor who knows how to make them up at all!

Actually, I wouldn't mind a resurgence of the top hat, though that's even harder than white tie - might as well go all the way. Canadian winters can be rough, and there's no chance I'll wear a beanie with a suit, so I usually end up with decent headgear anyhow.

Edit: I agree - if I were Scottish than Highland Dress would be a smashing look. Too bad my heritage is just a bit more south.
I should reel back and apologize for high aggro level. I think I perhaps react more negatively to WT than BT (and therefore to stipulations of it being outsizedly special) because of most of my experience wearing it.

Back when I had the most occasions to wear it I was 18-22 years old, playing rugby (as a prop - was therefore huge and weird shaped), and could not afford bespoke clothing yet. In this situation - a tailcoat does not look particularly fine.

I would never welcome a return to the hat. Gloves maybe, but never the hat!
 

Nobilis Animus

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
922
Reaction score
635
I should reel back and apologize for high aggro level. I think I perhaps react more negatively to WT than BT (and therefore to stipulations of it being outsizedly special) because of most of my experience wearing it.

Back when I had the most occasions to wear it I was 18-22 years old, playing rugby (as a prop - was therefore huge and weird shaped), and could not afford bespoke clothing yet. In this situation - a tailcoat does not look particularly fine.

I would never welcome a return to the hat. Gloves maybe, but never the hat!
No need to worry, we're all just discussing our interests after all. There's bound to be some variation in our favorite details.

Gloves are one thing that I do find inconvenient at times. When it's cold enough to wear a pair, I've taken to stuffing them into my overcoat pocket when I'm indoors so they are out of the way.

Out of curiosity, since this also relates to white tie: do you keep an overcoat aside specifically for black tie events? I find most of my uses of BT or WT are confined to the fall/winter, for whatever reason, so I have one or two that I only wear with these.
 

ValidusLA

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2019
Messages
641
Reaction score
514
I live in Los Angeles - when I do get the chance to go to a BT gathering (alas for the cancelled charity galas this year), they are seldom during a time of the year when an overcoat would be necessary. An overcoat is never really necessary in Los Angeles.

I am woefully underequipped for cold weather. End of last year I was on a bit of puddle jumping spree. Was in China in Oct/Early November, where the south was hot. Then in Japan up until thanksgiving, and Kyoto never got above brisk. Got back to LA for thanksgiving, then was off to NY less than a week later. Landed in slacks, a blazer, no gloves, no overcoat, no hat. I had a scarf.....and a snowstorm had just blown in that morning. I was.....not doing well.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
448,786
Messages
9,712,599
Members
202,737
Latest member
mack4000
Top