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The state of white tie

Nobilis Animus

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On the subject of white tie and Downton Abbey, in the film which came out last year - during the big finale ballroom scene (which was filmed at Wentworth Woodhouse so I can lay claim to have danced on the same ballroom as it was student accommodation during my youth) ... I noticed first that the king was wearing knee breeches and showing off his order of the garter. Then Mrs. Hughes says to Carson “you‘ve got your britches on”. Then you notice most / all of the men aren’t wearing trousers like Fred Astaire but stockings and breeches. I’ve never noticed this before and even accepting that trousers evolved from knee breeches that Beau Brummell et al would have worn, I would have guessed they’d have been phased out long before the conventions of white tie became set.
Anyone know the history of this? Why the throwback to breeches in 1927?
Breeches are part of Court Dress, which is the actual most formal attire for men - more formal than either white/black tie or morning dress. It is supposed to be worn in the presence of the King/Queen for formal ceremonies, evening state parties, etc.

Brummell also wore pantaloons in the daytime, and those were a part of court dress for a while, although he didn't invent it. That whole period is very interesting in terms of variation, because there used to be so many types and colours of evening dress all worn at once.

Anyway, court dress used to be very different, but around the turn of the century a form of alternative court dress arose - which is what the Royals are wearing in the photo. (here they've rather sadly dispensed with the bicorne and sword)
 

Thin White Duke

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Interesting stuff NB - thanks for that!
Here’s Wentworth Woodhouse by the way, erstwhile home of Lord Fitzwilliam near Rotherham in South Yorkshire. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest front on a house in Britain. Beautiful place that’s currently empty so perfect for filming.
Lady Mary keeps bringing up the subject of whether it’s all worth it to keep such a big estate as Downton going. If she lived long enough she’d have seen most of those big houses turned over to the National Trust as they weren’t viable.

3DEAD7B9-A4DE-4BD0-A50D-890B0561BB9E.jpeg
 

Nobilis Animus

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Interesting stuff NB - thanks for that!
Here’s Wentworth Woodhouse by the way, erstwhile home of Lord Fitzwilliam near Rotherham in South Yorkshire. It’s in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest front on a house in Britain. Beautiful place that’s currently empty so perfect for filming.
Lady Mary keeps bringing up the subject of whether it’s all worth it to keep such a big estate as Downton going. If she lived long enough she’d have seen most of those big houses turned over to the National Trust as they weren’t viable.

View attachment 1462441
Great photo.

Yes, most ancestral houses that have managed to survive this long are not now privately owned. Most of the best castles were already ruins by the 19th century anyway - ways of living moving on and all.

Nowadays most whose families owned one of these places long ago are living in genteel poverty, although some are still brought up with the same traditions.

That's why it's currently difficult to find good examples of formal-wear from state magistrates, as most of them don't have a background in that sort of thing.
 

ValidusLA

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I'm always amazed when a family still has its ancestral home. Even rarer in France. I stumbled across Chateau de Brissac years back. Tallest chateau in the Loire and someone still owned by the Duke of Brissac. Family even lives in the top 3 (of 7) stories.

SmartSelect_20200921-134850_Instagram.jpg
 

Thin White Duke

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Sorry I know we’re a bit off topic here. I believe the dukes of Northumberland (the family of Harry Hotspur in Shakespeare) are still ensconced in Alnwick Castle and possibly Bamburgh too - that’s two very picturesque joints.

Alnwick was shown briefly in Downton as Lady Edith (Hexham)’s new pile since she married. It was built and added to over several centuries so it’s often used for films (Robin Hood, Game of Thrones, Braveheart, Harry Potter) as they can just use whichever viewing angle suits the period they’re trying to portray.
 

am55

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I'm always amazed when a family still has its ancestral home. Even rarer in France. I stumbled across Chateau de Brissac years back. Tallest chateau in the Loire and someone still owned by the Duke of Brissac. Family even lives in the top 3 (of 7) stories.

View attachment 1462732
You must have missed this recent listing...

An eminent listed castle in the Angoumois region, owned by La-Rochefoucauld family for a thousand years. [...] The family’s predominant place in the history of France is also linked to the relationships that it created with other countries such as the United States and notably Jefferson, great friend of François-de-La-Rochefoucauld, or again, when in 1929, Rockfeller purchased the “Chasse à la licorne” or Unicorn tapestries now exhibited in New York’s Cloisters Museum. [...] In 15th century the castle underwent extensive restoration after the numerous one hundred years war sieges.

And only 2.8m EUR which probably gets you a studio in Chelsea these days (parking space not included).

At the end of the day some families go up some down. The Grosvenor and Cadogan families are still doing very well. Two Ducs de Brissac presided the Jockey Club in recent decades. Meanwhile Jean D'Ormesson partly made his literary name in the description of his family's helplessness before the fall (in fact the miniseries was shot in their former home), after which he packaged the odd nostalgia of the French for those whose heads they had cut into a commercially viable package.
 

Riva

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You must have missed this recent listing...

An eminent listed castle in the Angoumois region, owned by La-Rochefoucauld family for a thousand years. [...] The family’s predominant place in the history of France is also linked to the relationships that it created with other countries such as the United States and notably Jefferson, great friend of François-de-La-Rochefoucauld, or again, when in 1929, Rockfeller purchased the “Chasse à la licorne” or Unicorn tapestries now exhibited in New York’s Cloisters Museum. [...] In 15th century the castle underwent extensive restoration after the numerous one hundred years war sieges.

And only 2.8m EUR which probably gets you a studio in Chelsea these days (parking space not included).

At the end of the day some families go up some down. The Grosvenor and Cadogan families are still doing very well. Two Ducs de Brissac presided the Jockey Club in recent decades. Meanwhile Jean D'Ormesson partly made his literary name in the description of his family's helplessness before the fall (in fact the miniseries was shot in their former home), after which he packaged the odd nostalgia of the French for those whose heads they had cut into a commercially viable package.
These pristine castles are being offered cheaper than my humble 1000 mtr old home in the not so prestigious area of a dirty SEA capital. They must really hate paying the upkeep for it and want to get rid of it quick.
 

ValidusLA

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You must have missed this recent listing...

An eminent listed castle in the Angoumois region, owned by La-Rochefoucauld family for a thousand years. [...] The family’s predominant place in the history of France is also linked to the relationships that it created with other countries such as the United States and notably Jefferson, great friend of François-de-La-Rochefoucauld, or again, when in 1929, Rockfeller purchased the “Chasse à la licorne” or Unicorn tapestries now exhibited in New York’s Cloisters Museum. [...] In 15th century the castle underwent extensive restoration after the numerous one hundred years war sieges.

And only 2.8m EUR which probably gets you a studio in Chelsea these days (parking space not included).

At the end of the day some families go up some down. The Grosvenor and Cadogan families are still doing very well. Two Ducs de Brissac presided the Jockey Club in recent decades. Meanwhile Jean D'Ormesson partly made his literary name in the description of his family's helplessness before the fall (in fact the miniseries was shot in their former home), after which he packaged the odd nostalgia of the French for those whose heads they had cut into a commercially viable package.
Yes some of the prices for chateau / castles are astonishingly cheap. I suppose the maintenance is atrocious though.

I stayed at a chateau in the Loire a few years back owned by a British couple who had retired there. She foraged and cooked and he went hunting w/ some of his 80+ pack of dogs.

They bought the place for about half the cost of my house in LA. Not a bad way to retire.
 

Zerase

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For being bespoken for someone else, that fits you rather well. For a perfect fit, the waistcoat should end exactly were the jacket ends. Is it like my coat made from a heavy and thick wool that makes you sweat like crazy?
Got this 1930's bespoke tailcoat for $5, had to try it on and snap a few pics during lunch :)
View attachment 1478227
 

martingfx

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One of my favorite details of early coats is that slanted breast pocket. So much flair!

Would like to see this with a slightly tighter waistcoat, but that's up to you.
For being bespoken for someone else, that fits you rather well. For a perfect fit, the waistcoat should end exactly were the jacket ends. Is it like my coat made from a heavy and thick wool that makes you sweat like crazy?
The waistcoat is from my dinner suit, haven't found a "shorter" one yet. This one works fine with my more modern tails that are cut much lower. The good thing about a black waistcoat is that it's way less visible than a white one. Not willing to spend a lot of $$$ on white tie at the moment so will have to make do for now.

Yes, it is made in a very heavy/thick fabric so problematic so have trousers and waistcoat made to match!
 

Nobilis Animus

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The waistcoat is from my dinner suit, haven't found a "shorter" one yet. This one works fine with my more modern tails that are cut much lower. The good thing about a black waistcoat is that it's way less visible than a white one. Not willing to spend a lot of $$$ on white tie at the moment so will have to make do for now.

Yes, it is made in a very heavy/thick fabric so problematic so have trousers and waistcoat made to match!
Yes, the heavier fabrics are much harder to find these days, and pricier. They are better though, imo, just because I don't care for cloth that wears out quickly.
 

Zerase

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If found two black tie sets and two white tie sets dating from 1938-≈1950. Paid between 50SEK (5€) up to as much as 100SEK. Sweden has an abundance of these old formal wear in every second hand shop. If you want to have something that match that jacket I am sure I can help you out.
 

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