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White bow tie with regular tuxedo

SomeDude2021

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I'm wearing a peak lapel tuxedo for my wedding and I'm planning to wear a white pique backless waistcoat (the kind normally paired with a tailcoat) with it. So other than following tradition, why would it be so wrong in your opinion for me to wear a white bow tie instead of a black one?
 

BPL Esq

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Whether it would be "wrong" of you to wear is a separate question from whether you'd look better wearing normal black tie instead of mixing black tie and white tie. Many things are traditional because they are optimal. It's your wedding, so you can wear whatever you want if you like it and anticipate approving of it in photos down the road.
 

Faux Brummell

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A white bow tie was often worn with a tuxedo by grooms in the 30s and 40s and if they could get away with it, so can you. (Though I’ve never seen it done with a white waistcoat.)

72FC4E0B-90CD-4716-8DCB-DB5803518E6D.png
 

Paris-62

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I would rater wear a white one than a black one. You are getting married, you do not go to a première at the Opera.
 

SomeDude2021

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Whether it would be "wrong" of you to wear is a separate question from whether you'd look better wearing normal black tie instead of mixing black tie and white tie. Many things are traditional because they are optimal. It's your wedding, so you can wear whatever you want if you like it and anticipate approving of it in photos down the road.

Fair enough. I just see all these purists on here, MFA reddit subs, and articles that decry wearing a white bow tie as if it's some major sin, all because of "tradition." But thank you for providing a constructive answer as opposed to blindly following the rules for the sake of doing so.

In each case, it looks to me like a black one would have helped to frame the face better.
Curious if you think the traditional white tie ensemble means there's a lack of proper framing to the face.
 

BPL Esq

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Curious if you think the traditional white tie ensemble means there's a lack of proper framing to the face.

In some cases, yes, to an extent, although there are other aspects of the white tie ensemble (not present in the black tie ensemble) which I think reduce that effect.
 

Faux Brummell

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I just remembered - when dinner jackets were first introduced they were just substitutes for a tailcoat, so of course they were worn with a white bow tie and white waistcoat. Somedude, I guess there’s even more of a historical precedent for your choices than I had realized.
8BE9973D-DE49-489A-A202-011E80F1B597.jpeg
 
Last edited:

SomeDude2021

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I just remembered - when dinner jackets were first introduced they were just substitutes for a tailcoat, so of course they were worn with a white bow tie and white waistcoat. Somedude, I guess there’s even more of a historical precedent for your choices than I had realized.
View attachment 1573204
Thanks for this. What's your source for finding these pictures? Would love to see more out of curiosity.
I wonder how we went from this to "it is a sin to wear white bows without tails, period."
 

Faux Brummell

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The illustrations came from:


Back when that site was blacktieguide.com I was a regular reader. The current version has preserved most of the info, you can learn all you’d ever want to know about black tie. If you go to the “Edwardian Era - 1900s - 1910s” section you’ll see:

“And the choice of a black or white bow tie remained largely arbitrary despite etiquette authors insisting only the former was appropriate for informal evening attire. However, the black waistcoat and black bow tie would become the norm for tuxedos by the end of the first decade, establishing the basics of today’s Black Tie dress code.”
 

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