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To wear a dinner jacket for a smart social gathering, you can consider swapping your matching tuxedo trousers for a different colour, changing your bow tie to a standard tie (or losing it altogether), and foregoing a waistcoat or cummerbund.

The material of the cummerbund should be silk satin , grosgrain or faille , or barathea to match that of the bow tie.

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Mens Vintage Style Coats. A 19th Century gentleman never left home without a coat, and picking a coat to suit the occasion was (and is) a must. Formal events called for tail coats, cutaway coats, and morning coats, while everyday styles like frock coats, sack coats, and town coats would be worn on the way to the bank or market, with a cozy smoking jacket waiting in the parlor at home.

Black tie , occasionally known in the English-speaking world by its French name cravate noire , [1] is a dress code for evening events and social functions derived from British and American costume conventions of the 19th century. For men, the principal elements of black tie are a white dress shirt with a black bow tie , an evening waistcoat or cummerbund , and a dinner jacket called a tuxedo in the United States.

For women, an evening gown or other fashionable evening attire my be worn. Traditionally worn only for events after 6 p.

Women's dress for black tie occasions has varied greatly through the years; traditionally it was:. Today ladies dress for black tie occasions covers a much wider level of formality ranging from just below the white tie standard [3] to something more informal such as a little black dress.

Specifically it can also include:. Unlike the men's standard, the specifics of black tie for women are linked to whatever evening wear is currently in fashion. In the following decades of the Victorian era , the dinner jacket tuxedo in American English came into fashion as a less formal alternative for the tailcoat which men of the upper classes wore every evening.

Thus it was worn with the standard accompaniments for the evening tailcoat at the time: Lapels were often faced or edged in silk or satin in varying widths. Dinner jackets were considered from the first less formal than full dress cutaway tailcoat and etiquette guides declared it inappropriate for wear in mixed company. During the Edwardian era , the practice of wearing a black waistcoat and black bow tie with a dinner jacket became the convention, establishing the basis of the current black tie and white tie dress codes.

The dinner jacket was also increasingly accepted at less formal evening occasions such as warm-weather gatherings or intimate dinners with friends. After World War I, the dinner jacket became de facto evening wear, while the evening tailcoat was limited to extremely formal or ceremonial occasions.

During this interwar period, double-breasted jackets, turndown-collar shirts and cummerbunds became popular for black-tie evenings as did white and colored jackets in warm weather. In the decades following World War II, black tie became special occasion attire rather than standard evening wear. In the s, colored and patterned jackets, cummerbunds and bow ties and narrow lapels became very popular; the s and s saw the color palette move from muted to bright day-glow and pastel, as well as ruffled-placket shirts as lapels got wider and piping was revived.

The 21st century has seen increased variation and a relaxation of previous strict standards; midnight blue once again became popular and lapel facings were sometimes reduced to wide edging.

Traditionally, black tie in contrast to formal white tie was considered informal. Unlike white tie , which is very strictly regulated, black-tie ensembles can display more variation. In brief, the traditional components for men are:. The original and most formal model of dinner jacket is the single-breasted model. The typical black-tie jacket is single-breasted with one button only, with jetted besom pockets and is of black or midnight blue; usually of wool or a wool— mohair , or wool- polyester blend, although other materials, especially silk, are seen.

Although other materials are used, the most appropriate and traditional for the dinner jacket are wool barathea or superfine herringbone. Dinner jackets were commonly ventless before World War I, but today come ventless, with side vents , or with center vents.

The ventless style is considered more formal, whilst the centre vent is the least formal. The lapels traditionally pointed and shawl are usually faced with silk in either a grosgrain or a satin weave, but can also be silk barathea. According to the Black Tie Guide, the peaked lapel and shawl collar are equally authentic and correct. Some higher-end single-breasted jackets, both new and vintage, tend to be fastened with a link front closure which is visually similar to a cufflink ; this method of closure is still common in the United Kingdom.

The double-besomed jetted slit hip pocket is the only style understated enough to complement the dinner jacket. Flap pockets are not considered appropriate for formal attire's refined minimalism due to their busier and bulkier design and are simply an attempt by tuxedo manufacturers to save money by using standard suit patterns although sometimes they will trim the edges of a flap pocket so that the flap can be tucked in or removed if desired.

Besom welts can be of self fabric or trimmed with the lapel 's silk facing, though classic menswear scholar Nicholas Antongiavanni suggests that for the English this latter touch "is a sure sign of hired clothes. Emily Post , a resident of Tuxedo Park, New York, stated in that "[Tuxedos] can have lapels or be shawl-shaped, in either case they are to have facings of silk, satin or grosgrain.

White dinner jackets are often worn in warm climates. They are ivory in color rather than pure white, and have self-faced lapels i. They are generally worn with the same types of shirts and accessories as black dinner jackets, though the turndown collar and cummerbund preferred to the wing collar or waistcoat. Similarly, the shawl lapel is more common in white dinner jackets. In the United Kingdom, the 20th-century etiquette was that white dinner jackets are never worn, even on the hottest day of summer, but are reserved for wear abroad.

In tropical climates, such as in Imperial Burma, desert fawn was historically used as the less formal color. At one time, the civilian mess jacket was also an option in warmer climates. It is generally considered inappropriate for a man to remove his jacket during a formal social event, but when hot weather and humidity dictate, the ranking man of the royal family , the guest of honor may give men permission by noticeably taking off his jacket.

In anticipated hot weather, Red Sea rig is specified in the invitation, although this dress is esoteric in civilian circles, and is particular to certain expatriate communities. Traditionally, the only neck wear appropriate is the black bow tie that is a self-tie and should always match the lapel facing of the dinner jacket and braiding of the trouser seams.

The bow tie is tied using a common shoelace knot , which is also called the bow knot for that reason. Often, members of wedding parties wear pastel bow ties with their dinner suits; this is inappropriate in a black tie context because it dilutes the formal integrity of the outfit, thereby reducing it to a party costume. Black tie trousers traditionally have no cuffs turn-ups in British English or belt loops.

The outer seams are usually decorated with a single braid of silk or a material that matches or complements the lapel facing. Traditionally, braces suspenders , hidden by the waistcoat , are used to support the trousers. Belts should not ever be worn with black tie trousers. Evening trousers can be flat-fronted or pleated today; pleats first coming into fashion in the s. Whilst flat-fronted trousers are more fashionable at present, pleated trousers may be considered more comfortable by men who have wider hips and a narrow waist.

A waist covering should generally be worn as part of a black tie ensemble. Either a low cut waistcoat or cummerbund may be worn, but never both at the same time. Although the English authority Debrett's consider that wearing a waistcoat is smart, they no longer consider either waist covering to be essential.

A low cut waistcoat should be worn when wearing a single-breasted coat. Waistcoasts come in the 'V' or rarer 'U' shape, in backless or fully backed versions, double or single breasted , with or without lapels.

Single breasted styles typically have three buttons, and double breasted ones three or four rows. Before World War II, while black tie was still gaining acceptance, men would wear a white waistcoat , along with other details now associated primarily with white tie , such as stiff fronted shirts. However, this style, though increasingly viewed as an affectation, is still acceptable in the United States. The waistcoat should be made from either the same fabric as the dinner jacket traditional or the same silk as the jacket's lapels popular.

When a waistcoat has lapels , they should be faced in the same silk as those of the jacket; in this case it is considered more refined if the body is made from the same fabric as the jacket. The buttons may be self-faced or covered in the same silk as the lapels. Vintage waistcoats were sometimes closed with studs made from onyx or mother of pearl , which were often surrounded by a setting of silver or gold.

A waistcoat is never worn with a double breasted jacket. Since this style of jacket is never unbuttoned, the waist of the trousers is never exposed, and therefore does not need to be covered, [24] though before World War II an edge of waistcoat was often shown between the jacket and shirt. A cummerbund may be worn with a dinner jacket in lieu of a waistcoat and, although it is considered slightly less formal, it is equally correct.

It looks especially well with a shawl collar dinner jacket but may be worn in conjunction with peak lapels. The material of the cummerbund should be silk satin , grosgrain or faille , or barathea to match that of the bow tie. It features upward facing folds, which were originally used to store theatre or opera tickets, and are now considered to be more decorative than functional.

Just like the waistcoat , cummerbunds are not worn with a double breasted jacket. As the cummerbund is seen as an extension of the trousers, traditionally it should the same colour, i. Some higher quality models feature a hidden pocket and an elastic loop to fasten to the trousers. Shirts designed to be worn with black tie are called "formal shirts," or "tuxedo shirts" in American English and "dress shirts" in British English. In the earlyth century, a piqué shirt with a detachable wing collar and single cuffs such as is worn with white tie was used, and in the s and s ruffled bibs were popular, but neither styles are often seen today.

The wing collar originally disappeared in black tie after the s when the appropriately semi-formal attached turndown collar shirt became preferred, but it has been popular with American men in a less substantial, attached form since the s.

However, many style authorities argue that the wing collar should remain the domain of white tie for aesthetic reasons. Although some style authorities consider the wing collar to be an acceptable option for black tie shirts, they should not be worn with double cuffs or a pleated bib, [29] and are better suited to the more formal single-breasted peak lapel jacket.

When a full dress shirt is worn in this fashion, it should be accompanied by the white marcella waistcoat ordinarily associated with white tie. Debrett's do not endorse the wing collar as being compatible with the black tie dress code. The more formal marcella version of the shirt fastens with matching shirt studs. These are most commonly in silver or gold settings, featuring onyx or mother-of-pearl ; various geometrical shapes are worn, e.

There has been no consistent fashion preference for gold or silver, but studs with mother-of-pearl are more formal and therefore often associated with white tie. The soft-front pleated version of the shirt should be fastened with mother-of-pearl buttons, typically supplied with the shirt on a separate strip of fabric. Alternatively, a fly-front shirt, appropriate with both the marcella and pleated bibs, conceals the placket for a more minimalistic look. There are several types of cufflinks that may be worn with black tie.

The most formal and decorative are the double-panel type, which dress both sides of the cuff and are connected by a chain or link of metal; this model conceals the mechanism by which the cuff is secured. The most common, and least decorative, are the swivel bar type; whilst these are acceptable, they leave the inner side of the cuffs and mechanism exposed which is incongruous with formal dress. The most formal and traditional shoes are patent leather opera pumps court shoes decorated with grosgrain bows.

The more popular alternative currently is the black lace-up Oxford shoe , in patent leather or calfskin , with a rounded plain toe. Best Match Best Match. Items in search results. New refers to a brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item, while Used refers to an item that has been used previously. Condition see all Condition. Format see all Format. All listings filter applied. Item location see all Item location. Delivery options see all Delivery options. Show only see all Show only.

Amounts shown in italicised text are for items listed in currency other than Pounds Sterling and are approximate conversions to Pounds Sterling based upon Bloomberg's conversion rates. For more recent exchange rates, please use the Universal Currency Converter. This page was last updated:

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