Guide to Wedding Suits: Part X: (Extinct) Formal Dress Codes

After surviving the blip of “casual Friday’s” in the 90’s due to the whiz kid internet millionaires who decided to wear shorts to board meetings, we now sit in an era where formal attire is back to being hot.

Everyone is going back to basics when it comes to workwear. But, where does that leave formal wear? Does anyone really follow the “rules” or furthermore do people actually send wedding invites that read: black tie or white tie? I believe it’s quite rare.

So rare, that most people don’t really know what it means anymore and wield a fantasy of James Bond with lots of guns.

The most common formal attire is White Tie or Black Tie, this refers specifically to the colour of the bowtie to be worn. Black tie refers to a black bow tie which is traditionally worn with a tuxedo.

White Tie is a lot more complicated and ultra formal. It refers to a white bow as well as suit “tails” (literally your suit has two tails at the back). This ensemble is quite strict and the epitome of sartorial-ism. The jacket resembles a tuxedo jacket yet it is quite short from the front that is not button-able (yet has 3 fabric coverd buttons on each side) and of course with tails at the back that can be seperated by a vent. It is worn with a white vest, wing-tip collared white shirt, white bow tie, tuxedo pants, patent (Oxford) shoes, black top hat, white gloves, and sometimes a walking stick!

Next week, I will discuss the morning coat which is specific to weddings.


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