Friday, April 6, 2012

The Laws of the Tuxedo

Boyfriend and I fight constantly over tuxedos; we attend enough formal events a year to make this a real discussion. We have fought over color (no), vests (Lawdy, no), cummerbunds (yes). To put the issue to rest for us and for you and the other name on your invite, I found this reprint of a tuxedo guide from Bill of Rites for the American Man, via Social Primer.

oh haaaay.
Black Tie – A Proper Dinner Suit (Tuxedo)
– Shawl collar is an acceptable alternative but avoid the notch collar.
- A white dinner jacket is appropriate from Memorial Day through Labor Day or in a resort climate any time.
- Black pants with black satin stripe.
- White Tennis collar shirt is my preference but Wing collar is certainly acceptable. Pleats versus placket front. 
Placket front reads more formal, but I do like both. I find placket stands up better to sweaty dance moves.
BOW TIE . Black tie means black tie. White tie is only ever worn with tails. Ever!
- Braces (suspenders) are black or white and make this suit so much more comfortable. You’re already strapped in like a baby seat, braces let you breathe.
-non-negotiable. No to the vest, not the best look in spite of the current trend.
-patent lace-ups (or highly-shined leather) or opera pumps (patent slippers). Or velvet slippers, if you’re daring.
- Gold knots and studs or black and silver or silver-plate.  Try to avoid whimsy.
- Pochette (pocket square) should be white silk, but I do like red sometimes.
- silk socks that go to the knee.  Never show a naked ankle in a Tuxedo. If you want to feel extra old school, go with the garters.
- Never wear a writst watch with a Dinner Suit.

The Dark Suit Alternative 
You can get away with wearing a dark suit, preferably Navy, if you don’t want to spring for a Tuxedo.
Black or Navy, trim cut, 2-button or 3-button, but if it’s a 3 button, DO NOT button the top button. If 2-button, leave the bottom button undone.
Crisp white Point collar shirt, NOT a button down. And by crisp, we mean starched and ironed. It can or cannot be French Cuff, depending on your style and if you own a pair of cuff links. 
Do not make up cuff links. No paper clips, or binder clips (yes, I’ve seen both) or any other cute-sy to be clever contraption.
 If you’re going with a suit and not a Tuxedo, do not wear a bow tie. You should wear a long dark tie, preferably black if the suit is black, navy if the suit is navy.
Here’s where you can have a little fun. Go crazy with color.
 should match the pant color.
Should be black, preferably lace-ups, Never loafers.
 should match the shoes.

The Charleston Tuxedo - This should be your default uniform, day or night when not in a suit.

Navy, can be 2-button, 3-button or double-breasted. Gold or Brass buttons, coat of arms or insignia,  dark plastic or horn but avoid white or color here. It should fit you in the waist and at your shoulders. The sleeve should be tailored to the hinge of your wrist. There should be no hunchback lumps in the middle of your shoulder blades.
 should be white or pink point collar, (avoid Banker Blue as you sweat through blue). The shirt should be starched, ironed and clean. It should fit snug at the neck with no more than two-fingers space gap. The sleeve should show ½ inch beneath your jacket sleeve.
 Bow tie or four in hand (long tie) – can be any color you want. Make it lively!
 khaki’s or gray flannels (in colder temps) or crazy britches in mad color or embroidered icons (in warmer weather).
 Ribbon belt, needlepoint belt, or embroidered belt, even brown leather belt but definitely not black.
 loafers or saddle shoes or bucks, no socks.

One Final Note
A man’s jacket is ALWAYS buttoned when he stands.

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