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A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO EVENING WEAR ( SECOND EDITION)



 

The Gold Standard
Classic Tuxedos
Classic Waist Coverings
Classic Shirts
Classic Neckwear
Classic Footwear
Classic Accessories
Classic Outerwear
Warm-Weather Black Tie
Classic Alternatives

 

 

 

Formal Facts




Until the dinner jacket was given a hat of its own in the 1930s (the homburg, pictured), it was usually worn with the more formal top hat or collapsible opera hat borrowed from the tailcoat.

Classic Black-Tie Outerwear

 

 

While black-tie outerwear etiquette is more a set of guidelines than hard and fast rules, these traditional accompaniments will ensure that a man's winter wrappings harmonize with the formal apparel they are covering. 

 

 

Overcoat

 

The most conventional overcoat for evening dress since the 1930s has been the chesterfield coat.  However, the coat's characteristics are more important than its name because interpretations can vary significantly.  The color should be black, dark blue or oxford gray, the length should be knee length or longer and the model should be single-breasted fly front or double breasted.  A black velvet collar is ideal.

 

Note that raincoats (a.k.a. trench coats) are not appropriate outerwear for a tuxedo or tailcoat.

 

 

Evening Cloak (Obsolete)

 

The last time evening cloaks were a going concern was in the 1960s when advocates of Austin Powers style menswear argued they were no longer exclusive to white tie and could therefore be worn with tuxedos.  Arguably, etiquette guru Amy Vanderbilt's advice from 1952 remains relevant today: "The black satin-lined evening cape, an elegant garment, is still seen on gentlemen who take their clothes very seriously and who like to keep alive the niceties of Victorian dress."  In other words, it's best left to the eccentrics.

 

 

Evening Scarf

 

The correct formal scarf is one made of white silk with tassels.



Gloves

 

The classic outdoor glove for Black Tie is gray chamois, buck or mocha (soft suede leathers made from sheep, deer or goat skin) in either button, snap or slip-on style.  Dressy black leather gloves are also perfectly appropriate.


Indoor gloves are discussed under Classic Accessories.



Hat

 

For men who consider a stylish outfit to be incomplete without accompanying headwear, the black or midnight blue homburg has been the most accepted hat for the dinner jacket since the 1930s.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topman overcoat

An appropriately understated overcoat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



White silk evening scarf. 

Suede gloves.

 
revised November 2011 (added Evening Cloak reference)

 

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