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.
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.
formal scarf is one made of white silk with tassels.
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
Indoor gloves are discussed under Classic Accessories.
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.
An appropriately understated overcoat.