Review: British GQ’s “A Black-tie Invitation from Henry Poole”


British GQ’s latest guide to Black Tie couldn’t be more English, drawing as it does on the sage advice of Henry Poole tailors.  It is Savile Row through and through, including the preference for grosgrain lapels over satin, waistcoats over cummerbunds, marcella shirts over pleated and turndown collars over wing.

At times like this I like to pretend that Canada is still a Dominion and I’m technically a British subject. (Damn that Canadian Citizenship Act of 1947.)


  1. John Van Wyk

    The GQ Guide sounds positively smashing. Maybe it will help lift the current state of black tie out of the abyss into which it has fallen among some exemplars of the genre.

    Regarding the last sentence of the review: If it has not done so yet, surely Great Britain would be willing to make you an honorary subject!

  2. Hal

    The advice might be classically British styling, but sadly no more widely followed in Britain than anywhere else.

    The advice about shoes is spot on, I think. Opera pumps and the like are OTT. Well polished plain shoes are always best.

    1. Peter Marshall

      I can understand how opera pumps can be interpreted as “Over The Top” but for me patent leather is essential. There’s something indescribably refined about wearing footwear intended to be used only indoors, only in the evening and only at the most elegant of occasions. Dress shoes, no matter how well polished, are seen too regularly to provide the same level of sartorial formality and panache.

  3. David V

    I’ll still stick with my patent pumps. After all, current “fashion” believes waist coverings and braces are OTT.

  4. A. R

    The advised compilation is very similar to what I wear to semi-formal events in the UK.

  5. Anonymous

    suits = waistcoat
    stroller = waistcoat
    morning dress = waistcoat
    white tie = waistcoat

    kill the cummerbunds!!! 🙂

    1. Peter Marshall

      Sadly, in North America today both the cummerbund and waistcoat are losing ground to uncovered waists.

      1. Anonymous

        Fortunately, in my country, youth fashionable suits come with waistcoats, sometimes waistcoats with lapels. i hope the trend lasts.

  6. Hal

    Finding a decent evening waistcoat (at least for a price comparable to half decent cummerbund) isn’t easy, though.

    Oddly enough white marcella waistcoats are more common and easier to find than their black cousins.

  7. omschiefslr

    I happen to like cummerbunds! With the jacket buttoned as it should be, the cummerbund serves the purposes of maintaining the ‘Long V’ effect and hiding the white shirt show-through while bending or sitting. They are also less bulky and more comfortable.

  8. Anonymous

    And for the love of god! peaked lapel should replace other alternatives.


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