2014 Emmys Red Carpet

Part of an ongoing series spotlighting the (in)ability of the men on the red carpet to capture the timeless elegance and sophisticated equivalence of black tie, whether through careful adherence to its conventions or skilful manipulation of them. (Readers unfamiliar with the standards of successful black tie may want to first check out A Field Guide to Tuxedos.)

2014_emmys

At Monday’s Emmys the dress code for the evening was apparently overly tight, long and low trousers, uncovered waists, and covered shirt cuffs.   Come on guys, this is getting really old.

 Exceptional

Examples that demonstrate the tuxedo’s potential fulfilled, illustrating why black tie has been unequalled in its ability to transform a man and inspire an evening for over a century.

None of the outfits I saw this year managed to hit every mark.  But there were a few that came awfully close . . .

Commendable

Admirable efforts.  Excluded from the highest honours due to minor shortcomings but nonetheless very respectable examples for the average man to emulate.

Actor Colin Hanks.  Only the oversized floppy tie keeps Mr. Hanks out of the exceptional category, and even that could be argued to be in perfect proportion to the lapels.  (Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)

Actor Colin Hanks. Only the oversized floppy tie keeps him out of the exceptional category, and even that could be argued to be in proper proportion to the wide lapels. (Kevork Djansezian/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)

Actor William H. Macy wearing Jon Varvatos.  Another near exceptional outfit . . . if not for the long trousers. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America)

Actor William H. Macy wearing Jon Varvatos. Another near exceptional outfit . . . if not for the long trousers pooling at the ankles. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Matt Bomer in head-to-toe Tom Ford.  I'm not a big fan of the flared jacket cuffs and the trousers are too tight to hang properly.   Otherwise a great look. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America)

Actor Matt Bomer in head-to-toe Tom Ford. I’m not a big fan of the flared jacket cuffs and the trousers are too tight to hang properly but these are hardly major shortcomings. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(L-R) Mad Men actors Christopher Stanley, Jay R. Ferguson and Kevin Rahm.  If it wasn't for the shirt waists . . . (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America)

(L-R) Mad Men actors Christopher Stanley, Jay R. Ferguson and Kevin Rahm. If it wasn’t for the bared shirt waists . . .
(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Debatable

Tastefully off the mark. Thought-provoking variations not necessarily recommended for viewers at home.  Most likely to be chosen “best dressed” by fashionistas who neglect to put the outfit in context.

Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita in Etro suits.  Ferguson's window pane pattern is interesting but ultimately too casual for black tie.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images North America)

Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita in Etro suits. Ferguson’s window pane pattern is interesting but ultimately too casual for black tie. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Ferguson's castmate Ty Burell in custom Todd Snyder fits more like spandex biking shorts than a formal suit. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Ferguson’s castmate Ty Burell in a custom Todd Snyder that fits more like spandex biking shorts than a formal suit. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting might have been able to pull off this mix-and-match look if he would have just kept the jacket buttoned. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images )

Professional tennis player Ryan Sweeting might have been able to pull off this mix-and-match look if he would have just kept the jacket closed. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images )

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine in another outfit that may look good in isolation but can't hold its own next to a proper black-tie kit. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine in another outfit that may look good in isolation but can’t hold its own next to a proper black-tie kit. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Musician Jack Antonoff's brown Prada tuxedo isn't so bad but the yellow polka dot socks definitely are. (Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)

Musician Jack Antonoff”s brown Prada tuxedo isn’t so bad but the yellow polka dot socks definitely are. (Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)

Forgettable

More insipid than inspired. Examples of bland execution that will hopefully motivate others to step up their game.

The tarted-up business suit contingent was in full force on Monday night.  Here are a couple of the worst examples:

Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Jordan Peele's tuxedo fits like a rental.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Jordan Peele’s tuxedo fits like a rental. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Regrettable

Good intentions, bad choices.

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel's addition of a black suit vest only adds to the pedestrian look of his tuxedo.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s addition of a black suit vest only adds to the pedestrian look of his tuxedo. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Actor Keith Carradine's morning dress-style waistcoat and watch chain only mar an otherwise handsome tuxedo.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Actor Keith Carradine’s morning dress-style waistcoat and watch chain mar an otherwise handsome tuxedo. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

TV personality Chris Hardwick's outfit has all the right details but fails completely in the execution.  ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

TV personality Chris Hardwick’s outfit has all the right details but fails completely in the execution. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Compare actor Jeff Daniels' grey dinner suit to William H. Macy's version and you'll see an unorthodox variation can only succeed when all other details are traditional.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Compare actor Jeff Daniels’ grey dinner suit to William H. Macy’s version and you’ll see an unorthodox variation succeeds best when all other details are kept traditional. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images )

Laughable

Hall of Shame candidates.  The most blatant bastardizations and sophomoric interpretations of formal convention, whether due to naïve ignorance or smug self-importance.  The results denigrate both the wearer and the occasion.

Apparently Matthew McConaughey's blue tuxedo was part of an SNL schtick with Woody Harrelson.  Given McConaughey's poor taste in the past, I'm not buying that cover.  (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Apparently Matthew McConaughey’s blue tuxedo was part of a shtick with Woody Harrelson. Given McConaughey’s poor taste in the past, I’m not buying that cover. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Big Bang Theory's Johnny Galecki just signed for one million dollars per episode for the upcoming season.  Bet he's happy to be getting off food stamps. ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Big Bang Theory‘s Johnny Galecki just signed for one million dollars per episode. Judging by his appearance, he’s been paid in food stamps up until now.  ( Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

TV personalities Drew Scott, Jonathan Silver Scott, J.D. Scott competing for honour of biggest douchebag. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

TV personalities Drew Scott, Jonathan Silver Scott, J.D. Scott competing for honour of biggest douchebag. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Kevin Spacey: What. The. Hell? (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Kevin Spacey: What. The. Hell? (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

 

12 Comments

  1. LAStyleGuy

    I agree with all your comments. And Ican’t believe, that with all their stylists and handlers who are so worried about their image, they can’t “follow the script” and adhere to the simple principles of black-tie dress.

    Reply
  2. Reggie

    Sadly, to all the men who live in jeans, putting on any kind of suit is formal to them.

    Reply
    1. Duncan Pike

      I’m wearing cargo shorts and a t-shirt at the moment, and will go to work in half an hour wearing sweatpants, a nylon jacket, and underarmour shirt… so … excuse denied!

      Reply
      1. Peter Marshall

        I should point out to readers that Duncan’s work is coaching skating so his attire is entirely appropriate!

        Reply
  3. BW_UK

    I find that I “live in jeans” much of the time but it doesn’t mean that I don’t know how to wear a suit properly when the occasion arises — especially formal wear!

    Of those listed above, Colin Hanks and Matt Bomer pretty much take the prize. Hank’s slightly larger tie and the deliberate styling of Bomer’s cuffs don’t bother me in the slightest; both are subtle personal choices within otherwise classic Black Tie and, perhaps more importantly, are worn and carried-off with suitable understated aplomb!

    For the record, I actually rather like Kevin Spacey’s White Tie, just a shame it’s a bit excessive for the event in question. Black Tie of equivalent style would have been perfect! Oh well…

    Reply
  4. flipper10

    It seems that the large floppy tie style of Colin Hanks runs in the family

    Reply
  5. Gino

    OK, Kevin Spacey was too formal in his white tie, but I think I would rather see that than the monstrosities being worn by some of the other men. It did not appear to be a stiff-fronted shirt, though.

    Reply
  6. wdwright77

    I watched the Emmys in their entirety and I have to admit I saw more faux pass than I care to itemize. There were maybe three guys not including our host Seth Meyers, who had everything perfect but so many of the men had a lot wrong with their tuxedos. It’s shocking to see how far down formal dressing has come and it’s all thanks to the award shows. I think what needs to happen is that someone needs to kick a customer or three off of these things and allow the men’s wives or so’s to take over the job. There must be a way to get Formal dress back to what it truly is meant to be. As for Spacey, yes he did take it too far by donning a white tie ensemble for the show!

    Reply
  7. wdwright77

    Looking above my comment, I see that someone writes how they live in jeans, but yet they know how to wear a tux. That is good. It shows that the man is able to distinguish between work and looking good for a night out. Myself: I prefer to dress in dress clothing a good portion of the time as my job will soon demand it. I cannot stand wearing jeans except to work around the house (oops not so much anymore). I also cannot stand to see jeans and torn t-shirts and backward baseball caps showing up at Classical Music Concerts. I’m not saying that anybody has to follow my lead and wear Black Tie, but I have had more musicians from my hometown orchestra stop me and say thanks for wearing my tux to their concerts as it shows I respect what they do and that I must enjoy their efforts. The fact is, it does take no more time to put the tux on than it does to put a normal suit on, but I love going that extra mile and when putting the bow tie on as well as the cummerbund I always makes sure they are a bit tighter and that everything comes together including trousers being held up by braces so I can actually be more comfortable. Now then, I say to these Hollywood guys, if a regular guy like myself can do this and look his absolutely outstanding best, why can’t you with all your high priced help?

    Reply
  8. Arend

    I sympathise with Spacey being desperate for occasions to wear a white tie. Imagine how i feel, posessing not only a white tie but also a morning suit. (And not caring about horse races).

    Reply
    1. Duncan Pike

      Most of the day at the horse races is spent wandering around, enjoying the weather. There’s generally a 90 second race every 45 or 60 minutes. So, really, it’s about dressing up – even in Vancouver people dress up for the race track. It’s the only place I consistently see a large proportion of people giving a crap.

      Reply
  9. Name

    I’m a bit late to this party, but Kevin Spacey was wearing White Tie, not Black Tie. Even accounting for that he wouldn’t have been considered flawless by anyone given his too-loose trousers and lack of visible cuffs.

    That said, I’d put him at a solid “commendable” given that his main issues were minor things such as improper fit instead of any actual foux pas in the outfit itself.

    Reply

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