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.)
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.
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 . . .
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 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 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 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 bared shirt waists . . .
(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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)
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 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 )
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)
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)
Actor Jordan Peele’s tuxedo fits like a rental. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
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 )
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)
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 )
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 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. 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)
Kevin Spacey: What. The. Hell? (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)