Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Black Tie Ensembles

by James Lourey

Black tie events are the crème de la crème when we're expected to look our best. Whether your choice is a stylish tuxedo or a well cut suit, you need to be sure you're following the dress code correctly before thinking about adding your own touches of class. More often than not men get confused about the correct attire to wear at a black tie event; truthfully speaking the correct definition would be a traditional black tuxedo or dinner jacket, but quite frankly that's extremely strict and left not much room for addition or alterations.

However, in the last decade designers have been able to accentuate the ideas of black tie with new colour shades and combinations while keeping the classical elegance of the outfit. For example, remember Daniel Craig's navy tux from Skyfall? Tom Ford's daring recreation of the tuxedo on such a style icon as James Bond went directly against the rules and expectations of formal wear; and you know what, they're everywhere now.

So, as the black tie dress code becomes more and more creative, we thought we'd put together three ensembles that would make great example of both traditional and contemporary sartorial elegance.

1. Black Wide Peak Lapel Dinner Suit


Classic, formal and powerful. There's a reason why Harvey Specter only wears suits with peak lapels, the tailoring technique emphasises shoulder shape giving the perfect 'V' shape any suit should. White pocket square to lighten up the suit, always understated yet necessary. 

2. Blue Velvet Topped Tuxedo


Following the James Bond example, the reason behind the deep French navy colour in the jacket is that it has such a positive impact on lighting especially in the evening. The blue is so subtle that in a darkened area the jacket will appear to be darker than it actually is. Often in photographs black suits can come off looking very shiny, this stylish blue jacket will have you looking your best in whatever shot all night. Finally the polka dot pocket square matches the shirt and jacket colour contrast bringing the ensemble together. 

P.S. Christ velvet is comfortable.

3. Shawl Tuxedo w/ Black Tie



This is probably the only time I'll condone a skinny tie, and for good reason. The silk black tie matches the width of the shawl lapel, underplaying the formality of the tux while adding the dual triangle folded white pocket square for flair. 

In regards to shoes, please stick to black fellas, the idea of brown shoes with a tuxedo may sound exciting but it doesn't come off too well. 

 Edgwares by Crockett & Jones


 Lowndes by Crockett & Jones


Hallams by Crockett & Jones


You may have noticed that none of the three suit combinations have a wing tipped collar shirt. Good observation, and here's my reasoning; firstly there's no reason to make yourself look like Dracula (unless that's really the look you're going for... apologies to all the male Twilight fans out there), and secondly it makes you look like you have no neck. Done. 

There you have it; whether it be a patterned pocket square or variation of colour shade, make your next black tie event not another boring penguin suit occasion. 

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