FashionBeans: Men's Fashion & Men's Style Guide
15-07-2014 10:42 AM
Combine white tie and black tie trousers?
I was planing to buy a blacktie/smoking/tuxedo this summer. Not that I need to wear one that often but I really like the look and wanted to treat myself to one. Now I just got invited to a weeding where the dress code is white tie/evening tailcoat. Been looking at the rental cost vs buying and was thinking that it might be worth buying the white tie ensemble if I could combine the outfits. Ignoring the fact that white tie trousers are suppose to have two strips along the side and black tie one, could I find a pair of trousers that would go with both outfits and if so, what features do I need to consider?
18-07-2014 05:21 PM
A very specialist question. Briefly, the same trousers can be used for both white tie and black tie.
You are right that white tie and tailcoat trousers normally come with double braid down the leg and black tie (dinner jacket/tuxedo/smoking/call-it-what-you-will) with a single stipe of silk (braid, satin or grosgrain) on the leg. However, white tie worn with trousers with a single broad stripe/braid have always been accepted as kosher so there is no embarrassment in having double duty trousers.
Something you might like to think about, however, is that white tie often has a higher waistline than many other suits. Whilst many dinner jacket trousers will finish with a low waist, white tie often demands a higher finish, around the actual waist. This because where your trousers stop determines where the waistcoat has to come to (this clearly has to cover the top of the trousers). That in turn effects where the tailcoat front ends as an evening tailcoat is supposed to largely cover the waistcoat or end at exactly the same point. White waistcoat poking out all the way beneath the tailcoat is the mark of a hired suit that doesn't quite fit - exactly what you want to avoid.
Also, remember that tailcoats are unusual and unlikely to be cheap to have made.
On the plus side white tie - when done properly and when you've got a suit that fits perfectly - is very flattering and I'm sure you'll look great.
In general, for any queries on these sorts of issues let me point you in the direction of The Black Tie Guide (Black Tie Guide | White Tie: Introduction)