Black Tie Advice
In the New Year I am attending a black tie wedding reception of an old school friend of my partner. This will be a top notch affair and I would like to blend in a bit and not look like the guy in the cheap hire suit! Having said this however, I have limited funds and am unlikely to have to wear black tie very often! (though maybe I will organise a James Bond evening just to get some wear out of!).
Some useful looking advice from GQ on evening dress here:
The GQ Black Tie Guide: formal dress code explained - Men's Style - GQ.COM (UK)
Of course I immediately went to Mr Porter and oogled some very expensive Tuxedo's :D But back in the real world my options are a bit more limited. So far I have found the following:
Peak lapel Tuxedo from Reiss:
Knightly Black Single Breasted Peak Tux - REISS
Plus points: lot cheaper than anything on Mr Porter £450
Downsides: Centre vent, warned about in the GQ advice.
TW Lewin Tuxedo:
Guiness Slim-Fit 1-Button Black Dinner Suit | T.M.Lewin
Plus points: even cheaper than Reiss (£350)
Downsides: GQ warns that Shawl collars could b great.. or awful.
Goodwood B Navy Velvet Blazer - REISS
Or - hire the best evening suit I can find? Cheaper than buying one and won;t take up room in my wardrobe!
Any advice? Any semi-regular wearers of evening dress out there?
I would love to say go for the goodwood blazer, you can get the trousers with a satin stripe down the leg to match (can't remember what they're called), it's an excellent fit as well and you'll be the only one wearing velvet.
But you'll find the T.M Lewin or the first Reiss one more practical and usable, velvet won't be big forever, especially in Navy.
Definitely buy one, then you can have it altered to fit perfectly.
Thanks for the advice. Hopefully I can try the T.M Lewin one on in my local store.
What about the cumberband? Is it possible/appropriate to replace that with a waistcoat?
Another option here:
Suit Black Plain Tuxedo P1109a | Suitsupply Online Store
Slightly cheaper at £299, and with silk rather than stain trip.
Anyone used Suit Supply before? I've read about them, but never seen any of there stuff in the flesh, as it were.
Whichever you try, just please do buy it; a man should own a tuxedo. And as Will rightly says you can get it altered to a much better fit.
Skip the cummerbund if you must, yes - a waistcoat is fine. But you should wear one or the other; frames the bow tie much better. Unless of course you're one of those daring types that goes in for a straight black silk necktie, in which case feel free to skip the cummerbund and waistcoat and generally be the chillest mofo in the room.
Oh, and wear a white pocket square or a black buttoniere - but not both. Too fussy ;)
Actually it turns out I got the dress code for this wedding reception wrong. I had assumed that because we were going to the reception but not the wedding service then it would be black tie. But in fact it is morning dress for both wedding and reception. Bit disappointed with this, since I prefer the idea of investing in a tux, which may have more uses.
Having hired a morning suit previously and felt cheap and out of place, I will be keeping an eye out for good quality second hand tails etc. so that I have some chance of looking OK. I've seen a wool tailcoat on eBay in my size with working buttons for not very much. I'm sure I will be able to get some second hand traditional striped morning suit trousers too. Any suggestions for waistcoats though?
How much do you have to spend? You can be fitted for a nice waistcoat at most respectable gentlemen's shops...
eBay might well be able to provide you with a decent waistcoat too. I'd suggest dove grey and double breasted, if you can get it.
You could always combine it with a dark blue suit for other events - one of the few odd waistcoat looks that works, in my view.
If you are still thinking of getting a dinner jacket - and why not? - I'd suggest going for the Lewin's suit rather than the Reiss one.
Firstly, dinner jackets are traditionally not vented at all but, if they are, should come with the more formal and generally more flattering double vents. The Reiss suit has a single vent. This is slightly more than snobbery or one of those incomprehensible rules: a single vent pulls open and shows your shirt at the back when you move and can look messy. Secondly, the Reiss suit has pocket flaps. Dinner suits generally don't. It is one of those things that marks it out as different to a normal suit jacket. Thirdly, the button stance on the Reiss suit is higher - slightly above the natural waist. This is probably because the tailoring is modelled on a normal jacket, but dinner suits are designed to have a lower single button so that more of the white shirt front is exposed.
You might want to consider Lewin's other dinner jacket as well, which has peaked lapels rather than a shawl collar. My only issue is that I prefer more than one button on the sleeve - a very Carnaby Street 60s touch. Have a look at the Black Tie Guide website, when you are thinking of buying one.