The Elements Of Black Tie Attire
September 22nd, 2010
The Elements of Tailor made Black Tie Attire
Unlike white tie, which is very strictly regulated, black-tie ensembles can display more variation. In brief, the traditional components are:
* A jacket with ribbed silk facings (usually grosgrain) on a shawl collar or peaked lapel (while a notched lapel is a popular modern choice, it is not traditionally considered correct)
* Trousers with a single silk or satin braid covering the outer seams
* A low-cut waistcoat or Cummerbund
* A white dress shirt with a turn-down collar, shirt studs, and cufflinks (a marcella front is traditional, but other styles are also accepted - a wing collar shirt is acceptable in the US)
* A black ribbed silk bow tie matching the lapel facings (self-tie bow ties are preferred but not necessary)
* Black dress socks, usually silk or fine wool
* Black shoes, highly polished or patent leather Oxfords, or patent leather court shoes
The typical black-tie jacket is single-breasted, ventless, and black or midnight-blue; usually of wool or a wool–mohair blend. Double breasted models are less common, but are equally acceptable. The lapels may be faced with silk in either a grosgrain or less traditional satin weave. Traditionally there are two lapel options, the shawl collar, derived from the smoking jacket, and the peak lapel, from the tailcoat. The former is older, while the latter is considered more formal. A third lapel style, the notched lapel, has only recently gained popularity, and has been accepted by some as "a legitimate ... less formal alternative," although, despite some precedent, it is disdained by purists for its lounge suit derivation. In France, Italy, Brazil, Germany and Spain, the jacket is called smoking. In France the shawl-collared version is le smoking Deauville, while the peaked-lapel version is le smoking Capri.
The double-breasted jacket is slightly more modern than the single-breasted, and less formal; while it was originally considered acceptable only for wear at home (similarly to Prince Albert slippers or a smoking jacket), it is now equally correct in all situations, though traditional rules regarding slightly different selections of accessories may be followed. While more common with a peaked lapel, a shawl lapel is appropriate. All buttons that can be done up, are, including any inner ones which might normally be left undone on a double-breasted lounge suit. While two-button variants are sometimes seen, the traditional single-breasted jacket has a one-button closure.
Black tie trousers have no turn-ups (cuffs) or belt loops. The outer seams are usually decorated with a single silk braid or less traditionally a material that matches the lapel facing. Customarily, braces (suspenders) hold up the trousers; they are hidden by the waistcoat (if worn) or by the coat. The trousers traditionally feature a pleated front, flat-front trousers being a modern innovation in this context.
Waistcoat or cummerbund
The waist is dressed in either a waistcoat (aka Vest) or a cummerbund when wearing a single-breasted coat. The waistcoat should be low-cut; traditional models may be of either the 'V' or rarer 'U' shape and may be backless or fully backed, double or single breasted, and should have shawl lapels. Single breasted styles should have no more than three buttons, and double no more than three rows.
The shirt is conventionally white or off-white (cotton or linen) with a turn down collar. Its front is usually traditional marcella but can be pleated, plain, or more rarely a stiff front (as with white tie).
source : wikipedia