After spending so many years learning how to properly execute Black Tie and discovering its unsurpassed ability to enhance both a man and an evening, it’s discouraging to witness the constant barrage of poor role models in popular culture. Whether it’s a clueless celebrity opting for an undone shirt with his tuxedo or a new line of formal wear modeled after the vulgarity of Jersey Shore, the uneducated public typically assumes any new trend to be a legitimate black-tie option. And the more that people adopt these aberrations the rarer it will become for sophisticated dressers (male and female) to enjoy the sublime elegance of a proper black-tie occasion.
So it does my heart good when I come across knowledgeable role models or advice. For example, the major red carpet ceremonies of late have offered up a remarkable display of traditional refinement. And just this week I stumbled across Esquire’s impressive “Everyman’s Guide to Black Tie”. Whereas rival GQ’s online formalwear guides are sparse, trendy and often contradictory, Esquire’s version is relatively detailed and relatively faithful to tried-and-true conventions. (I find that is historically the case with these two periodicals.) Their sound advice includes always covering the waist with a cummerbund, always opting for self-tie bow ties, trying midnight blue as an alternative to black and not overlooking the aesthetic superiority of patent leather footwear.
Thank you Esquire.