A Striking Impression: The “Deep V”

Posted on December 1, 2011


When a man walks into a formal affair the first thing that identifies his black suit as a tuxedo is the accompanying black bow tie.  And the first thing that identifies his tuxedo as superlative is the broad white V of exposed shirt front.

This inverted triangle is a perfect confluence of sartorial ingenuity.  The traditional single-button jacket’s low buttoning point allows maximum exposure of the shirt front and the horizontal line of the bow tie tops it off.  These ebony borders also serve as a striking contrast to the shirt’s white expanse.   The result is a dramatic V shape mimicking the wide shoulders and narrow waist of a fit and youthful male torso.

Unfortunately tuxedo manufacturers of late have been doing their best to obliterate this unique effect.  The millennial trend of evening wear patterned after common business suits has meant that jackets are buttoning high and vests higher still.  Consequently the wearer appears as a mass of black broken up by only a small white patch up by his collarbone.  The current vogue for long ties does nothing to help the situation as it chops the exposed V (deep or otherwise) into two inconsequential halves.

A perfect example of the perils of opting for fleeting fashion (right) over timeless style (left).

Keep in mind that the V shape can only exist if the jacket is buttoned, yet another reason why a closed suit jacket will always look sharper than an open one.  Also note that the effect is ruined if the waist is left uncovered leaving even a smidgen of white shirt to peak out below the jacket’s closure.  See Geoffrey Rush at the top of the page for a perfect example of a gorgeous ensemble thrown off balance by this common oversight.

Tagged: