The Black Tie “Quick Guide”

Posted on April 17, 2014

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As promised in my recent Black Tie Guide annual traffic review, I have created a condensed version of the Guide that sums up its essential lessons for people with limited time and/or patience.

The site’s recent traffic milestone of 100,000 monthly visitors sparked a sobering realization that the Guide does not just appeal to devout sartorialists. Clearly its contents are being checked out by all types of people and, based on search keywords they’re using, they’re primarily interested in the dress code’s most basic aspects.  Considering how quickly people expect to find answers these days, I imagine that when the average visitor arrives at the site they must be quite daunted to discover an encyclopedic 90,000-word opus covering everything from 19th century formal neckwear to military tuxedo equivalents.  I can’t say I’d blame them.

Therefore, I’ve boiled down the most basic rules of black tie into a brief three-page primer I call the Quick Guide.

This drastic abbreviation of content forced me to define very precisely what I felt to be the crux of a formalwear education.  Certainly, the  “who”, “where”, “what”, “when” and of the dress code  was mandatory content but that information on its own is already easily available from Wikipedia. In order to provide a more valuable tool, I also decided to incorporate the Guide’s advisory nature, explaining “how” a person could most successfully execute the required outfit and advocating “why” it was worth the effort to do so.   In the end I arrived at three summary topics:

  1. I began with the dress code’s fundamental etiquette to answer the questions  visitors were most likely to be asking (i.e. the “five Ws”) .
  2. I then briefly summarized  evening wear’s history to set the context for a discussion of today’s tuxedo incarnations.
  3. I concluded with the fundamentals of style, grouped into three themes:  a summary of the outfit’s timeless sartorial traits, a foundation for skilfully modifying those traits, and an explanation of the critical importance of proper fit.

Each of the topics, in turn, concludes with recommendations for further reading within the Guide proper.

If I’ve built this feature properly then I would expect it to spread the Guide’s teachings to a wider audience than ever before.  I guess we’ll see the next time we review the site’s annual traffic stats!

Posted in: Updates