rules of etiquette relating to formal clothing have
been developed over many years of differing styles
of fashion and modes of dress. The guidelines that
follow will help you to interpret the various terms
that may appear on your invitation or ticket.
first, some interesting background info.
Victorian times, a gentleman when dining out or visiting
the theatre in the presence of ladies would always
wear formal attire consisting of black evening tail
coat, black top hat and white gloves (as described
later as "white tie"). Only when relaxing at his "club"
might he relax sufficiently to allow himself to wear
a smoking jacket.
this changed on 10th October 1886 at the Autumn Ball
of the Tuxedo Park Club in New York when the assembled
leading lights of New York society were stunned by
the entrance of a certain Mr Griswold Lorillard who
was sporting a rather unusual SHORT
jacket with satin lapels.What! No tails?
society being what it was he was not thrown out, but
actually won so many admirers during this first experiment
that the jacket was adopted by a number of other Tuxedo
Park members for formal occasions. Hence the "tuxedo"
was born, designed by Mr Lorillard with the English
smoking jacket in mind.
was also America that gave us the white dinner jacket,
made popular in the 1930's by Humphrey Bogart in the
thanks to Mr Stanley Barten of Hire News)
tie' appears on an invitation it is
an indication that the guest is expected to wear formal
evening dress. This usually consists of a dinner jacket,
with matching trousers, most often in black. The dinner
jacket will have satin lapels and trimmings to make
it distinct from a lounge jacket, which is for daytime
The trousers should have a black satin braid
down the length of the outer leg seam.
dinner suit should be worn with a white dress shirt.
The choice of collar style, either wing or standard
collar, is optional and down to personal choice.
A black bow tie would be worn with matching
An alternative to the cummerbund is a waistcoat.
With a double-breasted jacket, neither is necessary.
Ideally, plain black patent or fine leather
shoes should be worn.
summer events, cruises
etc, a white Tuxedo style dinner jacket can be worn
in place of the black dinner jacket.
the term 'black tie' is often used to indicate the
required mode of dress, the use of a black
tie is nowadays not always strictly necessary. For
formal 'black tie' events, such as
parties and celebrations, it is usually acceptable
to be more adventurous with your choice of accessories.
Colourful waistcoats, bow ties and cummerbunds are
a popular way of adding a touch of spice and originality
to the conventional dinner suit. However, if you will
be attending a more
formal event it is advisable to play
safe and stick with black.
most glamorous and romantic evening wear of all, 'white
tie and tails' is not only worn to the most glamorous
and romantic evening parties, but also to the
most formal of evening occasions such
The white tie outfit consists of a black evening
tailcoat, black dress trousers with a double braid
down the outer seam, and a stiff-fronted shirt fastened
with mother of pearl or gold studs and cufflinks.
The bow tie and waistcoat are both white pique
(otherwise known as Marcella) to match the shirt front
and shoes are as for black tie.
Those who want to look the full part would
don a black top hat, a pair of white gloves and even
a black cloak and a black cane.
known as top hat and tails, morning wear is worn by
male members of a wedding
party e.g. Groom, Fathers of the Bride and
Groom, Best Man and Ushers. Morning wear is also worn
at other formal social events such as Royal
Ascot, Royal garden parties,
of the Colour, Investitures
and other Royal
or Court events. It may also be worn at society
traditional Morning Suit consists of a black or grey
tailcoat worn with striped (for the black) or matching
plain (for the grey) trousers. A waistcoat or vest
(back-less waistcoat) should be worn over a plain
white shirt. In most cases either a tie or a cravat
is acceptable, although a cravat is best worn with
a wing collar on the shirt. A black or grey top hat
should accessorise the suit, together with a pair
of lightweight grey gloves.
where the individual bride and groom can determine
just how conventional their dress code should be,
alternative colours can be selected for the morning
suit and accessories depending on current availability
and fashion trends. A more colourful and expressive
waistcoat is a very popular way of complementing the
conventional morning suit and a wide selection is
always available from your local branch of DAPPER
Designer Dresswear or through this website.
A BOW TIE
the bow tie around your neck and slip one end through
the other, fold the right end in half at the middle
of the bulge and hold it in place.
Bring the other half over the top of the folded
half and fold it mid-bulge too. Tuck it through behind
the other half of the tie.
Tighten by alternately pulling both folded
and single ends.clear as mud? Have a look at the step-by-step
diagrams (printing them out might help).
lounge suit is worn at less formal occasions such
as business meetings, interviews etc, where more formal
dress is not necessary. It often consists of
a black, grey or navy jacket with matching trousers.
A white shirt and a tie are also worn to complement
DIPLOMATIC AND FORMAL OCCASIONS
on the setting, the dress code changes for these occasions.
parties, you would wear a morning (see
MORNING WEAR) or lounge suit (see LOUNGE WEAR), unless
you have a service uniform or national dress.
functions such as a state
banquet and the state opening of parliament,
dress is very formal.
You must wear white tie, or national dress.
Decorations are worn.
These occasions are chances to wear your best
and most prized possessions.
Ascot is the most prestigious
event of the racing calendar, and although the public
is able to purchase tickets for the royal enclosure,
it is a very formal occasion at which no exceptions
are made regarding dress. Anyone who arrives
improperly dressed is simply not admitted. You
should wear traditional morning wear (see MORNING
WEAR) and although service dress is acceptable, it
is rarely worn.
sleeves of any jacket should reach the base of the
hand when the arms are straight by the side.
The collar should fit closely round the back of the
neck with about half an inch of shirt collar showing
above the jacket. Shirt cuffs should show a
little below the jacket sleeves. Jackets such as the
dinner jacket and lounge jacket, should be long enough
to cover the seat of the trousers, and should hang
evenly all round.
bottom of the trouser leg rests on the front of the
shoe and should be slightly longer at the back.
ARE GUIDELINES ONLY AND MAY BE ADJUSTED FOR PERSONAL
HERE FOR DETAILED SIZING AND
NO DRESS CODE IS SPECIFIED ON THE INVITATION OR TICKET,
THEN IT IS ADVISABLE TO CHECK WITH THE ORGANISERS