Sunday, 22 July 2018

Grosgrain is so dull



Feeling under-dressed?
A man, especially a young man, may be able to do without a morning coat, but he needs a dinner jacket (even if he never owns a tail coat). Here is a suit that should do duty for five years if it is well chosen, of good quality, from a good men's shop, if ready-made, or carefully tailored by a recognized tailor. Unless a man can afford two or more dinner jackets, he should stick to the conservative black, for if he appears in it time and time again, no one knows but what he may have two or a dozen like it. If he chooses his one tuxedo in the newer midnight blue, it would seem inconceivable to the observant eye that he had two such alike. And there are occasions on which he might feel slightly conspicuous in the slightly less formal blue. As for dark red or other colours in dinner jackets which may have seasonal popularity, it's better to shun them unless he has an extensive evening wardrobe...

...The vest [note to people who speak The Queen's English: read "waistcoat"] usually matches the suit but may also be of white pique, marseilles (or marcella), or black or midnight blue silk, ribbed or figured. Small braid matching that on the trousers may trim the vest in a custom-made suit. It is fastened with self-covered or smoked pearl buttons, not links. The vest is always dispensed with with a cummerbund (silk, rib-hugging sash which hides the top of the trousers), but this somewhat dashing accessory is no asset to a gentleman of expanded girth. The cummerbund is now best worn in black, maroon, or midnight blue. The cummerbund is particularly attractive, and certainly more comfortable, in summer and may be topped by a summer dinner jacket in white, with or without lapels or shawl collar in the same fabric. Or, if a man's figure can stand it, a white linen mess jacket, but this has come to be considered theatrical.

Dinner jacket lapels may be more peaked than those of business suits but should avoid eccentricity. A shawl or a notched collar, considered more casual, is preferred by some, and the facing of either type may be satin, grosgrain, or of the same fabric if the jacket is white.

The lines of a dinner jacket should be about the same as those of an easy, comfortable business suit. Avoid the too-fitted waist and the too-narrow Latin-style trousers as well as the absurdly built-out shoulders, although some padding is advisable for most men...

...Like the dinner jacket, the tail coat may today be black or the deep midnight blue which reputedly looks blacker than black at night. The trousers worn with it may be the same as those for the dinner jacket, for economy's sake, or have the somewhat wider, finer braid usual for full dress. The lapels are satin or grosgrain (of course grosgrain is so dull that one might almost as well wear a dark blue or black sack coat), always conservatively peaked and never the shawl collar sometimes seen on dinner jackets. If he can possibly afford it, a man should have his tail coat made to order, unless he is of average proportions, because it is almost impossible to alter a ready-made tail coat so that it fits as if it were made for him. A man somewhat under average height may shun the tail coat, because he feels it makes him look shorter. Yet if the tails are proportioned to his height by an expert tailor the suit can seem to give him several inches in height. A ready-made tail coat or a rented one for such a man can make him look like a small boy masquerading in his father's clothes. But, tailored to fit, "white tie" can give any man a special dignity and distinction as do no other clothes...

...Gloves worn on the street are white doe-skin or chamois. Today the white kid gloves, ultra-correct for indoor wear with formal clothes, are seldom seen, although some fastidious men don them for dancing, to avoid having to place a moist hand on a woman's bare back. Actually, a man's white kid gloves worn this way are not removed even when he is acknowledging introductions or having supper...

[and, finally] ...If you don't own a black silk hat or an opera hat, don't wear tails at all.
Essential tips for the modern man, courtesy of Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette - a Guide to Gracious Living (1952).

Amy Osborne Vanderbilt (22nd July 1908 – 27th December 1974)

10 comments:

  1. do the guys above ping your gaydar? I don't know anyone that wears formal clothes these days.

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  2. I don't recommend wearing grosgrain pants commando. Just saying.

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    1. The "too-fitted waist and the too-narrow Latin-style trousers" sound a bit uncomfortable, as well... Jx

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  3. I like the Baton 232 Tuxedo Open Notch Lapels! Very chic but also cool and laid back. I also want his hat. The other two lapels remind me of Dynasty shoulder pads, big and ostentatious! I prefer to be subtle and not draw too much attention. Some things are more fun and can only (and should) be done in the dark shadows.

    Love the Battle 229 Full Dress White Vest and bow tie--I wore something similar to my Senior Ball! Along with the shiny shoes and creased pants. I looked sharp and got more compliments and had more fotos taken than any other well dressed fella (and most girls) that night. I covet Battany 230 Tuxedo Peaked Lapels pimp cane and all their pocket squares.

    I hope the three men are discussing their agreement that next time, wear less powder and rouge...unless they're trying to look like whores or put on a kabuki show.

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    1. "Wear less powder and rouge" - this could explain why the young ladies in the background appear to be sniggering and avoiding the threesome... Jx

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  4. What is a Tuxedo is it American for a Dinner Jacket ?

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    1. Apparently it's named after a town of the same name - whose name is derived from a Native American word of the Lenape language, tucsedo or p'tuxseepu, which is said to mean "crooked water"[3] or "crooked river."

      Clear as mud, really, why the connection.

      Jx

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  5. I never invite Grosgrain to parties as I don't want my guests to be bored.

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    1. “A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.”
      ― Oscar Wilde

      Jx

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