October 04 2011 Tuesday at 06:01 PM
Different climates and settings undoubtedly can influence the black tie protocol. Under certain circumstances, straying from the standard dress code is encouraged. One needs to take extra care, however, in matching the jacket with the appropriate context – lest he comically sticks out in a crowd.
• Double-Breasted – Can be worn in place of the single-breasted in most situations. It is considered less formal, but that formality is more of an anachronism these days. It can be worn with a stiff front and wing collar, or a soft, turn-down collar. No waistcoat is ever necessary with a double-breasted jacket.
• Shawl Lapel – The shawl lapel is the least formal of the three lapel types. The black (and especially the white or cream-colored) jackets are worn appropriately at summer outings, and in tropical climates. A soft, turn-down collar, black cummerbund and traditional black, braided trousers are staple accompaniment.
• Smoking Jacket – Not for the faint of heart. It’s the hallmark of a true sartorial artisan. It’s intent is for domestic use, but to own one means that you’ve probably got the gumption to wear it out of doors. Midnight purple, emerald green and burgundy velvets are good places to start. A soft, turn-down collar is the appropriate go-with.
The Minutiæ of Black Tie Etiquette:
by A. Gustav Bayer