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Spats with black tie?

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by AEF17, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. AEF17

    AEF17 New in Town

    I've looked to see if anything has been posted about this, and can't find it.

    My question is whether or not it was acceptable at some point for men to wear spats with black tie.

    I'm thinking particularly of the 1920's/early 1930's. I've seen a few pictures of musicians(!) of the day wearing gray spats with their tuxedoes, and I was even more suprised to see a movie poster for Douglas Fairbanks' 1930 film Reaching for the Moon, picturing him in a tuxedo and spats (although he didn't pair them in the movie), so I wondered if there was any legitimacy for such a thing.

    Or, was it rather "loud," and, as with white tie, breaks the "look" that formal wear creates? It was someone on here who disabused me of the notion that spats could be worn with white-tie, despite Fred Astaire, and I wouldn't mind being set straight on this as well.

    Thanks so much, in advance!
  2. ok to get to an event but should then be removed, black tie is, plain black patent shoes.
  3. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

    Spats are not worn with black tie, nor should they be worn with any evening formal wear. They're worn with daytime formal or business.
  4. ottawa_adam

    ottawa_adam One of the Regulars

    You may find the information you are looking for at the Black Tie Guide: http://www.blacktieguide.com/

    This gentleman has done a lot of research regarding the origins of black tie wear, as well as what is considered to be acceptable.
  5. AEF17

    AEF17 New in Town

    Thanks so much for the kind replies. I won't make that mistake, although I still wonder why I see photos of tuxedoes and spats from the '20's.
  6. In addition to blacktieguide.com, check out the Fedora Lounge Formal Wear Primer, which is also very informative and has a bit more of a vintage emphasis to it.

    Can you post or link some photos of what you're talking about? The year after the two world wars in general -- and the 1920s in particular -- were transitional times for formal wear, so it would be interesting to see. It's also possible that the pictures you saw weren't actually tuxedos in the modern sense but rather very conservative daytime business wear.
  7. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    Here's the poster in question; he appears to be wearing a sort of morning dress dinner jacket hybrid.


    That is to say, the artist presumably knew nothing of formalwear, and hadn't watch the movie!
  8. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

    I found some stills from the movie, and Fairbanks wears morning dress. It doesn't look like a hybrid to me, just a bit stylised and in dark lighting. Morning dress was common enough in 1930 I'm sure the artist was familiar with it.
  9. Patent leather is NOT ever to be worn.
  10. This is unequivocally false; both historically and currently, patent leather shoes are absolutely acceptable for formal dress. See post #2 here and this article for specifics . . .

    . . . as to whether patent shoes should ever be worn, that's another kettle of fish altogether ;)
  11. Do you mean suits like this, a la Hercule Poirot:


    As you can see, a suit like that above could very easily be mistaken for a tuxedo, if it were in a dark gray or black cloth -- especially in a black and white picture! This style of suit is not formal wear per se, but rather a very conservative form of daytime dress. When Agatha Christie wrote the first Poirot stories, in she 1910s, she pictured Poirot as an older man already set in his ways. As such, the styles of dress used to costume David Suchet as Poirot is really more of a late nineteenth/very early twentieth century style of dressing.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  12. Egads, he is wearing Patent leather AND spats! And that lovely young hussy will certainly muss his hair!

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