There have been discussions in several threads about the particulars for evening wear so I thought I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢d spend some time rummaging through my closet and put together a primer on evening clothes. For some of you this is all old hat but there seems to be a demand. (In any case, it gives me a chance to dig out all my evening clothes and dress up!) THE BASICS Evening wear refers to the formal clothes you wear after 6:00 p.m. This is what most people today think of as ?¢‚Ç¨?ìformal wear?¢‚Ç¨?. The basic distinction is usually referred to by the colour of the bowtie: white tie and black tie. White Tie This means you wear a tailcoat that comes down to your waist and is cut in a straight line to your hips. The tails then drop down to the middle of your knees. It should have silk or grosgrain facings on the lapel and a prominent stripe down the side of the leg (more on that later). This is correctly worn with a stiff-fronted shirt with a detachable collar, a stiff wing-tip collar, a white waistcoat and a white bowtie. The front of the coat should completely cover the bottom of the waistcoat. You don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t want a little band of white around your tummy! Shirt studs and cufflinks should be white (some small decoration is allowed but it must be very understated.) The socks are black and the shoes can be either black patent leather or very highly polished, very plain black leather (no wing tips, no punching, an undecorated toe cap is the standard) For an excellent, in-depth discussion of tails, see this article in the London Lounge http://thelondonlounge.net/gl/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5526 Black Tie This means you wear what?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s usually called a tuxedo jacket today (many people in the 30s and 40s disapproved of using the word ?¢‚Ç¨?ìtuxedo?¢‚Ç¨?; the correct term is ?¢‚Ç¨?ìdinner jacket?¢‚Ç¨?). A single breasted jacket is considered more formal than a double breasted jacket. Peak lapels are the most formal, a shawl collar comes next and the notched lapel is ?¢‚Ç¨?ìan abomination?¢‚Ç¨? (according to some, me included!!). Lapels should again be faced and the stripe down the side of the leg is less prominent than that of tails. Midnight blue is a fully permissible option. The dinner jacket must be worn with a black bowtie. Beyond that, there is more flexibility. The waistcoat may be black or white. The white waistcoat is worn with the same stiff shirt and collar as the tails; the black waistcoat may be worn with either a wingtip collar or a fold-over collar. A cummerbund was considered very informal. A cummerbund should be worn with the pleats opening upwards. In the mid-30s, the white waistcoat was considered more formal. By the 40s, white and black waistcoats were regarded as being of equal formality. Same choice of shoes and socks as with white tie. White Dinner Jacket The white dinner jacket was designed for hot weather and tropical climates. It follows the same rules as the black dinner jacket but should not be worn in the winter in a cold climate. It is considered one step down in formality from the black dinner jacket and was considered a prime companion for the cummerbund (which is generally cooler than a waistcoat). An interesting note about white dinner jackets is that they may have self-faced lapels. This means that there is no silk on the lapels and the jacket actually looks like a regular jacket. Very rarely, black dinner jackets had self faced lapels, too. IF the jacket has self faced lapels, the trousers should have no stripe down the side.