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Formal Wear Primer

vintage.vendeuse

A-List Customer
Messages
355
Date on this black wool tuxedo, please

Good day, gentlemen!
My newest acquisition is this handsome tuxedo in black wool. The collar is ribbed like grosgrain ribbon from hats, is there a particular name for this? There are no labels whatsoever, not even a union label. The only inner pocket is hidden along the lining seam. As you can see, the jacket is skeleton lined, no back vent, the shoulders are only lightly padded, and the waist does have nice definition. Hong Kong finished seams.
The trousers have no belt loops, just suspender buttons. There is a Talon zip with top button closure. Double pleats on each side of the zip, diamond gusseted crotch.
Trousers: 36" waist, 14.5" rise, 33" inseam, cuff width 9.75"
Jacket: 42" chest, center back length 30", sleeve 26"
Approximate US size 38L
It's in awesome condition, though it is a lint magnet!
So... since I'm trying to get the hang of correctly dating menswear... I'm guessing 1940s?

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Last edited:

Rabbit

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,561
Location
Germany
The collar is ribbed like grosgrain ribbon from hats, is there a particular name for this?

These are very nice dinner clothes, Donna, just the way they should be. The facings of the lapel on dinner clothes can be either grosgrain or satin, and that's what it's called, too. There's no special name for it. In passing I'll note that satin is a weave, but I guess you knew that.
I suspect the facings are usually if not always made of silk (woven in either grosgrain or satin), so in that case the one difference to hat ribbons would be that the latter are typically a mixture of organic rayon and cotton. I'm not entirely sure if the jacket lapels are silk grosgrain, though. It could be the very same mixture as used for most pre-1960s hat ribbons, after all.

A total absence of labels hints toward a bespoke garment, made without labels at the request of the customer. I don't think RTW labels or departments stores would have sold their products without any branding, but who knows.

Based on the buttoning position (higher than what became fashionable by the mid 40s), the way the shoulder appear to be padded (well padded, but not overly so) and the liner material, I guess this one could be from the late 30s/ early 40s. Of course, bespoke garments were sometimes made to earlier styles, so it could be as late as late 40s.
 

BR Gordon

One Too Many
Messages
1,152
Location
New Mexico
I would like to wear white tie to a formal ball, but I'm concerned that it will look too much like a costume. This will be a function where the majority will be in black tie, with some dark suits, and maybe a white tie or two.

Has anyone worn white tie and what are your thoughts?
 

Big Man

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,781
Location
Nebo, NC


OK, so the photo is a little crappy, but this is what my wife, myself, my son, and daughter-in-law were wearing tonight when we went out for dinner and drinks.
 

Fastuni

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,277
Location
Germany
@BR Gordon

As long as you are certain that several others will be wearing white tie, I think it´s ok.
But black tie would probably be the safer bet.

@Big Man

Nice. You always seem to find a good occasion for wearing a tux.
 

Lensmaster

One of the Regulars
Messages
177
Location
Saginaw, Michigan


OK, so the photo is a little crappy, but this is what my wife, myself, my son, and daughter-in-law were wearing tonight when we went out for dinner and drinks.


So many people say they would buy a tuxedo but say "I don't know when I would wear it." You are the perfect example of my response "make a reason."
 

Big Man

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,781
Location
Nebo, NC
So many people say they would buy a tuxedo but say "I don't know when I would wear it." You are the perfect example of my response "make a reason."


Exactly! We had an absolute blast getting all dressed up and going out. And, everyone we met complemented us on how good we looked. Were we "over dressed"? Well, a dinner jacket wasn't required, but it certainly wasn't out of place. Had we been eating at a fast food place or a steak house, then yes, we would have been over dressed. But for where we were, it was just right for our own party.

It really is like you said, you do need to "make a reason" to go out like this. And you don't have to break the bank to do it either. Life is too short to eat bologna sandwiches every meal. :)


 

Big Man

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,781
Location
Nebo, NC
This past week the family went to Folly Beach, SC for a vacation. One night we went out to eat in Charleston at High Cotton. It was a nice occasion to dress up a bit and enjoy the evening. My son and I both had on our white dinner jackets, and my wife, daughter-in-law, daughter and granddaughter all had on their nice dresses. Several people stopped by our table to ask "what's the special occasion?" My reply was, "it's Tuesday night." Almost without exception, everyone would say something to the effect that it was nice to see people dress so nicely to go out.








 

Quetzal

One of the Regulars
Messages
147
Location
United States
I've always loved a wide shawl with a generous roll. Speaking of shawl collars, were they ever faced with silk in the Golden Era? Many Peaked White Dinner Coats were faille-faced.

-Quetzal
 

Big Man

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,781
Location
Nebo, NC
well done - you all look amazing! I hope you had a great time


Thank you. We all had a blast. I had a steak as big as a '57 Dodge hub cap and enough Jamisons to fill a silo. After we ate, we listened to some really good jazz music. It was a grand time, for sure.
 

Luftwaffles

One of the Regulars
Messages
226
Location
South Carolina, US
A closer look at my formal getup
Shirt studs, cufflinks, and Arrow shirt are from the 30s.




Watch is a modern Bulova.


Wide trousers.


To further characterize the informal nature of this midnight blue DJ, I decided to add striped cotton socks instead of more traditional silk hose.


The jacket itself.
 

Papperskatt

Practically Family
Messages
506
Location
Sweden
Nice. I'm not a fan of that particular bow, but really like your midnight blue shawl collar dinner jacket. How often do you find an occasion to wear it?
 

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