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Is a black waistcoat acceptable with White Tie?

Awesomest Guy

Familiar Face
Messages
52
Location
Land of Ooo
I'm probably never actually going to NEED to know, but I'm curious as to whether or not a classic black evening waistcoat would be considered permissible with Full Evening Dress/White Tie. I heard somewhere that it was allowed in the Victorian era, but that it went out of fashion after 1901.
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Boinciel

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Canada
Black waistcoats with white tie completely disappeared during the 1930s as tailcoat fronts grew shorter, and white tie dress code stuck that way. I don't mind the look, but I think that a white waistcoat is much nicer-looking. Your mileage may vary.
 

Guttersnipe

One Too Many
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1,942
Location
San Francisco, CA
Boinciel hit the nail on the head. I would add that lots of white and black tie events are often "vintage" themed. For example, architectural and historical preservation organizations often throw fundraisers at which attendees wear authentic and/or reproduction vintage/antique evening clothes. In such a case, a black vest with tails is totally appropriate. But otherwise wearing a black vest with tails is considered a faux pas by the society set.
 

Dirk Wainscotting

A-List Customer
Messages
355
Location
Irgendwo
It may be time to revive the trend and be the only person wearing a black W/C. If you do it with enough panache, people may follow. :) As long as the waistcoat is cut in the evening dress style.
 

Haversack

One Too Many
Messages
1,191
Location
Clipperton Island
Another thing to remember is that it used to be that servants wearing formal or semi-formal accessorize it slightly wrong. For example, a four-in-hand tie instead of a bow tie. This was to allow them to blend in but still be identifiably separate.
 

Sirmoneybags

New in Town
Messages
1
Actually it is allowed, but only if the event that you're attending is a male only event (thus very common with Freemasons) or if during certain academic events that take place during the day but one still wears white tie, not morning dress. This is atleast how it is in sweden (I've worn the black waistcoat a number of times myself) and I suspect most of scandinavia/nothern europe. Remember that this is mostly because people such as the DOW had less influence here to change the etiquette which is why here it's acceptable to show about 1-2cm of the waistcoat under the tailcoat while it's actually a faux pas in the united kingdom (or so my etiquette books say).
 

ErWeSa

New in Town
Messages
30
Location
In the heart of Europe
I agree with Sirmoneybags - to my knowledge black waistcoats were allowed with tails when the event took place during the day/afternoon. What is essential is the white bow tie, black bow ties + black waistcoats were (and still are, e.g. at the Vienna Opera Ball) for the waiters - unless you attend a funeral where tails are called for. I do hope that nobody feels offended but the only picture of somebody wearing tails and a black waiscoat I knew of so far is Hitler wearing exactly this when at Bayreuth, see here: https://ixquick-proxy.com/do/spg/show_picture.pl?l=deutsch&rais=1&oiu=http://www.germaniainternational.com/images/ahofecoathat04d.jpg&sp=b22341e8326702593029b37caa6e9fe1
 
Last edited:

JJ Katz

New in Town
Messages
45
No one will shout at you if you wear a black waistcoat but a white one looks better, with white tie, adn it is *certainly* correct. I mean, I get the desire for variety but just how often do you wear white tie??? :)
 

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