Sunday, April 22, 2012

White Dinner Jacket and Tuxedo Etiquette Tips

Going to a Black Tie party this summer in Tuxedo Park, New York? Going to an evening wedding in Newport or Long Island? Maybe just a simple, lovely dinner with your spouse on a special date night. The following are a few practical tips and a few fun tips you may enjoy:))

"Of course, if you want to be very smart, you must not say anything but "dinner coat" --which is quite all right if those you say it to, know what you mean! At all events, the tuxedo is merely the English dinner coat, which was first introduced in this country at the Tuxedo Club to provide something less formal than the swallowtail, and the nickname has clung ever since."

Tuxedo or White Dinner Jacket (Memorial Day through Labor Day only), should be worn to a Formal Black Tie wedding or party from 6:00 p.m. on, although, I have read that Tux may be worn during daylight hours if, and only if, the daylight goes on into an evening wedding reception or party. So, wearing Tux to a 5:00 p.m. or a 5:30 p.m. wedding or party can be done. Best also, as a precaution, to call and ask what the Father of the Bride, Groom and Groomsmen are wearing.
**  My husband and I once attended a Virginia wedding in which a formal thermographed, yet as most would consider now to be old fashioned, wedding invitation was sent without a "Reply Card", so the R.s.v.p. had to be hand written. This traditional summer wedding was at 5:00 p.m. at a small church in the country, and the outdoor reception followed at the country home. The Father of the Bride was in White Tie, the Groom and Groomsmen wore Black Tie. 95% of the male wedding guests wore Black Tie. One person showed up in a White Dinner Jacket (more of an eggshell with a shawl collar - very 'Great Gatsby'). The Bridesmaids were in long dresses, and 90% of all the women showed up in thin, silk, short, knee length, day dresses as opposed to Cocktail Suits, or dressy Tea Length dress of which there were few, as the reception was outside and still 90 degrees at night. My husband was properly dressed in a handsome navy summer wool suit with a silk tie, yet felt like a duck out of water, because only about 5% of the other men had on a suit. It was the strangest wedding I have ever been to as far as fashion. Usually, the women are the ones who overdress. Again, best to check out what the wedding party is wearing.

"The shawl collar is supposed to be less formal than lapels."

"The reason for the turned up cuff is to keep clear of mud." 

"A butterfly bow shape is correct in plain black silk or satin. Fancy evening ties are bad form."

"The most practical hat for town wear in winter, both for full-dress and dinner coat, is an opera hat which collapses, instead of the regular high silk one."

"In summer a straw or gray soft hat is proper, whether in town or country."

The tips in italics are from the 1937 book: "Etiquette" by Emily Post, pages 726 and 727.
**Cautionary tale of woe from the author.

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