Thursday, 27 December 2012

Life's Little Luxuries: Black tie, white tie?

From Black Tie Guide
I was going to kick off my LIfe's Little Luxuries blogposts with one on vintage champagne but an article serendipidously appeared in the FT Weekend about what it means if on your invitation to a totally posh do, you are told to wear black or white tie.  

In Not all black and white, Afsun Qureshi gives a sophisticated account of how to interpret these deceptively simple sounding dress codes.  I will add a few words here.  
Qureshi explains that black/white tie doesn't mean that women should wear only black or white dresses, that these codes are a lot looser in relation to women's wear.  This is because the dress codes come from a society when men went out dining and socialising together, leaving the little woman at home while they had a good time - often with some other little woman with a very loose idea of dress codes.  
Black tie was what was worn for dinner out with the boys.  White tie was for going to balls and the opera to cruise a likely heir-bearer.  White tie was usually worn with tails and a top hat while black tie was less formal (bwah ha ha!)  
I once had the privilege of going to a ball with a highly sophisticated young man who had realised that the tails of his coat formed pockets which were ideal for storing our cigarettes in and so he didn't have an unsightly bulge in his trouser pocket.  (I think he was just pleased to see me.)  In case you're wondering, no of course the cigarettes weren't squashed when he sat down because when you sit down in tails, you swing them to the sides of your muscular thighs with a manly swish.  
Yes, thank you very much
Parties Unwrapped.
You can go now.  
Good gracious! this young lady is most improperly dressed for a white tie event.  
For the ladies, you can wear what you like as long as it's chic.  (Um, OK, perhaps I shouldn't have worn that dress with the split up the skirt to my stocking top to that particular dinner at the Oxbridge College which I will write more about for those doing stories set in such milieu.)  
A long dress is best for a white tie event and a cocktail dress for a black tie event.  

A little black dress can be worn anywhere.
(Photo at Glitterazi.)  

Karen Millen cocktail dress.
Melissa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldi
at the Oscars


  1. I think bow ties are incredibly sexy...not quite up there with suspenders, but few articles of male clothing are. I'm impressed to see men even now (talking heads on news programs, emcees at televised bashes, etc.) wearing great bow ties...and not a one of ‘em is black. Usually they're what the Cary Grants of yesteryear would consider garish. But to me, they’re downright sexy.

    When you think about it, men have little chance to strut their stuff in public. One is by his tie. (Others are his belt and his pocket hanky.) So let it all hang out, I say! Wear that oversized, plaid and polka-dot bow tie!

    None of this has a thing to do with your post, Naoko. I just get carried away with stuff like tux tails. I love what you have to say, and the photos are great.

    1. Hey, a great additional note to the post! You're right, nowadays it can be cool and sexy to wear a tie in all sorts of colours. Go guys go!

  2. Gosh, this takes me back. In my younger days, I attended many a black tie affair. Loved getting dressed up to the nines. Now, I'm lucky to get out of my PJs and into jeans and a T-shirt! I have one side of my walk-in closet filled with all those gowns with sequins, satin, crepe and chiffon. *Sigh*

    1. Wow! You must get them out for a breath of fresh air ...

  3. I do enjoy looking suave and will be incorporating more stylish clothing in addition to my kilts.

    1. Ooh darling! Perhaps you can write a blogpost on kilts for this blog? With pictures? (wink wink) xxx