“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
Henry David ThoreauEssayist
While many purists argue that black tie reached its evolutionary peak by WWII thus rendering all subsequent adaptations unnecessary and even detrimental, the fact is that change is inevitable. Not only does our perception of elegance continue to evolve but some of the classic garments of black tie’s golden age have become virtually extinct. On a less practical level, it is simple human nature to be tempted by the prospect of improving perfection, particularly for each new generation looking to make its mark.
Christian Bale in monochromatic all black with necktie – contemporary black tie gone wrong
Reinventing Black Tie Hasn’t Worked
Most attempts to reinvent black tie since the 1930s failed to better the outfit and are now forgotten footnotes in fashion history. To help readers avoid similar pitfalls, this section first explains the principles required for successful adaptation of classic black tie then examines today’s variations to see how well they hold up to those benchmarks.
Explore the contemporary Black Tie sections of the Guide here:
Every generation tries to improve upon the previous ones. With Black Tie this means trying to amend perfection. Every attempt to add neckties, black shirts or different looks to a tuxedo is nothing but a long-forgotten footnote in fashion history.