Black Italian Silk Socks – over-the-calf of course
White, Soft Unlined Evening Gloves
When it comes to attire intended for society’s most exclusive occasions, it won’t do to “make do”. If your social calendar is auspicious enough to merit the acquisition of a full-dress kit then you would do well to judge each potential purchase by its ability to enhance the evening’s cachet rather than to reflect the wearer’s thrift.
Evening Tailcoat & Trousers (Dress Suit)
The ideal tailcoat and trousers would be custom tailored for the individual buyer.
Bespoke is The Best White Tie Option
Knize tailcoat – White Tie is a dress code that is still very much alive in Austria and hence a tailor from Vienna is a great bespoke option
There is no better way to ensure the perfect fit that is required to give the full-dress suit its proper regal air. Prices range drastically depending on the level of customization: online tailors charge as little as US$285 for a made-to-measure tailcoat and trousers while a bespoke ensemble can cost over $5,000. The only common factor is that qualified full-dress tailors are few and far between. If you go the custom route, it is best to choose a tailor who regularly cuts these type of body coat garments because otherwise you may end up with a tailcoat that has strange tails or proportions that are off because not every tailor knows how to make a proper full dress tailcoat. We suggest going with a German, Viennese or Savile Row tailor as they tailor these garments somewhat frequently.
Seldomly seen Ralph Lauren RTW white tie ensemble
Ready-To-Wear Tailcoats Are Often Subpar
Less ideal, but far more pragmatic, is to purchase a ready-to-wear ensemble. Take some time to find a make that suits your body type then employ a skilled tailor to alter the garments for the best fit possible. When shopping, look for superior brands and upscale sellers. This is not the time to be shopping for bargain-basement discounts at formalwear retailers that categorize tailcoats as a type of tuxedo.
Prices can be as little as US$300 for a Ralph Lauren tropical wool set online or as much as $3,500 for a Canali make at an upscale haberdasher.
White tie dress suit by Savile Row tailor Huntsman from 1948 with dark studs and matching waistcoat buttons
Vintage Tailcoats are the best RTW Option
However, the best value of all would be a well-preserved vintage tailcoat providing unmatched old-world tailoring, details and style features for less than the cost of a cheap suit. Often they were made bespoke so you may have to buy 2 or 3 before the measurements are spot on. However, the cut of the coats, the workmanship and the overall look will be superior to modern-day off the rack options.
Notch lapel tailcoats with black vest and bow tie can only be found at rental shops
White Tie Tailcoat Evening Wear – Sven Raphael Schneider
In an ideal world you should never rent a tailcoat. However, if for some strange reason you decide to rent your tailcoat – a perfectly respectable option for a once-in-a-lifetime event – it would still be wise to purchase the remaining garments. This will allow you to source items that are as correct as possible rather than settling for the renter’s limited inventory. (It will also avoid the ignominy of attending the most prestigious social occasion of your life dressed entirely in borrowed clothing.)
Darcy Clothing (formerly The Vintage Shirt Company), specialist offering authentic collarless shirts and detachable collars Ede and Ravenscroft, specialist offering collarless shirts and detachable collars Toastmaster Clothing aka Court Case aka LegalWear.co.uk, legal wear and eveningwear retailer offering Frederick Theak collarless marcella shirts Luke Eyres, manufacturer & wholesaler of detachable collars that supplies most other UK retailers (minimum order of 6) Brooks Brothers, offering full-dress detachable collar shirt (with collar)
White Tie ensmeble with Piqué bow tie, stiff shirt front bosom aka bib and waistcost with mother of pearl shirt studs
Oliver Brown, upscale retailer offering premium evening wear Ede and Ravenscroft, retailer offering premium evening wear Toastmaster Clothing aka Court Case aka LegalWear.co.uk, legal wear and eveningwear retailer offering Frederick Theak collarless marcella shirts Clermont Direct, inexpensive online formalwear retailer offers sized waistcoats complete with waistcoat studs eHorseEquipment.com, retailer of formal riding apparel
Self-Tie Sized Full-Dress Bow Ties
Single End Bow Tie by Fort Belvedere with the collar wings tucked behind the bow tie and a silk plush top hat with grosgrain band and piping – noticed the elegant curve of the head
Lock & Co. Hatters, mail order shop for new and restored vintage top hats Oliver Brown Top Hats, London shop for new and restored vintage top hats Charles Gale Clothing, retailer of Christy top hats Darcy Clothing (formerly The Vintage Shirt Company) Clermont Direct, inexpensive online formalwear retailer offering waistcoat studs Toastmaster Clothing aka Court Case aka LegalWear.co.uk, legalwear retailer offering shirt collar studs and waistcoat studs Ede and Ravenscroft legal wear, specialist offering sterling silver shirt collar studs and leather storage boxes for detachable collars Farthingales, supplier of gold/brass collar studs