White Tie Shopping & Buying Guide

White Tie Shopping & Buying Guide

4

The finest evening shoelaces for your oxfords

5

Black Italian Silk Socks – over-the-calf of course

6

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

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

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 Huntsman 1948 with dark studs and matching waistcoat buttons

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

Notch lapel tailcoats with black vest and bow tie can only be found at rental shops

Specialty Retailers

White Tie Tailcoat Evening Wear - Sven Raphael Schneider

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.)

As with tailcoats, it would be wisest to seek out quality brands and retailers like Fort Belvedere when shopping for white-tie accompaniments. Even then it can be extremely difficult to source a truly authentic ensemble in today’s world. The following list has therefore been compiled to assist you in locating some of the harder-to-find items.

Full-Dress Shirt & Collars

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)

Full-Dress Waistcoats

White Tie ensmeble with Piqué bow tie, stiff shirt front bosom and waistcost with mother of pearl shirt studs

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

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

To learn more about the importance of sized self-tie bow ties check out our white Marcella pique bow tie section.

The best white tie bow ties are made by Fort Belvedere and you can find them here. You can get a classic semi-butterfly one, a single end Marcella bow tie as well as a smaller single end bow tie.

4

The finest evening shoelaces for your oxfords

5

Black Italian Silk Socks – over-the-calf of course

6

White, Soft Unlined Evening Gloves

Accessories, Top Hats

Fort Belvedere, quality selection of white tie accessories including pocket squares, gloves, evening scarves, boutonnieres, silk socks, pocket squares

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

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Summary
White Tie Shopping & Buying Guide
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White Tie Shopping & Buying Guide
Description
Ready to buy a formal full dress white tie outfit? Here we show you different brands and where to shop for quality white tie clothing, accessories and everything else you need.
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Publisher
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
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