When the darkness falls over our part of the world and winter's cold hit us, it is natural that we also approach the holidays with Christmas and New Year's eve as highlights. Christmas days and New Year's celebrations can undoubtedly be seen as clichéd, overworked and maybe even overrated. Some very unseemly traditions and trends have to do with these holidays; it may be the idea that everything must be lavish or the baiting of consumption that has spread like a plague in recent decades. Trends that I think everyone inwardly feels that they are not particularly impressive and thus should get rid of, or at least tone down a bit. On the other hand, there are also several glorious traditions linked to the Christmas and New Year holidays, such as the large gathering of relatives and friends. The tradition of festive attire is also very wonderful, something that has admittedly not been very popular for many years, but which is something we should take back once and for all. Take it back, modernize it just enough and then nurture it with great care. One clear thing is that the misconception about the holidays as the perfect time for you to put on your coziest pants and your best Christmas sweater must be removed, and preferably die. Elegant holidays include elegant clothes - period. If you are not a supporter of either Christmas or New Year's, the gala season is also approaching, another perfect opportunity for formal outfits.
It's hard to get away from the fact that you never feel as elegant and radiate as much confidence as when you wear formal wear such as white or black tie. There is also something exceptionally aesthetically pleasing with the type of festivities where all guests wear a black tie or evening dress. As there is relatively little room for personal interpretation and experimentation, the more formal clothes create a feeling of historical style.
The tuxedo historically does not belong within the framework of formal wear but is instead a garment for more festive events, preferably for dinner. Before the tuxedo was introduced, every upper-class family ate dinner in a white tie. Beau Brummel is said to be the man who invented and first wore the white tie as we know it today. That was when, in the early 19th century, he simplified the lofty dinner attire of the time. The white tie is perhaps the attire that has changed the least since that time. The white tie's jacket is waist-long with two long skirts that go down to the knee crease, i.e. short in the front and long at the back. The shirt should be made of pique with a so-called winged collar, and around the neck is a white bow tie. With this, a white waistcoat and a pair of trousers with two stripes along the outer seam of the leg are worn. Keep in mind that the trousers are high enough so that a gap does not form between them and the jacket that makes the vest stand out; that is the style break of the style breaks. On the feet, a pair of black patent leather pumps are recommended, but classic lace-up shoes also work well. The big difference from then to now is that the white tie today is seen as the most formal wear and is therefore worn less, and has in many cases been replaced by tuxedos.
There are two different stories about the origin of the tuxedo, and we will never know which one is the true one. The British believe that the tuxedo was sewn up by the Prince of Wales as early as 1865, while the Americans claim that the creator of the tuxedo is Griswold Lorillard, who wore it in 1886 at the Tuxedo Club in New York - hence the name tuxedo.
The tuxedo should be black or deep midnight blue, and the jacket is worn with a deep cut vest, or the jacket can be double-breasted, both options are very elegant. For tuxedos, a white shirt with a folded collar is preferable, and with that, a black bow tie. The trousers should be straight and sit high up, use braces to get the perfect fall for your pants. For the tuxedo, it is exquisite to wear pumps on the feet, which is the most classic choice.
Perhaps the most unusual of formal wear is the morning dress. Why it is called morning dress is because it was historically used when men would go out and ride in the morning and then needed a longer, single-breasted jacket. Morning dress was thus initially an everyday garment but increased in formality over time, now it is seen as the second most formal of outfits, after the white tie.
The morning dress is worn as a long black, single-breasted jacket with peak lapels, to this a vest that you can experiment a bit with in terms of colour. But think about, the more colourful and eccentric, the higher the demands on you as a wearer. The Morning dress's shirt should have a white folded collar; moreover, the colour can be alternated. Around the neck, you can experiment with a colourful tie, but again, think about what colours you wear. For the morning suit, you can lace up your most well-polished oxford shoes.
Despite endless tips on what to wear and not at one time or another, it can be challenging to go the right way in the jungle that is formal wear, not least when you have received an invitation to an event with a dress code. Therefore, I will briefly go through what you can think of in the different dress codes:
The white tie is the most formal attire in Europe, but folk-costumes can also be counted as formal attire, such as a Scottish kilt. It can also be a military uniform but then given that you belong to the Armed Forces.
It is most common in the UK, France and Spain and is mainly used on invitations that start before 1 p.m.
The tuxedo is mainly used as a party garment, when you are invited to a more solemn dinner in the form of a birthday party etc. For the New Year's celebration, there is no better choice of attire than a tuxedo.
Many times it is in the details that you differ from the crowd when it comes to clothes, but it never becomes as clear as to when you wear formal wear. It is not necessarily about standing out, but more about wearing the most elegant details and accessories. At Pete & Harry, you will find precisely these things just as usual.