We’re all familiar with the term ‘classic’, i.e a classic suit, classic style, etc. But, what happens when the need to please society interferes with our ability to pioneer our own style?
(Image: Alexander McQueen) I’m a firm believer in dressing for the occasion, but I am just as keen on dressing for myself. Let me explain, a black-tie occasion is no place for jeans or tank tops, it is to be met with a certain level of class and dignity. However, in recent times all previous notions of what defines class has been called to question, leaving us with a multitude of confused attendees to said events. I think any dress code should be respected and much like wearing shorts and flip-flops to bars or brunches, I’d say opposing this is not only a sign of disrespect but a blatant disregard to the tradition of fine dressing. There’s a fine art in honoring dress codes while standing out of the crowd, and here’s how you do it.
(Image: Tom Ford) A black-tie affair to me simply means a suit and tie paired with a great pair of shoes. And on receiving news that a rather exciting family wedding will be taking place this October, I walked into my closet and acknowledged ( to feign surprise would be an outright lie) the lack of suits. You see, to me suits always signaled the triumph of convention, and conventional thinking was always associated with the anti-lgbt movement.. ‘a man must dress like a man’ and so on and so forth. Yes, I own informal jackets but that is about it. As I have always stated that sexual orientation shouldn’t play a part in the way we dress, I admit that my initial thought process was a bit hypocritical, though whether I am convinced on my own stance at this point is yet to be determined. The point remains that suits today are not what they were ten or fifteen years ago. In fact today we have the embellished jacquards of McQueen and the slick velveteen’s of Tom Ford and with the removal of any specific laws of dress we are free to choose any of them for any given occasion. The art however is directly linked with your understanding of ‘black tie’ and any other dress code, ‘formal’ for example will always mean good trousers, covered shoes and no T-shirts, yes we occasionally see that one person who appears to have missed the memo but they do carry it off and so can you.
(Image Tom Ford) You see, working within the context of a black tie theme gives you plenty of room. No one said you have to look all masc-for-masc in your graduation suit or even stuffy in a sad conventional ( I shuddered again) suit + tie combo. Log onto Pinterest or Vogue.com and you’ll see that sleek evening jackets appear in embellished variations, while exaggerated bow-ties have made a significant come back and in my opinion have made ties seem like the joke by example. There’s also a prism of colour to choose from, why do black when lilac silk emphasizes your toned physique so much better? In fashion as in life, the best thing to do when faced with an obstacle is to take a step back and observe it, in this case staying true to yourself while dressing within a formal dress code might be your Rubix cube but observing that it does not, by any means enforce your choice of suit style, accessories or for that matter even colour is your solution. So, the next time you’re invited to a special black tie affair, have some fun with colour, choose trousers that have a satin stripe down the side paired with pink Gucci loafers and a Saint Laurent tuxedo blazer or go all-out in a head-to-toe in block colour. There’s always a way to stay true to yourself but it often requires a little compromise. So, am I team suits? As of today, I’m fairly excited for my custom Avastave version, that’s for sure.