May 6, 2008

Tuxedos: from celebrities to the common man

It's about trying but not trying too hard.

My recent visit to Toronto to stand as a groomsman coincided with the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute Gala.

And despite the fact that my close childhood friends are just a bunch of regular Joes (Sean Ingram, left, and F. Galiana), as yours truly, they handled their sartorial responsibilities with aplomb.

The same can't be said about the celebrities who attended the grand New York event. With overly long sleeves, long ties and boring notch lapels (shame on you, George Clooney, just stop wearing those bloody notches), the grandees at the ball looked sloppy. In the search for individual expression, many of them ruined a near perfect form of dress.

It's always far better, like when one plays the blues, to innovate and improvise within the set structure of a particular form. One can choose a batwing, butterfly or a nifty straight bow tie. There are myriad styles of cuff links and pocket squares as well.

Put together right, it can be pure magic. The choices and adjustments are simple - their impact can be impressive. Joes 1 - Celebs 0.

Quick tips:
  • Show the shirt: getting the right ratio of white shirt to black jacket to provide a graphic punch. Go for a open lapel that creates a strong white triangle

  • Tie it: Have the patience and panache to tie your own bow tie. Long ties never look as sharp

  • Show some cuff: You're wearing French cuffs for a reason, non?

  • Keep it buttoned: Unbuttoning your coat makes you look fat and so does your cummerbund and so does our vest. Buttoning your coat will give you a waist and hide the fact you had to wear a vest or a cummerbund

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