SaDcast Show Notes: Tuxedos, Black Tie, & Evening Wear

So we’re going to start releasing show notes to go along with our podcast episodes! It will help you follow along and see what we’re talking about. It’s not a full blog post, but rather just tidbits and pictures from the pod.

This latest one is all about black tie, done in anticipation of the Dapper Day x LA Phil event, which was finally an appropriate time to don evening wear.

Listen to the podcast episode here! 

Black Tie: You Already Know

From the Armoury: Jim in a black tie rig.

We assume that most of the readers of this blog already know the basics of black tie (and we go over it in the podcast), so we won’t spend too much time on it. Plus, there are plenty of other websites that have already done that. Black tie originated in the middle of the 19th century as a casual alternative to white tie and tails. Today, it is probably the most formal thing that a man will reasonably wear.

Here’s a rundown of the points we made on the podcast. (or you can look at this great guide from the Armoury).

  • Matching set of jacket and trousers, cut from the same material (similar to a suit)
  • Buttons will be covered, not the typical horn.
  • Trousers will have a side strip and the jacket will have a lapel facing either in satin or grosgrain.  These two parts will match for a complete set of tuxedo/dinner suit
  • Lapels are either shawl or peak.
  • DB jackets are usually 4×2 or 4×1.  SB jackets have one button.
  • A low cut waistcoat or cummerbund is always needed, as it covers suspenders.
  • Belts are not appropriate for evening wear.
  • Trousers are plain hem
  • Shoes should be plain oxfords or slippers/opera pumps.
  • Bowties only, either in satin or grosgrain depending on your lapels/trouser stripe.
  • Dinner jackets and smoking jackets can be worn for a fun alternative to the full dinner suit.
  • Shirts should have studs or hidden placket. No regular buttons.
  • Shirts can be pleated or piqué front.
  • Shirts should be french cuff (they take a cufflink).

Then again, not many guys have a reason to wear black tie anymore, so even if you don’t adhere hard to these rules, it will probably be fine! We like to go as close as we can though.

Early examples of tuxedos, late 19th century.  Note the low cut waistcoats.

Clark Gable in what Ethan and I consider to be the perfect example of black tie attire.

Normally Ethan and I prefer soft tailoring, but something about structured shoulders on a tuxedo is just nice.

DB tuxedo from The Armoury.

  • The tuxedo is superficially similar to a black suit, but there are several fundamental differences. A tuxedo will have some sort of facing on the lapel- usually silk or grosgrain, and a matching stripe on the trousers. Tuxedo trousers will not have belt loops, as they are always meant to be worn with some sort of waist covering- either a cummerbund, or an evening vest- which is cut lower with a distinct “U” shape.

Buster Keaton in the 1930s. More low cut waistcoats!

A peak lapel tuxedo from the Armoury. Note the single prayer button

A tuxedo from PJT. Once again, only one functioning button.

  • An alternative to a full tuxedo is to wear a dinner jacket, the sport coat of black tie attire. There are a variety of options and it just depends on your personal style and the level of formality to an event. Most of the time, the dinner/smoking jacket is just fine since most events are for “fun” and not something strict.

Paul F. Tompkins in a velvet dinner jacket with frog closures.

A 1950s tartan dinner jacket

Tony Sylvester in a velvet jacket and monogrammed slippers.


Nguyen in a velvet dinner jacket from J. Crew.

Velvet dinner jacket on Arnold Wong.

  • White is the go-to for an odd evening wear outfit.  It’s not bold like a velvet or tartan one.  Think of it like the “navy jacket and grey trousers” combo for black tie.

There are some men who say fuck it and go “ballz to the wallz” with black tie, but in general, the best way to stand out is simply having a good fit. Unless it’s a menswear event, most guys at black tie events will be wearing a cheap rental. Having your own rig that you’ve had tailored will set you apart immediately.

If you have to wear a hat (we recommend against it) make it a homburg or boater

DB Drake’s tuxedo with red socks.

A fantastic velvet DB dinner jacket and opera pumps


Thin pleated front.


Plain front, in hidden placket.


The texture of marcella piqué.

A subtle pop of color with a red waistcoat.

Our Pieces

As menswear enthusiasts, it makes sense for us to have our own evening wear pieces.  It actually took us a while to get a good rig, despite the fact that we don’t have many occasions to wear it.  You can even see the transformation in our style!


H&M tuxedo jacket, celebrating NYE at home.


1930’s smoking jacket, 1950’s belted jacket, and 1970’s velvet for a dinner party.


Spencer’s other 1950’s jacket at the Cicada club.


My odd tuxedo suit made up of a non-matching jacket and trousers.  Can’t tell though!


Spencer’s 1940’s tuxedo.


My 1930’s tuxedo with peak lapels, low cut lapeled waistcoat, and flat front trousers.


My 1940’s silk jacket


Spencer at LA Phil.


Brought back the 1930’s jacket for the Phil!


Our velvet slippers from Stubbs & Wootton.  Pardon my use of fun Uniqlo socks!


We hope you enjoyed these small notes on black tie.  We know that this is a subject that is often repeated among most blogs and youtubes, so we didn’t go too hard on the details.

Don’t for get to listen to our podcast! We’re going to update it more regularly since some of you enjoy it and ask me when the next one is out. Well, it’s here now!  You can find it on Apple Podcasts or Soundcloud and can follow the instagram.

Listen to the Black Tie Episode here.

Always a pleasure,

Spencer O.

Street x Sprezza 

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