Tag Archives: formalwear

The Consort Goes To The Prom

Hello-Hello, everyone.  The Consort gliding effortlessly mikeside to entertain you while The Princess enjoys a spa day.  I have no idea how she can improve upon her perfection but a little pampering never hurts.  While she enjoys her private time we’ll dust off the tuxedo and go to the prom.

Not The Consort or Princess

When I was just a young Consort I worked at a tuxedo rental shop.  It was a great experience and gave me an appreciation for dressing like an adult.  I guess that also explains why I own a handful of tuxedos to this day.  I still enjoy dressing like an adult and a nice tux or two from Brooks Brothers always works for me.  But I’m straying from my point.  While working at that tuxedo shop I was able to help hundreds of teen-aged males put together the outfits they would wear during one of the biggest events of their young lives.  This was no episode of “Gossip Girls” where the kids are so fashionable.  Most of the guys I encountered came in clueless and left marginally informed about what to wear and how to dress to impress.  I also learned that if some guy came in insisting he was a certain size he often had no idea what he was talking about.  To this day I can look at someone and guesstimate their suit size.  It’s no big deal; just something you pick up after a while.  You know that old saw “The customer is always right”?  That’s not true.  The customer is often wrong but the customer is always the customer.  I learned that lesson well.

It was always fun when the guy would come in with his date for the big night.  She would have a swatch of fabric from her dress clutched in her hand and my mission was to find something that would match the color.  The guy would give me a certain look and would often stand in the background while his sartorial future was decided.  It was always a challenge to put together an outfit that satisfied the young woman, her mother, his mother and occasionally,  the guy.  Sound sexist?  It’s just the way it worked more times than not.  Determining who to sell was just one more of the lessons I learned in that job.

Another thing I learned was how to tie a bow tie.  It’s not terribly difficult but can have a real impact as a night winds down and it’s time to loosen the ties for that last drink.  That’s when you find out who has the grown-up tie and who is still sitting at the kiddie table of bow ties. Brush up on your skills by taking a couple of minutes to watch this short instructional video.  A refresher is always helpful.   Of course, a bow tie is not just for formal wear but it takes a confident person to pull off the look.  If you do choose to sport a bow you must understand that you will make an impression.  But I guess there are worse things for which one can be remembered, right?

I had a great time at my proms (yes, there were several).  What are some of your memories?  C’mon, share them with us.  We’d love to join you on a walk down memory lane.

Changing directions completely here…

Oklahoma City Memorial

April 19 is a bittersweet day for The Princess and I.  We were both working in the television industry in Oklahoma City in 1995.  What happened 15 years ago changed so many lives.  In the wake of such evil we saw an amazing amount of good.  We left the city in 1996 and haven’t been back.  I’m not sure I have the strength or courage.  I do know that we can never forget the events that unfolded in the days, weeks and months after the bombing.  168 people died that day in OKC and the entire nation mourned.  We asked how it could be worse.  Just six years later we found out.

If this tome seems a bit “all over the map” I apologize.  It’s just one of those days.  But better times are ahead.  I’m an incurable optimist and too stubborn to be discouraged.  Both my blushing bride and I are blessed with each other, family and friends we love.  Those are great reasons to keep moving forward, wouldn’t you agree?

So now I must say good-bye.  The Princess will return tomorrow and I know she’ll have the latest fashion tidbits you’ve come to know and love.  I remind you to take care of your waitperson because they’re working hard for you today.  Let’s close today with two young guys who can weave their voices into magic.  Good night, everyone!

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Black Tie Optional–Now What?

(While The Princess is continuing to help her power-challenged Princess Mother the role of author will be played by the Princess Consort. Thank you for your kindness.)

On this Father’s Day please take a moment to remember the man who loved you more than any other man ever could. A strange feeling goes through a new father when he holds his child for the first time. He sees time unspool before him. He wants to stop the clock and hold the moment forever. But he knows he can’t and his child will grow up to a life of school, new friends and weddings. Which brings us to today’s topic… black tie.

It has always been my contention that black tie optional is an opportunity to look devastating. It all starts with your own tuxedo. Come on, admit it. You should have given up renting a tux when you were seventeen. Owning a tuxedo is a wardrobe necessity and it’s affordable. Plus, classic style never goes out of fashion.

Let’s get started with a bespoke tuxedo.

Photo: Jeff Westbrook/Studio D

Giorgio Armani calls his line of bespoke tuxedos “Handmade-to-measure” and they are exquisite. Some things to consider when selecting a bespoke tuxedo: Go with the peak lapels and you won’t be mistaken for the waiter; the mohair is tempting but stick with the wool; a double vent will be more comfortable as the night wears on; so will pleated pants although the plain front always looks trim; single breasted is timeless while double-breasted can appear trendy. How much for all this style? You’ll ante up $4,325 to get into this game. Check with your friends at Needless-Markup if the Armani is your choice. Sounds nice, right? Let’s get this look at a more modest price.

Our friends at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers have a number of very affordable tuxedos that won’t devastate your budget (admit it, with gasoline at $4+ it all adds up). The peak lapel jacket is 100% wool with grosgrain lapels. The matching pants have the grosgrain stripe. Normally it’s a steal at $795. Now that it’s on sale for a mere $449 there is no excuse for you to not add this to your closet. Remember, it’s always a good idea to have several tuxedos. You own more than one suit, right?

I get my shirts at Charles Trywhitt in London and you should too. Brilliant workmanship and great prices. The Marcella bib front classic collar tuxedo shirt is 100% cotton. Double cuffs are standard and studs are mandatory. Depending upon exchange rates you can expect to spend about $130, although it’s now on sale for just $95.

Let’s stay with Trywhitt for our bow tie and cummerbund. Both are black silk and traditional. If you need a reminder of how to tie a bow tie I’ll give you a refresher here. No clip-on ties, please. You don’t want to be the man at the end of the party who, when the other gentlemen loosen their ties, must unclip his. Also, a reminder about the cummerbund: The pleats are worn up. Tradition is that the cummerbunds are worn pleats-up to better catch crumbs during dinner. Expect to pay $60 for tie and $70 for the cummerbund.

Of course, you could do all this at Brooks Brothers. But you knew that already.

Jewelry is up to you. Stud and cufflink sets are everywhere for every price. I prefer vintage but that’s just me. The traditional guidelines for tastefully wearing jewelry apply.

Footware is a source of personal taste. Velvet uppers are elegant but maybe not for you. I prefer the finished look of Allen-Edmonds.

Photo: Allen-Edmonds

The Park Avenue balmoral is a timeless look with traditional cap toe styling and fit. You cannot go wrong with this shoe, trust me. It’s also extremely affordable at a mere $325.

The best part of owning a tuxedo is the options you have. If you are obligated to go to that dreaded party to which we are all invited occasionally, just show up in a tuxedo. The people there will assume you have somewhere more important to be and you can escape gracefully.

Thank you all for sharing your weekend with me. It’s been fun and I’ll return the next time The Princess needs a getaway.

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