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The White Tie Style Guide From Acorn Fabrics

Posted on: 15th Sep, 2017

Once common in British culture, white tie events are now so rare that many people will go their entire lives without ever being invited to one. White tie is the absolute highest tier of formal dress, required for only the most prestigious events – so if you’re invited to one, it’s vital to get the style right!

What Is A White Tie Event?

dressing shirt

Put simply, a white tie dress code is the most formal dress code in British culture and considered the absolute highest level of elegance. It’s worth noting that white tie events are almost unique to Britain – for those in the United States, the pinnacle of formalwear is a black tie event. This unshakeable sense of history and tradition associated with this style of dress means that there’s very little room for personal interpretation or experiments, and modern fashion faux pas are relatively common.

The peak of the style’s popularity was in the 1920s, where white tie was the standard dinner dress for wealthy families in the UK. After the first World War, it gradually fell out of favour in the public consciousness, to be replaced by black tie and informal dinner jackets. By the end of the second World War, its meaning had changed from standard dress to very special occasions, which is the status that white tie still holds today. Today it’s required only for the crème de la crème of formal events, including presidential dinners, royal affairs, state gatherings and exclusive formal balls. As you can imagine, the prestige of these events means that if you’ve been invited to one, there are weighty expectations on you to dress appropriately, making it all the more important that to get all the elements of your outfit flawlessly correct!

How To Dress For A White Tie Event

prince plain white cotton

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different elements and how they fit together, so to make it easier for you, we’ll break down all the different elements involved.

A white tie outfit consists of:

  1. A black tailcoat with peaked lapels, worn over a double-breasted waistcoat
  2. A pure white Marcella shirt with a detachable wing collar
  3. Naturally, a hand-tied white bow tie, and stiff, single cuffs fastened by cufflinks
  4. A pair of black trousers with a natural taper, and two lines of braid running outside the leg
  5. Polished, black lace-up shoes

For your shirt, our Marcella Plain White Fabric is one of the go-to choices for many of our customers. However, it’s not your only option – our Zephyr White fabric can be used for the body of your shirt, with Marcella just for the collar. Zephyr has a softer feel than Marcella, and it’s also of a lighter weight. This can make it an even more comfortable option as it’s not quite as prone to overheating its wearer as Marcella fabric can be. Remember, Marcella is relatively heavy and jackets aren’t generally removed at white tie events, so the heat might well be a very real concern!

At Acorn, we’ve been selling quality shirting fabrics since 1975. We’ve got a huge selection of them for you to choose from, whatever your style and whatever the occasion. You can click here to browse our formal fabrics, or if you’ve got any questions or queries, you can always give us a call on 01282 694 267

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