Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

An American reader asks

Who can help out Ms S from Washington DC? All suggestions received with thanks.

Ms. Grant:

I'm attending an office holiday party the weekend with a gentleman friend (his office's party.)
[Imagine big, American-style bash for high-end law firm where he's a partner.]
The invitation says "black tie optional."
He, in true big, American law partner style, has announced "I'm not renting a tux.
Since I for one will look fabulous (natch) I'm looking for ways to gently suggest a smart way of dressing so he doesn't appear to be wearing yet another suit + tie outfit from his closet which he'd be wearing to the office on any other day ending with the letter "y."
I seem to recall some white-tie-on-white-shirt options with dark suit that looked quite sharp at last year's academy awards.
I've scoured the internet and can't seem to readily find photos. I thought "there should be an explicit article on this- and Linda should write it."

Since publishing an article would likely take more than a couple days, please can you shoot me a mini-version of what you'd advise on this front. Photo attachments heartily appreciated.
Many thanks and best, fashionable regards,



Toby Wollin said...

OK - here is my two cents. Whatever this gentleman does on a daily basis for his dress at the firm (and I assume he is dressing formally with a suit and tie on a daily basis), he needs to kick it up several notches for this event. What I would do if I were this gentleman, in Washington, DC, and work at a law firm at this level? Go to Nieman Marcus. Get the best white on white shirt(check out the formalwear department as well as the men's dept.) WITH French cuffs. NM also has solid white satin four-in-hand ties (Brioni). If I were this gentleman and did not have cufflinks or my cufflinks are not really of the quality that would go at this affair, I would invest in a set. Again, NM has those and I saw lovely ones with tiger's eye, carnelian, and lapis (3/4" in sterling silver). If he doesn't like stones, then solid silver, gold or vermeil will do. He should wear these with the best black, charcoal grey, or dark blue suit he has, with the very very best black shoes (preferably in new repair if not brand new)he has. I would not wear a pocket square. Now for something personal: Get a haircut and a manicure.

Anonymous said...

Advise him to buy a tux - he'll find them much more comfortable than the rentals, for not much more money. Once my husband bought a tux he never again complained about wearing one. He wears the full thing abotut 50% of the time, the other 50% of the time he does the "academy awards" variation on a tux: the jacket with a good white dress shirt (Toby has good suggestions) with a silver, while or black silk satin neckie,and then just plain black trousers (again from his best suit as Toby suggests.) Phyllis

Vildy said...

Wash. D.C. has a reputation for being stodgy and I can't picture an attorney at his office party in white on white unless he were in entertainment law. Great idea for non-business entertaining, though, if that look is what he fancies.

I think he would look youthful and energetic in a sharply tailored outfit that's slimmer than what the senior partners will be wearing.

Camelmeister said...

What a great excuse to get a suit made. Fly to China for the fabric, deliver it to my tailors in Portsmouth. Two fittings and you are done. Quality never seen in the office, and so much more stylish than a "tux".

The alternative would be to find a 1940/50's second-hand tux. Now there we are talking quality cuts/fabric.