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The term White Tie and Black Tie depicts the dress code depending on the type of function.
A White Tie function is a very formal occasion as held at royal and presidential palaces as well as similar funcations such as The Lord Mayor's Banquet held in the City of London. White Tie is also worn at society weddings in Scandinavian countries.
The black tail suit is worn and the shirt, bow tie and waistcoat are made of white cotton Marcella piqué although a plain starched fronted shirt can be worn.
The shirt has to have a plain wing collar either attached or with a starched separate wing collar when worn with a neckband shirt.
Although the plain fronted starched shirts are still worn, these days the shirts have a marcella piqué (golf ball effect) stiff panelled front and a marcella piqué single cuffs.
The front of the shirt is closed with real Mother of Pearl or gold screw top studs and the cuffs with matching cuff links.
The waistcoat also known as a vest is normally backless made from the same marcella piqué as used in the shirt. The waistcoat has lapels and real Mother of Pearl detachable buttons.
The bow tie is also made from the same marcella piqué as the shirt and waistcoat.The bow tie can be self tie to tie yourself or ready tied. The size of the depth and span of the bow tie should be equal to the size of the wing of the wing collar.
Socks are to be black; the shoes should be black patent and either a black or white silk handkerchief worn in the breast pocket if desired.
The elegance of the White Tie dress can be finished off with a white silk evening scarf with hand knotted fringe and a cane.
A Black Tie function can also be formal although less formal than a White Tie function.
There is a great choice of evening shirts which can be worn such as pleated fronted shirts or marcella piqué with either wing or classic collars.
The evening shirts have a softer feel and must have double cuffs. In the case of the marcella piqué evening shirt the collar and the double cuffs must be made from marcella piqué.
The fronting of the evening shirt can be either covered button (fly front) or black studs. The marcella piqué shirt should always have a studded front.
The bow tie for formal occasions should always be black ideally in silk satin or barathea to match the lapels of the evening suit. At less formal function the bow tie can be any plain or fancy fabric.
The choice of the ready tied bow tie or the self tie bow tie depends on the wearer's choice and the ability to tie the bow tie.
The cummerbund is worn to tidy the top of the trouser waist and to cover the bottom of the panel of the evening shirt. The cummerbund worn at formal functions must be black to match the bow tie where as at less formal functions the cummerbund can be any plain or fancy fabric to match the bow tie.
Black socks and black patent shoes should be worn at black tie functions as well as white or black handkerchiefs in the breast pocket if desired.
To add a sense of adventure fancy back fun evening shirts can be worn at black tie occasions. When a fun back evening shirt is worn with a jacket the shirt has a formal appearance but as soon as the jacket is removed the flamboyant design on the back and the sleeves is exposed. The fun back shirt can be source of fun and discussion at any function.
How to tie a bow tie