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Lifestyle: A night at the opera

by Michael Weare
20 June, 2013
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Black Tie events

Lifestyle

When Black Tie is called for, there is no need to panic. If the invitation card states these two little words as the necessary dress code, do not try to re-invent the wheel. All the thinking has already been laid on down the decades. Do not attempt to be hip by flouting the time honoured traditions and turning up in a confused One Direction combo of tousled hair with formal jackets and slim fit trousers coupled with white sneakers. This is Simon Cowell’s dress sense visited upon his young protégés, and if you follow Simon Cowell’s dress sense you are lost in the wilderness.

Black Tie

Black Tie

Not Black Tie

Not Black Tie

Instead, go for the classics, and you won’t go wrong. If you simply want to hire a Black Tie outfit for the evening, go to Moss Bros. If you want to buy one, be prepared to invest a decent amount of money, and let the likes of Dunhill or Gieves & Hawkes be your guide. As they say at this venerable institution of Savile Row tailoring:

“Any man in possession of good taste knows he looks best in the elegance of formal attire. The authority of formal wear, developed and refined over the past 150 years, equips a man with the tools to present the finest version of himself to the world.”

Evening shoes

Black patent leather oxfords

As for your shoes, again, you won’t put a foot wrong as long as you wear evening shoes that are plain fronted black patent oxfords, with as thin a sole as possible. If you are still unsure how to dress for a formal evening occasion, every man and his blog has a Black Tie Guide, but look to the better ones such as Ask Men or GQ magazine.

As for watches, these should be as discreet and unfussy as possible, yet at the same time, impeccably elegant. Nothing too large, nothing too flashy. In fact, in days of old, it was viewed as bad form to glance at your watch during an event as it signalled the fact that you were restless and bored. So the watch was always slim and discreet, and this should still be the rule to follow. Here is a selection which would pass muster with even the most discerning host, although we have also included a budget option for the black tie beginner.

Dunhill Facet Watch

Dunhill Facet Watch

The Dunhill name has been synonymous with classic English style since Mr. Alfred Dunhill set up shop in London in 1893. Along with fine leather goods, motoring accessories, and the one-handed cigarette lighter, they also have  entire line of luxury menswear and some breathtakingly elegant smart watches over the years. This masculine piece contains a high-grade Jaeger-LeCoultre movement, the same one you’ll find in many of Jaeger’s renowned Reverso watches.

Hermes Arceau Le Temps Suspendu

Hermes Arceau Le Temps Suspendu

This clever watch not only looks supremely suave, it can also suspend time, as the name suggests, and can then adjust to the right time. Hermes will say all the right things about your choice in evening watch wear, and the carefree way in which time can simply stop with this watch is ideal, because in society circles one is not supposed to glance too often at one’s watch. It’s there, but it’s really just for discreet show.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

The crème de la crème of elegant watchmaking. The American 1921 watch forms part of Vacheron’s Historiques series, which honours its designs from the past. The watch features an off-centre dial and winding crown, combined with the classicism of the Breguet-style hands and numerals, and the rose gold cushion-shaped case. The ultra-thin in house movement, enables a slim and streamlined appearance on your wrist.

Piaget Gouverneur

Piaget Gouverneur

You’re in safe hands with just about any Piaget watch. Combining technical excellence with a bold aesthetic, the new Gouverneur line expresses Piaget’s expertise and historical values. As part of the Black Tie watch collection, it follows the tradition of shaped cases in a classic design, housing a mechanical movement and complications that form part of the entire design, entirely developed and produced by the Manufacture.

Pierre Arpels by Van Cleef & Arpels

Pierre Arpels

Pierre Arpels of the famous jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, was a true high society soiree type of individual. He designed his own slim and impeccably elegant watch to wear to his numerous evening social functions which ran throughout the calendar. The watch is wafer thin, designed to rest unobtrusively on the wrist. The dial features Roman numerals and an evening shirt brocade design on the dial. The perfect evening accessory from a man who really knew about what to wear to evening social functions.

Black tie on a budget

Karl Lagerfeld Gents Seven

Karl Lagerfeld Gents Seven

Of course most cannot afford the cost of a sports coupe on a watch, so a more modest alternative is called for. Karl Lagerfeld has recently brought out a range of affordable watches which reflect his favourite colour – black. This watch is highlighted by the sole Roman numeral VII on the dial. Needless to say, the Watch Snob would be extremely sniffy about this choice, but then is he going to offer to buy you any of the priceless beauties listed above? In your black tie dreams.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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