The Essence of Formal Wear | A style consultantion from the TM team in association with Wilvorst

COOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013

Morning Tails


Often it is the little details that make up the perfect outfit,with style and class to let your appearance be unforgettable. When men get dressed up in formal wear, be it a wedding, concert, gathering or a very special occassion they tend to dress differently. As we have stated on this blog before our company ethos is to build a hybrid style of unique formal wear.It is modern  in character but borrows upon the heritage and tradition of classical gentlemens formal wear. Unfortunately there have been attempts on the part of companies with little history or tradition in the formal wear industry to de-formalise festive dressing. They attempt strip it of its uniqueness, particularly in the case of groomswear.

With this in mind and in  order to let you be as stylish as you can, we have compiled the most important dress codes and details in formal wear.They show the current and classic outfits of formal wear clothing in general. Some of the terms associated with classical morning wear are explained as well.


Formal wear shirts and accessories



In addition to the generic Pochette or as it is more commonly known,the pocket square,more stylish subtleties are significant: For example, with tails you wear preferably not just any watch, but if available, a gold pocket watch.

For a  Smoking jacket or tuxedo wear flat silver cufflinks and a silver watch with black leather strap. Also recommended to add a touch of class to the left lapel is a white or red carnation.


“Black Tie”

COOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013

Single Breasted tuxedo




This is often a Prompt on invitations to wear tuxedos which  in French is “cravat noire” instead of “Black Tie”.However it is also a style of dress which is quite particular.

The Smoking finds its origin in the English men’s smoking salon at the end of the last century (smoke = to smoke). Essentially one is required to wear a black bow-tie although in recent times a black slim tie is just as acceptable.


Cut (Cutaway)

Abendmode für Herren - Smoking | Frack | Stresemann

Morning tails with grey stripe trousers


The Cut (also morning coat), the tails of the day is for events in the morning or for occasions up to 15 clock. With this style one wears the striped Stresemann pants, a grey vest and a white collar shirt with silver-grey tie. Also acceptable is  a shirt with wing collar and discreet gray plastron.

The crowning glory is the grey top hat which traditionally was a must for weddings (and high official receptions).In more recent times the wearing of the top hat may be discarded and is really up to individual tastes.


Dinner jacketCOOL CLASSICs Classics Herbst Winter 2013


A classic for all social occasions or for day cruises on the “Love Boat”. The “outdoor or summer version” of the tuxedos are combined with tuxedo shirt and tuxedo pants.

Tastes may vary but a white  or colored bow to match Pochette and cummerbund is the norm.


HandkerchiefCOOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013


The essential accessory for a suit, the pocket square is becoming more and more common and will match the cummerbund,waistcoat  color or neck piece, often in the same pattern (except for tails)

Whether to fold a pouch or artfully insert casually, is a matter of personal taste.


Bow tiebow tie


The bow used to be for the most festive of accessories.In recent times it is not just reserved for evening suits but can be teamed with regular day and lounge suits.More and more young people are adopting the preppy look of the dicky bow with a casual suit or jacket. The classy alternative is tie or ascot.



Evening TailsEvening Tails


The King of festive occassions is timeless, manly and elegant. The call for tails is noted on the invitation with “White Tie”. A general rule of thumb is the  tailcoat is worn better after 15 clock or even after dark. To do this: black top hat, white, low-cut pique vest, white dress shirt with Pique chest. A must: white bow and black patent leather shoes.



Shirts are available in a variety of collar variations, fits and colors. The classic shark collar shirt and dress shirt are known to be the most popular with wedding outfits




The tie speaks for itself and is suitable for many different ocassions.

They can be found in many shapes and colors in the fashion business.




The cummerbund is an alternative to vest – an attractive sash in color and design of the loop.

It has been made popular worldwide by the Hindu “Kamarband”, a fashionable sash. Wrinkles show up, so they can accommodate cards or tickets. Classically the cummerbund is worn with a tuxedo.


Long jacketLong Jacket


Not just for a one-time event – the long jacket is modern, young and slightly longer than the “normal” jacket. It is suited not only to weddings – but then color-matched to the wedding dress – but is portable as a three-or four-button jacket with fashionable collar variations on many occasions.




A plastron is the festive alternative to tie and still very popular.. In order to underline its  festive character  the plastron is decorated with a beading needle and placed  exclusively with a shirt with an elegant wing collar or spread collar.

In America and Europe it is simply called a cravat.





To complete a formal wear outfit is the indispensable pocket square  matched in celebratory fashion with to the bow and the vest / color, often in the same pattern (except for coat and Cut).

In the business sector, a white handkerchief is quite common. To fold a pouch or artfully insert casually, is a matter of personal taste.


Self Tie LoopSelf tie loop


As the name suggests this type of bow is not pre-tied and unless you have an instructions manual it is difficult for a rookie to manage.





Shoes are essential to any formal wear outfit.

The Smoking jacket requires black elegant shoes – the tails black patent leather shoes (either plain or fashionably textured). Otherwise: The flatter and simpler the shoe, the better your appearance. For wedding suit ideally leather shoes are combined in brown or black tones.


Tuxedo Trousers/slacksCOOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013


The Tuxedo (written on invitations with “Black Tie”) finds its origin in the English men’s smoking salon end of the last century. It is also known as a tux and is basically the same as a dinner jacket. The black, single row tuxedo with shawl collar is the right choice for social events after 8 o’clock – even in two-row and fashionable variants in new colors.


COOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013

The tuxedo pants are ideally braided with a silk strip running all the way down the leg.Some of the contemporary hybrid versions discard these braids in favor of a plain finish. The dress pants is without an envelope and with pleats, usually with two Galon Strip. Modern Tuxedo pants are now common in slimline fit and without pleats however.


Stand Up Collar JacketStand Up Collar Jacket


The stand-up collar jacket offers a new twist for the festive outfit.Elton John of course has popularised this fashionable garment. High-necked nevertheless it is worn with a vest and matching ascot or ribbon.The jacket preferably has a concealed button placket and a length of 80-85 cm, ideal for the tall man.

Suitable for weddings, events and concerts.




Stockings are (like shoes) to be matched with a particular outfit.Black or grey plain socks are recommended for traditional lounge or morning  suits while the more fun outfits can be presented with coloured party socks.

Basically man should wear knee-length stockings, to avoid a view of bare legs. Silk or fine cotton stockings fit better than thick wool – the color is basically black on festive occasions! Fashionable deviations are also in the area of ​​stockings, for example: red socks to black tuxedo.





This is the fashionable alternative  alternative to cummerbund

The vest (in many parts of Europe also called Gilet) is a garment that fits perfectly with a festive suit. The vest should be combined with a plastron and pocket square, or even a classic bow tie.


COOL CLASSICs  Classics Herbst Winter 2013







Head wear for highly festive formal wear occasions in combination with a tailcoat, usually collapsible came in the first half of the 19th century in fashion.These days hats are still worn with traditional black and grey tails and some of the fancy frocks and brocades.


Since the shirt is an essential piece of wedding attire we thought it might be a good idea to take a look over some of the options for the groom who wishes to distinguish himself from the multitudes.As has been stated on this blog before there has undoubtedly been a trend recently towards the homogenisation of groomswear and  there is an alarming number of stores jumping on the “groomwear specialists” bandwagon and as a result too many grooms are going up the aisle in outfits that are more appropriate in a funeral parlour.The proliferation of under dressed grooms is a direct consequence of the entry into the market of stores and factory like outlets that have no tradition or experience in the real formal wear industry and hope to make a quick buck by trying to reinvent the concept of contemporary groomswear

Formal wear is something that is uniquely built upon tradition and it borrows its inspiration from classical stylings that can be given a contemporary twist.There is currently a resurgence in tweeds and vintage themes and do not be surprised if you end up wearing a tie that reminds you of your mother’s old tablecloths.

There is no better example of  the singularity of Formal wear than in the potential range of shirts on offer.If you are attempting to find the right shirt for your wedding suit, be daring and imaginative and choose something that you are comfortable with.Here are some notes on what we see as the best options.

The Tuxedo Shirt

The dress shirt whose collar is also called wing collar or “parricide collar”, is the shirt for special occasions.

Due to the short corners the shirt collar is elegant and is worn with a tuxedo. It is combined with black, burgundy or silver dress accessories and bow ties are the obvious choice.Little pocket squares that match the bow are a current trend as are the black silver studs which come with some dress shirts or can be purchased seperately.

The most popular wing tipped shirt is white although formal wear specialists like Tom Murphys will offer an ivory alternative.The ivory shirt is especially popular in the long collared style that is known as the Victorian wing.This is a style that looks especially well with a self tie cravat which is still a poular choice for grooms that want a touch of difference.


The shark collar shirt

The shark collar shirt is distinguished by a wide collar position, and thus defines a modern look, thus this shirt form is suitable for festive occasions as well as for the business sector.

On festive occassions this collar Form is usually combined with a plastron.For business or office wear a tie is the usual accessory.The front of the shirt can have hidden(fly front buttons) or visible buttons.For an authentic formal event it has to be a double cuffed version although the single cuff is sometimes acceptable.

Body Fit

Tuxedo Shirt | shark collar shirt

BODY FIT is the figure-hugging, narrow cut of the shirt variations. A modern, figure-hugging look is perfected with a shirt from a brand recommended by Tom Murphy i.e WILVORST BODY FIT .It is a sharper more defined fit than the slim cut which has been so poular for the last few seasons.

This modern cut version is available at WILVORST in the collar variants Shark and tuxedo. Ivories and whites are the colours of choice and they will be offered this season in a variety of textures,including pure cottons and silk mixes.The silk mix is expected to be particularly popular as it offers a point of difference that we believe is so important in cutting edge groomswear.

TZIACCO frilled shirts

TZIACCO shirts feature the unmistakable cut and lovingly designed details, especially in stand-up collar variations.

The standing and uniform collar was worn from the mid 19th century primarily for all festive occasions. In this epoch the plastron was tied over his collar. Also called the grandfather or nehru collar this is a timeless classic that is given a contemporary revamp with a glossy,silky smooth finish.The frilly front is exceptionally quirky but if it is too daring for you there is a less exuberant version without the frills but still retaining the character of this beautifulpiece of craftsmanship.