Black Tie Accessories (Neckwear, Pocket Squares, Footwear)
“In the modern era, constructing the perfect ensemble that oozes class and refinement is possible through the marriage of exquisite suit, shirt and […] bow tie combinations, but there is nothing more quintessentially elegant than the addition of a luxurious pocket square.” — Bower & Fletcher “And always remember to polish the bottom of your shoes; if it was good enough for Sinatra I think it ought to be good enough for you.” — Dylan Jones Men’s formal wear is often maligned for turning all men into mirror images of each other—for example, GQ’s Dylan Jones bemoans the fact that, “The whole point of black tie, the whole reason all us men look like we do (identical) is in order to allow women to shine.” But, he claims, “in this age of male emancipation, when we are almost taken as seriously as women in department stores, isn’t it time we started getting our own back?” Jones’ sentiment is expressed most obviously in wild modern approximations of black tie (e.g., “Hollywood Black Tie”) styles. Still, I think there’s a case to be made for the claim that there’s plenty of room for expression and individuality within classic black tie guidelines. “Male habiliment is a daily intimacy that publicly transmits inscrutably private messages,” notes Alan Flusser—and the message transmitted by classic black-tie attire needn’t be nothing but identical penguinlike conformity. Rather, a thoughtfully composed classic wardrobe speaks volumes about a gentleman’s taste, opinion, identity, and so on—it’s just that those volumes are spoken in whispers. And it’s really the accessories that finish off a classic black tie look—from bow tie to pocket square to formal pumps—that help shift your classically styled outfit from identically to self-identity.