The concept of evening wear etiquette for men has been constantly shifting since the lax dress code that began to take shape in the late 1960s. It is sometimes a daunting task to determine what is appropriate and what isn't for a man to wear at a formal event. In recent years, the expectations for evening wear have much declined.
There was a time when a man could not go out at night without wearing his best dress suit and top hat. Those days have all but vanished. The trends for men's evening wear gradually started to fade at the end of World War II, although in the 1950s many men still wore dinner jackets of some sort in the evening.
Occasions that Require Full Dress
Dances (for a debutante ball or other formal dance social), weddings, formal dinners, and funerals are generally the only times when men are expected to don a suit and tie.
A white tie social function demands the strictest of dress codes for men's evening wear. It is highly crucial that the following criteria are met: Black trousers and a black tailcoat, black shoes, white shirt, white bow tie, and a white waistcoat. Formal events of this type are usually those with diplomats and high government officials in attendance.
When someone refers to an event that is black tie, it infers that the function is merely semi-formal. At functions of this nature, a black tuxedo is typically worn. Included in the ensemble is a black bow tie, a white dress shirt, a waistcoat, and black shoes and socks. A dress suit and necktie may also be worn.
Are Dress Codes Still Relevant?
The short answer as to whether adhering to a dress code is still necessary is yes. Even though we may have progressed to a point where every event is deemed fit for casual wear, it remains a matter of respect for the person who has invited you and an acknowledgement that the event is special and warrants attire beyond jeans and a T-shirt.