Pretend Black Tie

I had the good fortune of attending an impressively large formal party at San Francisco City Hall over the weekend (it’s all about who you know). The invitation labeled the event as “black tie recommended,” which results in two very different reactions from men: those with nice tuxedos rejoice in the opportunity to wear them, and those without become stressed about what they will wear. I fall in the latter category, which left me with the options of finding a tuxedo to buy or working with what I already had (I didn’t consider renting a tux for even a moment, and I don’t suggest that you do that either).

I have been looking for a tuxedo for some time now but have yet to find one that is both stylistically on point and within my tight price range. In the end I wore a midnight blue mohair notch lapel suit with some tuxedo accessories that I already owned. Sure, purists will be upset that I’m wearing notch lapels at a black tie event, sporting a black bow tie with a lounge suit, and generally spitting in the face of tradition. I understand the reasons for these rules and I would love to follow Put This On’s guide to the letter but at the end of the day it just wasn’t a viable option. But you know what? They still let me in the front door. Nobody batted an eye. General merriment ensued and all the guests carried on as if nothing was wrong (let’s face it – nothing was).

We all like to obsess over details but sometimes a little perspective is in order. At the end of the day this party was about celebrating the accomplishments of an amazing individual, not about whether my socks were silk or cotton.