White tie, or full evening suit, is the most formal of all male evening dress codes. The white tie rig has stayed pretty much unchanged since the mid 1800s. It consists of a black tailcoat with matching trousers, white waistcoat, a white wing collar shirt and a white bow tie. White tie is mostly used for weddings, balls and other festive occasions that require formal dress.
Price from SEK 18 000*
*For full bespoke, two-piece white tie.
The cloth for tailcoat and trousers is black wool, with black silk for lapel facing and for the stripes that run along the trouser legs. The cloth used in tie, waistcoat and shirt is white cotton.
There really are no alternatives when it comes to the elements of a white tie jacket, seeing that it is a garment highly regulated by codes of formal dressing. The jacket is double breasted but never buttoned. It has two long tails in the back (hence the term tailcoat). The front of the jacket is cut off in approximately rib height.
The trousers are high waisted, so that no gap is visible between jacket, waistcoat and trousers. They also have two silk stripes running down the outside seam of the legs, from waistband to the feet. The trousers are worn with braces and are never cuffed.
The waistcoat is made from white marcella weave cotton and is usually cut without a back piece, to ensure comfort. The waistcoat is cut quite high, to cover the waistband of the trousers, but never to be peek out underneath the cut off fronts of the jacket.
Shirt & tie
The shirt is made with a starched pique cotton chest, with button holes for studs and a standing, or wing collar. The collar can be either fixed or detachable. The shirt cuffs are made to be worn with cufflinks. The tie is also made from white pique cotton, and should preferably be of the “self tie” variety.
Shoes & accessories
The most formal footwear for white tie is court shoes, or opera pumps. These shoes are made in black leather, often patent leather, and look like a pair of low cut slippers with a black bow on top. For less daring men, a black patent oxford will suffice.