Dear fashionable ladies of Oxford, have you ever wanted your boyfriend to stop looking like a character from The Big Bang Theory? Ever woken up in the morning next to a guy who wore socks and crocs, and as a result wondered what the *beep* is going on with your life? Well, all that is about to change. Mr. Shan is here to help out those men in serious need of a style intervention. Together, we will make Oxford a better place. Yes we can.
Men of Oxford, the time of fashion neglect has passed; and with your arrival at Oxford, a new journey begins. However many times you might say, as an excuse, that it is vulgar to judge by appearance, people do judge. Your outfit is not just means of covering yourself or shielding yourself from the rain, but is a representation and outlet of your character and personality. Turning up to a tute wearing stained sweat pants and a hoodie, with disastrous hair, does not give off a nonchalant, too-cool-for-school vibe. It does, however, make you seem shabby and barbarian, whilst at the same time possibly submitting a rather pungent odor. And so, take up the paper and begin to devote five minutes of your time every issue, for even the Oxford workload is not good enough an excuse for a bad dress sense.
This week, we aim to tackle the important, yet confusing, Black Tie.
Jacket: The lapels must be either Peak or Shawl (a round collar which traces the chest openings of the jacket). A notched Lapel is reserved for suits and thus cheap and out of place; however, most rentals and cheaper jackets have a notched collar, so make sure to avoid them. The jacket should have no back vents, for not a lot of movement is required in Black Tie. Although black is the de facto colour, midnight blue is increasingly becoming the colour of preference. Under artificial light, Midnight Blue comes across as a truer black than the black proper. The jacket usually has only one button, as this shows off a longer torso. It is also possible to have a double breasted dinner jacket as well. The double breasted, however, falls into the same place as the velvet jacket: whilst it could look great and acceptable in certain situations, one must possess the ability both to chose the right occasion, and to pull it off. Failing to meet this two-fold criteria will not doubt make one look like a lousy teenager who had stolen his grandpa’s suit for prom in hope of finally getting laid.
Shirt: White. This is non-negotiable. Do not simply wear a coloured shirt because a celebrity did so at this-or-that festival. You neither earn billions a year nor have the status/body/drug problems to account for dressing like a vulgar nouveau riche. Further, it should have a panel made from a different material as the rest of the shirt. If this were the case, then stud buttons replace normal buttons on the dress shirt. However, more recently, dress shirts with invisible buttons are becoming more popular for dinner events. French cuffs (those with cufflinks) are recommended.
Trousers: Usually, dinner jackets are sold in sets, and thus the trousers would match both the colour and the material of the jacket. Tux trousers have a line (usually of stain or felt, or whatever material the lapels of the jacket are made of) down both sides. The more traditional are usually belt-less.
Shoes: Must be black patent leather. Velvet slippers are acceptable, provided it isn’t winter and one can pull them off.
Accessories: A bowtie is a must-have. Leave the thin black neckties to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and boys. You are classier than them. Although the accepted option is black, one can match the colour or pattern of the bowtie with the pocket square, so long as the colours and patterns are not exactly the same. Otherwise a white, silk pocket square is the norm. A cummerbund could be worn; however, it is better to leave them to the middle-aged, balding men who need them to cover up their belly fat. A low-cut vest may be worn, but not with a double breasted lapel. Black, gold or pearl cufflinks are the last items required to complete the set.