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Smoking or Non-Smoking

by Bernardo van Eekhout in Lifestyle & Fashion , 24 december 2003

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Clothes say something about who you are or who you would like to be. But how is it supposed to be? With the holiday seasons coming up, the problems around the right way of clothing yourself are also rising up. What’s allowed and what’s not? Because not everybody knows exactly how it’s supposed to be, there is something called ‘etiquette’. Dress codes, which when followed, won’t be recognised by everybody, accept the ‘happy few’. They’re the ones who know how it is supposed to be. Here’s a hand guide for those party people who like to dress ‘Sunday best’ for the occasion.

Black & White

One of the clothing items that survived every freak of fashion is a smoking. See a smoking and you know there’s a party. After all, this vampire, who doesn’t seem or dare to appear during daylight, remains a suit. The name smoking is related to the verb to smoke. During the second part of the nineteenth century the smoking was nothing more than a nice jacket worn by gentlemen after dinner.

They would wear their smoking in a women free room where they had a smoke. In those days the jacket had silk lapels, long sleeves and was decorated with buttons. They were designed in silk, velour or brocade and were coloured black or dark blue.

The story goes; the Prince of Wales (who later became the Duke of Windsor living in exile) was the first one to order a dark blue coloured smoking.

Dark blue looks ‘blacker than black’ in artificial light. After 75 years of its existence, the jacket was approved at official dinner parties.

In 1920 the smoking was double-breasted and after the Second World War it became one-rowed.

French call it a cravate noire, in England it’s called a dinner jacket (although next to the jacket there’s a pantaloon) Americans name it a tuxedo.

Called this way, because the famous dandy Grisworld Lorillard worn a smoking at the excusive club in Tuxedo Park, New-York back in 1896.

If you read ‘cravate noire’, ‘black tie’ or ‘avondkleding’ on a dinner invitation; it means you’ll have to show up in a smoking. The matching shirt is white with an upstanding collar (only to be worn in combination with a smoking) the beau tie is always black. A tie and a wristwatch in combination with a smoking is a not done. Patent leather shoes are a must. To complicated? Choose for a thin, preferably silk polo neck for under your smoking.

Rules of the House

1.A short sleeved shirt under a jacket is really bad. At the end of the sleeves from your jacket there should always be seen a part of the cuffs from your shirt. When shirt and jacket are the correct size, there will be at least half an inch of cuffs showing.
2.Shirts with a button down collar are for casual clothing, they were invented for polo games, not for wearing in combination with a suit. Best combination for a suit is a shirt with a ‘cut away’ or ‘spread’ collar. These shirts show a big part of your tie knot.
3.Choose for 100% silk ties. These are the best to knot, because they’re soft and smooth. For the knot use the Whole Windsor (shown at the picture) unless you have a tie, made of heavy material, than one knot can be sufficient. Make sure the end of the tie reaches the waist belt of the pantaloon. And no ties with cartoon characters, that’s really no fun anymore…
4.Belt and braces (suspenders) do not mix. Some pantaloons are made for belts, others for braces (You’ll find the little buttons for the braces on these pantaloons, these pantaloons are mostly about 2 inches wider in the waist)
5.White socks are really horrible under a suit. Only with sports gear white socks are allowed. Under a suit you need to wear long dark socks (stockings are even better to wear) the sight of bare skin from the leg will waste the whole trick! So no white, short or over washed fluffy socks!

P.S. The nice thing about clothing rules is: there here to be broken.



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In the New Issue of Gay News, 326, October 2018

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