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Charity ball - to overdress or underdress?
Old 10-20-2015, 11:36 AM   #1
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Charity ball - to overdress or underdress?

Dear E-R Oracle, help me please.

DW & myself are going to a charity ball, where dress code is black tie for gentlemen and holiday formal for ladies.
I don't own a black tie attire (and I would rather donate money to a charity anyway, than buy new clothes).
I happen to have a full white-tie set (from my brother's wedding) or I could downgrade to a business suit.

Which one would you choose?
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:50 AM   #2
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wear the white tux with a black bow tie
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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I vote to just send money, and stay in your jammies...
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:55 AM   #4
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Most black ties I've been to have had a few guys in suits. Especially if it's not a high-end NYC style black tie.

If it's something for like Boys and Girls Clubs, most events are a bit more relaxed and a suit will do.

With the right sense of style, there's no such thing as being overdressed!!
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Old 10-20-2015, 11:57 AM   #5
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I wear my tux any chance I get - heck I had it made may as well show it off.
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sailor View Post
Dear E-R Oracle, help me please.

DW & myself are going to a charity ball, where dress code is black tie for gentlemen and holiday formal for ladies.
I don't own a black tie attire (and I would rather donate money to a charity anyway, than buy new clothes).
I happen to have a full white-tie set (from my brother's wedding) or I could downgrade to a business suit.

Which one would you choose?
Neither. I would rent a black tie outfit. Think of it as doing it for your wife who will be appropriately dressed.

Ha
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Old 10-20-2015, 01:57 PM   #7
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Most black ties I've been to have had a few guys in suits. Especially if it's not a high-end NYC style black tie.

If it's something for like Boys and Girls Clubs, most events are a bit more relaxed and a suit will do.
This is fine, at least in Charleston. Your wife will look splendid and you will be her (more) humbly dressed consort.

Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothes!
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Old 10-20-2015, 02:25 PM   #8
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I think that it depends on the event. A dark suit could work if it's more like a costume ball - people not taking themselves too seriously who dress up for a fun evening to raise money. But it's the real thing, i.e. a stuffy soirée with the the local socialites, then you'd better rent a black tie outfit.

But I wonder, what is considered a "holiday formal" attire for women? How is it different from just formal?
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:19 PM   #9
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DH bought a tux from Overstock.com for < $99 for DS's wedding and we only had to sew a few of the buttons back on when they fell off. Nobody was looking at him anyway. He's worn it a few time so cost per outing is coming way down.

A black suit would work (no one will be looking at you either ). Holiday formal attire for women means wear something long and sparkly to me.
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Old 10-20-2015, 03:50 PM   #10
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Neither. I would rent a black tie outfit. Think of it as doing it for your wife who will be appropriately dressed.

Ha
I like this approach. It's a black tie occasion, so dress appropriately.
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:16 PM   #11
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Neither. I would rent a black tie outfit. Think of it as doing it for your wife who will be appropriately dressed.
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I like this approach. It's a black tie occasion, so dress appropriately.
+2. You can "get away" with a suit, but I wouldn't want to. I do NOT like to dress up anymore, but I always err to slightly over-dressed (not over the top though) when I am not sure. Last thing I want is to risk even slightly embarrassing DW (or myself), unnecessary to spoil the outing. If I ask her she'll say "I don't care" - but I know she does from experience. No one will fault you for over-dressing, but they may for taking the low road.
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Old 10-20-2015, 04:22 PM   #12
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How about a Texas tuxedo
  • tuxedo jacket, usually black
  • formal shirt
  • optional vest
  • black necktie, either the traditional bow or more a western themed bolo, crossover (aka Continental) or string tie
  • jeans, often black
  • cowboy boots
  • cowboy hat, usually black
  • often an oversized belt buckle
DH wears his with a black ultrasuede western cut jacket, tux shirt, cumberbund (or cummerbund if you like), traditional bow tie, black jeans, black boots, sometimes a black hat.


It's so dark at those events (and people are not looking at the guys much anyway) that unless he wears the cowboy hat they don't even notice he's in jeans and boots.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:41 PM   #13
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Hate to show my red-neck but does "black tie" mean black tux. Why won't the white one do (with a black tie)? Why won't black "funeral" suit do (without tails)? Also, what's the difference in "cocktail" dress and "holiday formal"? I've never heard of a "holiday" formal.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:49 PM   #14
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I vote to just send money, and stay in your jammies...
I agree, I don't even own a suit.
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Old 10-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #15
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Are there people you know who have attended the event in the past? If so, ask them.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:02 PM   #16
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A black tie optional event means anyone that is sophisticated enough to own a tuxedo is welcome. Rent or buy one if you have to. It is near as cheap to buy as tux as rent one. Look at men's Wearhouse. A suit is a long distance away from a tuxedo.

I bartended thousands of black tie events. Many were charity functions. Most (99%) people wear a tux. You will look out of place in a suit or a white tux.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:11 PM   #17
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A black tie optional event means anyone that is sophisticated enough to own a tuxedo is welcome. Rent or buy one if you have to. It is near as cheap to buy as tux as rent one. Look at men's Wearhouse. A suit is a long distance away from a tuxedo.

I bartended thousands of black tie events. Many were charity functions. Most (99%) people wear a tux. You will look out of place in a suit or a white tux.
Fortunately, these are few and far between in Hawaii, I did rent a tux for the last one, I went to. It is good to know that huge percentage to wear tuxes, and you are/were the perfect position to know.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:22 PM   #18
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Fortunately, these are few and far between in Hawaii, I did rent a tux for the last one, I went to. It is good to know that huge percentage to wear tuxes, and you are/were the perfect position to know.
It was many years ago when I bartended... If you are in the military, you should be able to get by with formal military dress.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:39 PM   #19
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I agree, I don't even own a suit.
I've never owned or even worn a suit, tux, sport jacket or anything like that and I never will.

If the event calls for "black tie" and you actually want to go for some reason then you should wear what they ask you to wear.

I'd just stay home and send them some money.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:42 PM   #20
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Here you go: Emily Post spells out dress codes from white tie to casual: Attire Guide: Dress Codes from Casual to White Tie - The Emily Post Institute, Inc.
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