On-Screen Supreme: black tie

On-Screen Supreme: black tie

In the first of a new series exploring the inspirational world of on-screen style, we've decided to roll up our cinephile sleeves and shine a light on the finest menswear costumes to have graced the big screen. First up is black tie, which we have no shortage of epic examples of. We've picked five of our favourite examples, but honestly, it could have been 50!

Jon Hamm, Mad Men

It's New York City, Spring 1968 and Don Draper is attending the Advertising Club of New York’s annual awards banquet in a very timeless black tie get-up. Unlike Draper's colleague Roger Sterling who was often seen following the trends of the time, Draper's look is altogether more timeless - he wears a single-vent black single-button dinner jacket with silk-faced shawl collar, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, and 3-button cuffs. One is more likely to see a peak-lapel style these days, but the shawl collar in this instance looks modern nonetheless. He pairs it with a white cotton formal shirt with point collar and narrow-pleated front with black studs and traditional French cuffs, while from the waist down he wears black formal trousers with a satin side stripe and plain-hemmed bottoms, and classic black Oxfords.

BLACK HAMPTON BARATHEA WOOL DINNER JACKET

BLACK HAMPTON BARATHEA
WOOL DINNER JACKET

BLACK HAMPTON BARATHEA WOOL FLAT FRONT DRESS TROUSER

BLACK HAMPTON BARATHEA
WOOL FLAT-FRONT
DRESS TROUSER

WHITE MARCELLA COTTON BIB FRONT DRESS SHIRT

WHITE MARCELLA COTTON
BIB FRONT DRESS SHIRT

In earlier iterations, Draper's bow tie is the narrower 'bat-wing' style, but in this episode, he wears a butterfly-shaped silk bow tie of near perfect proportions. As elegant today as it was in 1968, it's a stunning look, absent of contemporary affectations such as Sterling's pointed bow tie. Also note the razor sharp white pocket square, signalling someone who cuts to the chase and doesn't mess about with superficialities.

Cary Grant, To Catch a Thief

An icon of classic menswear, Cary Grant's character John Robie in Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief wears a ventless midnight blue dinner jacket with a single link-button closure in the front and straight jetted hip pockets. The shawl lapels are faced with black grosgrain, and next to them sits a sharp white pocket square set to a subtly rakish angle, unlike Draper's aforementioned straight edge. On the legs, he dons pleated trousers with a satin stripe and black leather Oxfords. His shirt choice is naturally a formal white cotton style with a 1/2″-pleated front bib, French cuffs, and two diamond studs and diamond cufflinks - perhaps a nod to his career choice!

MIDNIGHT VINCENT SILK DINNER JACKET

MIDNIGHT VINCENT SILK
DINNER JACKET

BLACK KYOTO SILK BOW TIE

BLACK KYOTO
SILK BOW TIE

WINDSOR SILVER SILK POCKET SQUARE

WINDSOR SILVER SILK
POCKET SQUARE

Ian Carmichael, School for Scoundrels

One of our favourite films here at Favourbrook, School for Scoundrels sees the great Ian Carmichael in consummate English black tie. He opts for a ventless double-breasted evening suit with moderately wide lapels paired with a bibless cotton shirt and soft turned-down collar and he has a hand-tied bow. His bow tie is butterfly shaped and perfectly sized - all pretty classic. Where he allows a little flamboyance is with his white linen pocket square (adroitly folded to form three uneven peaks) and an eye-catching carnation in his lapel - "classic with a twist" you might say.

Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

Somewhat sensibly, Bogie's character Rick Blaine in the 1942 film Casablanca chooses to wear an ivory worsted dinner jacket, which is a thoroughly good idea given he's a club operator in Morocco's most vibrant city. Looking cool, but keeping cooler, the ivory dinner jacket is a fantastic alternative in warmer climes.

STONE EVERING LINEN
DOUBLE-BREASTED
JACKET

CREAM EATON COTTON
PLEATED PINTUCK
DRESS SHIRT

BLACK TWILL GROSGRAIN
SILK BOW TIE

Rick wears a double-breasted dinner jacket with a wide, self-faced shawl collar that rolls to a 4-on-1 button front. The swoop of the shawl lapel is marvellous and very elegant. Note that there is a distinct absence of silk trimmings, either on the lapel or the button coverings, which is quite standard for ivory dinner jackets since they are meant to be a more casual alternative to the classic black version.

Roger Moore, The Spy Who Loved Me

Despite hours of scouring the internet, we fell short on being able to find a film still that does this midnight blue dinner suit proud. Moore’s tux looks to be cut from a wool-mohair blend and features some stonkingly wide black satin silk lapels, giving the look a very Neapolitan influence. As is usual with black tie tailoring,  the side pockets are jetted rather than flapped to maintain a sleek finish, while Moore opts against a pocket square which is just as well since it would be almost entirely obscuring by that runway of a lapel.

MIDNIGHT AUDLEY SILK / WOOL CHAUCER JACKET

MIDNIGHT AUDLEY SILK/WOOL
CHAUCER JACKET

WHITE CAMO COTTON PINNED TUCK DRESS SHIRT

WHITE CAMO COTTON
PINNED TUCK DRESS SHIRT

NAVY ALBERT SILK BOW TIE

NAVY ALBERT
SILK BOW TIE

While certainly over-the-top by today's sartorial standards, the over-size point collar and bow tie were very much a statement of style in the 70s. Apparently, the double cuffs on the shirt he wears here feature a pointed-tab single-button fastening invented by influential French fashion designer Ted Lapidus, the  who also popularized the safari suit during the ’60s and ’70s. Moore’s trousers are of course in matching midnight, but with a black satin stripe down the sides. Interestingly, they feature no pleats, pockets, waist adjusters or cuffs, being very minimal for the time.

Shop Favourbrook's collection of dinner jackets

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