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The Standards of Formal Wear

Aug 17, 2007
Formal wear is a fashion term that describes a specific type of clothing. In England it is referred to as Formal Dress. Formal wear is clothing that is worn to formal events such as weddings, debutant balls, cotillions, and higher government functions such as state dinners. Formal wear in the United States sets the standards by which other countries go by. Often, a country with lesser stature does not have a formal dress code. They observe the United States and our formal dress code is adapted. When dignitaries from other countries visit, they often don the full dress of their country. A dashiki and a sari are prime examples of formal wear.

Unlike every part of the fashion conscious communities, the styles of formal apparel get their titles from men's garments instead of women's. There are standards that rule over men's formal dress. These are very closely adhered to at events that the public will view. They are also the dress formal wear at high school proms, formal dances and the entertainment business awards shows.

For those who are not in higher office or royalty, formal wear can be rated by dress codes. These dress codes were established in the nineteen hundreds when North American set the world standard. Since world war ll, the standard for formal wear have changed. They have become more relaxed and less rigid.

Although experts in the fashion industry still use the dress code etiquette of the past, especially for weddings, Formal and semi formal wear has changed. Fashion consultants use contemporary names to define formal or semi formal wear.

A white tie event is now considered to be a very formal affair, and a black tie event is just formal. This has been reversed from past events where black tie was considered to be very formal.

Advisors that are more modern, allow for black ties to be worn at formal events and alternatives at any other type of occasion. It has become common to use the terms "white or black tie" to differentiate these types of dress codes from the relative "formal" or "semiformal" labels.

It can all be very confusing, and depends on the type of fashion advisor that is consulted. In the United Kingdom, formal wear is very important. There are several categories that formal wear fall into.

For men's formal wear, it is as follows:

Court dress - This is worn by court and government official. It has not changed in its design over the centuries. The jacket is high collared with buttons and has golden embroidery on the cuffs and chest. The jacket also has long tails. The pants are called breeches, and they have braiding piped in gold on both sides. A three-side hat with ostrich leathers on the top.

White tie for dinners and small gatherings. This is the most formal dress code there is in the United Kingdom. When there is a state dinner for government officials, it is usually white tie.

Black tie this is a dress code where formal attire is necessary, but not to the extent of white tie event. A black tie event requires that a dinner jacket be worn. Black tie can be worn at any type of function.

Morning dress is for breakfasts and brunches. Morning dress is a particular category of men's formal dress. Other than court dress, it is the most formal type of clothing worn. Despite the name, it may be worn at any time before 5 PM.

Morning dress consists of:

A morning coat
A vest which may be single- or double-breasted
A pair of formal pants, worn with suspenders
A double-cuffed shirt
A stiff white collar
A tie
Black formal shoes

The coat is usually black, in which case the trousers will almost always be gray pin striped. The waistcoat was for many years always gray. In today's society, colored and patterned waistcoats are sometimes worn, but these are really only considered suitable for weddings. The pants have no cuffs, and are pleated. The suspenders are used to prevent the waistband from showing.

Lounge suit (Business suit)
A lounge suit is a business suit that usually consists of; A coat or jacket and a pair of pants.

A suit is worn with a shirt with a collar and a tie. In some countries, a hat is worn to complete the outfit. Men generally wear suits, but women also wear them. Mostly for business.

For women's formal wear, it is as follows:

Ball gown Worn for royal balls and cotillions this is as formal as its gets. The rules of etiquette state that a ball gown must be worn when it is specified on the invitation. A ball gown a floor length skirted dress. It is made of the finest material such as silk and satin, and trimmed in the most delicate materials such as pearls, sequins, and embroidery. Most ball gowns are off the shoulder with a decollete neckline. They are often worn with a stole or shawl. They are accessorized with jewelry and elbow length gloves.

When there are functions that heads of state attend, the symbol of the country is worn by the women. A tiara bearing the state symbol is worn, it is an indication that the woman is married.

Evening gown - describes elements of women's formal dress. Cocktail dress worn at afternoon gatherings or dress formal affairs. A gown will always correspond to men's formal wear for white tie and black tie events.

Ball gowns have changed very little in the past hundred years; they have an elegance that has withstood the tests of time. Although all formal wear is basically described in the same fashion, in both the English and American culture. There are subtle differences between English and American fashion. Although both have elegance, the English have a more rigid routine when it comes too formal wear. It is a prestigious affair when it comes to formal wear.
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