“I am a classical pianist with a big performance coming up. I already own a classic black 1 button tuxedo, a black 3 button tuxedo, and a white tailcoat. Is the white tailcoat “White Tie” attire, and if it is, which should I wear for my performance?”
– Will K.
I’m glad you asked. If I were you, and I’m not, I would stick to your basic black one button tuxedo, black trousers, white formal shirt, black bow tie, black waistcoat (vest) or cummerbund, and a red carnation pinned to the lapel. Here’s why:
For a piano recital/performance, classic is definitely the way to go unless you’re Elton John or Billy Joel. Then it doesn’t really matter what you wear. I’m guessing you’re neither. The only classic look better than the black tie ensemble that I’ve described above is white tie attire. Sadly, your white tailcoat is not white tie attire.
White Tie Attire does call for a tailcoat, but a black one, with black trousers, white pique formal wing tip collar shirt, white pique bow tie, and white pique waistcoat (vest). While white tie attire was once the only acceptable formal ensemble for social and formal gatherings, it has now become relegated specifically to only the most formal occasions, as well as to be worn by Classical Musicians like yourself.
In lieu of classic white tie, I’d definitely stick to Black Tie Attire, the 2nd most formal ensemble and among the best looks a man can wear.
For your performance, I’d stay away from the 3 button tuxedo. The addition of two extra front buttons on the coat generally pushes the lapels up too high and takes away from the streamlined simplicity that makes a single button black tuxedo jacket such a timeless style.
As for the white tailcoat, I’d absolutely stay away from that. For one, it isn’t really a classic option. While they once were a popular wedding option, white tailcoats nowadays tend to make people look gimmicky and less serious. Black tailcoats are beautiful and refined. Secondly and arguably most importantly, if you wear all white on a stage with stage lights hitting you, your lighting designer might assault you in the parking lot after the performance. All-white outfits are the hardest things to light properly because they reflect too much on stage.
The pictures I’ve included feature my favorite classical pianist/comedian, the late Victor Borge, who’s class, comedy, and talent cannot be contested.
“I’d like to thank my parents for making this night possible. And my children for making it necessary.” – Victor Borge
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Check out the Black Tie and White Tie categories listed in our catalog, or look at All Tuxedos to choose for yourself!
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