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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Look book - The Well-Dressed Men Series - formal

It is time, gentlemen. We have covered casual and semi-casual, we have eased you gently into business attire, we went over some exciting styles for older gentlemen, and we have covered the basics of using color to the best of your advantage. Now that we have all this knowledge we can venture boldly into the area of formal dress.

First and foremost, rented tuxedos are for wussies. Just buy one. You'll get more wear out of it than you realize. It's a bit of an "if you build it, they will come" situation. Once you own a tuxedo, you'll suddenly start getting more invitations to weddings, formal parties and opera than ever. Contrary to popular misconception, formal occasions can be great fun, especially if you look sharp, cool as a cat and wear clothes that actuallyfit you.

Few men rock a tuxedo like George Clooney. Although, Daniel Craig comes very close to outswaggering him when he goes into the full James Bond mode. Incidentally, the fact that these two gentlemen look equally fabulous in a tux is proof that great formal wear works regardless of a man's coloring.

Ocean's Eleven is fun anyway, but it's also chock-full of handsome men wearing all kinds of clothes. And while Matt Damon and Brad Pitt both look fantastic in their formal garb, George Clooney somehow takes it beyond fantastic and into the area of totally dazzling. In most cases Gorgeous George wears a classic black tux with a modest black bow tie, with no cummerbund (that's a broad sash that goes under the tux) or vest.

Sir Anthony Hopkins had a tough task in the movie Meet Joe Black. In addition to delivering a performance, he had to hold his own while sharing the screen with two hot young stars Claire Forlani and Brad Pitt. Sir Anthony certainly rose to the challenge.

Love it or hate it, but Meet Joe Black has one of the most spectacular party scenes in movie history. It is the culmination of the movie, visually and emotionally, when all loose ends are tied and all things are revealed and resolved. The set designers provided a stunning backdrop, and the actors absolutely had to look their best. Which they did - and how!

Sir Anthony and Brad wore matching black tuxes, with slightly fuller black bow ties, black vests and black patent shoes. Anthony Hopkins was 61 when this movie was made, Brad Pitt - 36. You tell me, which of the two rocks the look better.

When you are 61, put on your tux and your patent shoes, walk up to a 26-year old actress/model perfectly encased in a backless silver dress and ask her to dance. See how it goes. Here we have Sir Anthony - perfectly attired, perfectly confident, dancing with perfect ease with one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and delivering his lines like the Oscar winner he is.

While the black tux is classic, the white tux propels you well and truly into the Hollywood glamor. There are two ways to wear a white tuxedo. One is to go with the standard black basics - tuxedo trousers and vest - paired by a white tuxedo shirt and topped with a white tuxedo jacket, as Hugh Jackman did for the party scene in Australia.

Another option is to go all out and do a full white formal, like Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty. A dazzling, perfectly tailored white suit will not bestow God-like powers upon you, but you will certainly look divine.

Black and white are no longer the only paths toward formal glamor. My favorite guy when it comes to injecting some color into his formal look is Will Smith, and it's particularly adorable, because he color-coordinates with his wife. Here is Mr. Smith in a not black, not white, but a cool gunmetal gray fitted tux worn with a dark gray ascot and a deep midnight blue velvet vest, pairing up perfectly with Jada Smith's royal blue gown.

With so many families of Scottish and Irish descent in America, it is not surprising that more and more young men are opting for the traditional wear for weddings and other formal occasions. I personally think it's fantastic! Properly fitted and accessorized, the traditional Scottish suit can be imposing and very sexy, as demonstrated here by Sir Sean Connery. That said, if you intend to honor your Scottish or Irish ancestors by wearing the traditional garb, please start your preparations early, research it carefully and have it tailored - otherwise you end up looking ridiculous.

This concludes our Well-Dressed Men Series. I hope you enjoyed. Go forth and be fabulous!


Kira said...

Maria, you're a genius in the fashion dept - I need to get TOH into a Tux... having siad that, he looks scrumptious in his dark blue three piece suit anyway... not to mention the grandad collar black jacket and dark trousers that he wears to semi formal occasions...

Hmmm... maybe he knows already!

I just thought I'd award you the Sunshine award for cheering me up - Brad, Sean, Hugh and Anthony in a tux is almost as good as Hugh not in anything!


Maria K. said...

When all is said and done, there is no way to "get" someone into anything.

You can't get your significant other into a tux. He has to want to wear it. Otherwise, he'll be uncomfortable and blame you for it.

Becoming comfortable with formal wear involves shopping and, yes, the dreaded TRYING THINGS ON. Ordering something on line and hoping it fits is a fantasy. Not going to happen. Once again - he has to want to go through all that in order to wear a tux and all the accessories that go with it.

If I were a clothing therapist, I would ask him, "Tell me about the men that inspire you," and go from there. Even the most casual actors, writers, artists and statesmen wore something formal at some point and managed to look great. Whether or not he would want to look as great as they did is his decision. But if he doesn't, he really shouldn't be shocked and upset when his fiancee swoons over the likes of George Clooney and Hugh Jackman.