Welcome back to the Gentleman’s Gazette!
In today’s video, I’m going to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how I prepared
for a recent concert by giving you a step-by-step overview of how I put
together my black tie ensemble. As regular viewers of our channel will
probably be aware when I’m not in the office preparing content for the
Gentleman’s Gazette, in my free time, I also work as a jazz vocalist around
Minnesota. At the time of recording this video, I’m still, what you would probably
call, an emerging artist, in that I’m still making connections and getting my
name out there but recently, I did take what you would probably consider to be a
fairly major step and organized my own concert completely from scratch. My
collaborator Maestro Andrew Casey and I put together an ensemble of twenty-four
professional musicians to play an hour-long concert of songs from the
Great American Songbook or Jazz Standards from the early to mid 20th
century. As you can probably imagine, there was quite a lot of preparation to
do including finding a space, selecting the songs we wanted to perform,
contacting the musicians, figuring out ticketing and so on. Not to mention that
Maestro Casey did all of the arrangements of the songs we chose on
his own but what we’ll focus on in today’s video, in line with our bread and
butter here at the Gentleman’s Gazette, is specifically how I put together the
outfit I decided to wear for the concert. So without any further ado, let’s jump
right into the process. First, of course, was the overall question of deciding
what to wear. Because Jazz was one of the dominant musical forms of the early and
mid 20th century, it naturally has an association with the formal dress codes
that became popular during that time, namely, the tuxedo. And being a student of
history myself, getting all of the details of Black Tie correct is
something that I find joy in doing. In fact, I came to classic menswear
largely through Black Tie to begin with. Of course, tuxedos are still worn today
but there’s a rich history with how they developed throughout the 20th century. If
you’d like to learn more about tuxedos or about white tie, you can check out our
comprehensive resource the black tie guide here. I have a few different black
tie ensembles in my possession such as the vintage midnight blue
double-breasted model that’s been seen on the channel before, as well as an
ivory dinner jacket for warm weather black tie. For this concert though, I
decided to go with perhaps the most classic and standard orientation, a
single breasted one-button peak lapel tuxedo jacket in black with matching
black trousers, a black cummerbund, bow tie, and a white pleated tuxedo shirt.
There were other elements to the outfit as well, of course,
but we’ll get to all of the specifics in a moment. So with my ensemble selected, it
was time to get it ready to wear. First, I took the jacket and trousers and
thoroughly brushed them off with a garment brush to get rid of any lint,
hair, dust, or other debris. After afixing some black grosgrain silk suspenders
that feature gold adjusters to my trousers, I put them on over my
underthings which included some black silk over the calf socks from Fort
Belvedere. I’ve actually gotten into the habit of wearing two pairs of socks
whenever I’m wearing my black tie ensembles because my vintage opera pumps
from Allen Edmonds are just a hair big on my feet.
Thus, the first pair of socks I usually put on is a standard pair of cotton
dress socks on top of which I’ll put these silk socks that are proper for
black tie. By the way, you can find our over the calf black silk socks for black
tie and white tie in the Fort Belvedere shop here. Before I put on any of my
other garments, I figured that it was an appropriate time to finish my grooming
routine. I had already showered and shaved before
I put on my underthings but now was a good time
for me to do my hair, as well as put on a little bit of concealer to hide any
blemishes. After all, everything stands out under stage lighting. As you can
learn in my recent FAQ video here, I typically use a product on my hair
called Groom and Clean, it provides a bit of a shiny finish and an early 20th
century look that goes with my aesthetic especially with the tuxedo. This product
is best applied to damp hair so I had to get my hair wet first and to make sure
that nothing would come out of place during the concert, I did use a little
bit of hairspray for extra hold. On that note, if you’d like to learn what types
of hair products are best for you, you can check out our guide to hair products
here. With grooming done, the next task was to iron my tuxedo shirt so that it
looked presentable. If you’d like to learn how I did that, you can find our
series on properly ironing multiple kinds of garments here. After the shirt
was ironed, of course, it was time for me to insert its hardware. This time around,
I chose a set that I’ve had for quite a while which features onyx insets in
gold-plated metal. Also, the collar of the tuxedo shirt does take collar stays.
Normally, I would use brass ones because they’re more durable but just on the off
chance that they could be seen under the plain white fabric, I decided to go with
white plastic stays instead. By the way, you can find our complete guide to
collar stays as well as shirt stays here. After I put on my shirt, I turned next to
my neck wear and my waist covering. I have several different black tie neck
wear options in my collection but this time, I turn to one of my most recent
acquisitions, that being a single-ended grosgrain silk bowtie from Fort
Belvedere. Having only one bow shape to the tie means that the finished knot
can be small and snug and lay basically flat against the collar which I
appreciate. You can find our single-ended bowtie models as well as more standard
models in the shop here. Meanwhile, my black cummerbund was
just in plain satin silk. I’ll probably pick up a grosgrain cummerbund from Fort
Belvedere soon just so that I can have a tie and a cummerbund that match in
grosgrain. Before putting on my tuxedo jacket,
it needed some accessories of its own as well. The first of these was a white
linen pocket square which I folded in a crown design for just a little bit of
character. By the way, if you’d like to learn a number of different pocket
square folds you can check out our video on that subject here. The second
accessory I chose to stand out just a little bit from some of the other
musicians on the stage was a red carnation boutonniere. Normally, I would
want to use one of our standard models from the Fort Belvedere shop but I ran
into a little bit of a problem this time around. My jacket doesn’t have any kind
of buttonhole so I had to get a bit creative with my boutonniere. First, I
found an old lapel pin in my jewelry box and using a bit of hot glue, I was able
to afix to that lapel pin a prototype boutonniere design that Raphael had
given to me. It had been sitting around the studio for quite a while, this
prototype design didn’t have a stem on its backside but rather just had a
button. Therefore, the glue could easily make a point of contact between the flat
lapel pin and the button on the reverse of the boutonniere so mission
accomplished! I now had a boutonniere that I could simply pin through my
jacket’s lapel and it would still look just as good. If I were wearing a jacket
whose lapel did have a standard buttonhole though, I would go with one of
our current range of boutonnieres which you can find in the Fort Belvedere shop
here. They all look just like real flowers but because they’re made of silk,
they’ll last much longer. So with my jacket on, the only thing left to do was
cap myself off at the top and the bottom. I started at the bottom with my opera
pumps. As viewers were quick to point out in our last video series where I wore
them, the edges of my vintage pumps were looking a bit old and showing their age.
As such, I used a bit of black edge and heel dressing to get them looking like new
and then used a brush to get the uppers of the shoes also free of any scuffs, my
shoes were good to go. So the last remaining piece of my ensemble was a hat.
I’ve been an almost religious hat wearer for years now although I do always
observe proper hat etiquette, which you can learn more about in this video here.
Even if my hat was only going to be worn on my way to and from the concert hall, I
still would feel incomplete if I didn’t have one with me. Because this concert
took place in August, I chose a summer hat, my straw boater. The boater has a long
history of being associated with Black Tie so it was a natural fit and with
that, my outfit was complete. All that was left to do was to rehearse at the
concert hall, take a brief break, and then start the show. I’m happy to report that
things went very well with the concert. We’re still hard at work getting
finished footage of the concert ready for our Gentleman’s Gazette viewers to
see but this should be a bit of a taste for you. So did you enjoy this look at my
Black Tie process? If you’d like to see more videos like this in the future just
let us know in the comments below. We’ve already gone over most of the pieces in
my wardrobe today but here are a few additional notes in case you’re curious.
As I said, my jacket is single breasted, it has peaked grosgrain lapels and a
single button closure which is most proper for a single breasted tuxedo. It
also has no vents in the back and in addition to being able to take
suspenders, my trousers have double pleats which is a little bit more
traditional and falls in line with that 1930s aesthetic that I’m going for.
I think the ensemble turned out well as did the concert so hopefully in the
future, you’ll be able to see more of my endeavors as a jazz vocalist here at the
Gentleman’s Gazette!

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