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What do you wear when an invitation calls for "White Tie"?

White Tie is the most formal form of dress for men.  When an invitation calls for white tie, all male guests are required to wear full dress tails and appropriate accessories.  The following list shows appropriate garments that should be worn as well as a brief explanation.

A tailcoat, also known as full dress tails (and incorrectly as tuxedo tails) is a formal jacket that is cut so that the front of the coat falls just below the waist (similar to a waistcoat or vest) and the back of the coat has a “tail” that falls just below the knees.  A classic tailcoat will have  a peak lapel and 6 satin covered buttons in the front, and two in the back. 

Full-Dress Formal Trousers
The formal trousers should obviously match the tailcoat in fabric and color.  Full dress trousers are similar to what you might wear with a tuxedo or dinner jacket.  The trouser will have a satin or grosgrain stripe down the side of each leg and usually a pleated front.  Please keep in mind that formal trousers should never have a cuff, always a straight hem.  The trousers should have inside buttons for formal braces.

Full Dress Vest (or Waistcoat)
Proper white tie should also include a white pique backless vest (also known as a waistcoat).  It should be a crisp white color to match the formal shirt.  The vest fabric should be made from a pique, which is a textured “waffle like” pattern.   The white pique vest should be low cut with a three button front.

Full Dress Formal Shirt
A white pique wing collar shirt should always be worn with a tailcoat.  As with the waistcoat, the shirt should be a crisp white color.  The shirt fabric should be a stiff cotton, and also made from a material like the vest.   Only a wing collar shirt should be worn with a tailcoat.

Full Dress Bow Tie
The correct bow tie to be worn with the tailcoat should be a pure white ( white tie) that should match the vest exactly.  It should be a white pique fabric tie.  A gentleman should always where a self tie tie, not the pre-knotted ties usually found in a tuxedo stores.

Some other items that are often worn with full dress tails would be mother of pearl cufflinks & studs, a black top hat, white silk formal scarf and a cane, however, these are optional items.

Tailcoat   Tailcoat  
Black Peak Tailcoat   White Pique Backless Vest

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