Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

First Class men and women dressed up nightly for formal dinners on the Titanic. Gentlemen attending a Titanic themed event will want to don their best for the night. Here is a guide on how to dress for the formal affair as well as some options for less formality.

Tailcoat

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

1912 Formal Wear

Gentlemen’s ‘White Tie’ formal wear consisted of a black tailcoat jacket and pants, white waistcoat, silk top hat, and white  bow tie. Unlike modern suits the wool fabric was very thick and heavy. This kept the shape very stiff and fitted meeting social requirements for pomp sophistication. The cut of the tailcoat was very fitted to the body, emphasizing  a waist line at jackets edge. Special undergarments helped shape a man’s belly much like corsets did for women. The jacket featured pointed collars instead of shawl collars like in the previous decade. The edge of the jacket bottom pointed downward a bit rather then straight across. Although the jacket never buttoned close there were three buttons placed on each side of the jacket opening.

Matching wool weight trousers sat high on the waist (above bellybutton level) and tapered down to top of the ankle. Pockets were not necessary for formal wear and usually left out. There was a sharp pressed crease down both the front and back of the pant legs. Sometimes a single or double stripe of silk fabric ran along the side legs. This stripe is what has remained on modern Tuxedo pants today.

Where to Find Tailcoats

Unless you get a custom made tailcoat in the Edwardian style then you probably will have to settle for wearing modern versions of the suit. Thankfully modern tailcoats are made of much lighter fabrics and fit a little looser for your comfort. Usually a suit rental store for weddings will either carry a modern tailcoat suit or be able to order one for you. Here are a few online sources to purchase your own:

Jos. A Bank Has a very nice black coat in a very Edwardian style. About $200

MensUSA – Has another good Tailcoat with matching pants. less then $200.

Uniformwearhouse – Has several options in various prices.

gentlemansemporium.com - Has a slightly earlier version of the tailcoat. Under $200

Cutaway Coat

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Cutaway Coat

Cutaway Coats were a semi formal coat option. Cutaway coats, also called morning coats in their less formal fashion, feature long rounded jacket fronts that button with one button for closure.  They could be worn for day wear or for a semi formal dinner party. On the Titanic Memorial Cruise this coat will look dashing on you as an alternative to the standard Tuxedo. Here are some options to purchase a cutaway coat. Renting them may be a lot more difficult.

www.gentlemansemporium.com Mens Edwardian Cutaway Coat
www.tuxedosonline.com Black Cutaway Coat
www.tuxedosonline.com - Grey Cutaway Coat
www.alphillipsformalwear.com – High End Cutaway Coat
www.aurorahistoryboutique.com Wild west style brown cutaway coat
Oliver Brown (UK) carries an all wool black morning coat.

If you want to wear your cutaway coat for informal day wear consider wearing them with striped trousers. This style was very common in Europe although it didn’t catch on in America. Any other solid colored pants could be worn as well. Add a cane, ascot tie, and bowler hat and you’ll look handsome strolling Titanic’s Deck.

Dinner Jacket and Tuxedo Coats

The third coat option for formal/semi formal occasions is the Dinner Jacket or it’s similar modern cousin the Tuxedo jacket. In 1912 these coat styles might have been worn at home or for very informal family occasions. By the late teens they were acceptable in public occasions but only if it didn’t require you demonstrating your status- such as at the theater in your private box. However by the 1920′s the dinner jacket was an acceptable alternative to formal tailcoats.

While not totally historically accurate for 1912 it’s ok to stretch fashion history a bit for the Titanic Cruise. Plus it will be a lot easier and affordable to find and buy a dinner jacket then a formal tux suit.

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

The Tuxedo coat is a formal sack coat with either a rounded shawl collar or pointed peaked lapel. The shawl collar went out of fashion with WW1 (1914-1918) so for a 1912 event its would still be acceptable to wear. Usually the collar was made of silk. Today they are more often made of satin. In the 1940′s velvet dinner jackets were all the rage (popularized by the movie Casablanca.) Avoid velvets for the Edwardian era if possible. A dark tie was somewhat acceptable to wear instead of the formal white bow tie.

If you are the type of person to make a fashion statement then consider the dress of the Edwardian Dandy. Dandy’s wore double breasted medium grey or dark blue coats and pants.

www.oliverbrown.org.uk/ High End Shawl collar black Dinner jacket.

Dress Shirts

Regardless of what jacket you choose the rest of the formal clothing remains the same. A white “bib” or button down starched skirt with tall wingtip collar was always worn for formal occasions. Most modern Tuxedo shirts come with a wingtip collar. The modern Tuxedo pleated shirt  is historically incorrect but may be your only option to find a wingtip collar locally.

The other collar style was a tall standing collar with rounded edges. These were dreadfully uncomfortable because the stiffness of the collar prevented the head from turning and often bruised a mans neck. They were appropriately called “poke” collars. You can still by these as detachable collards and wear them on a collarless shirt.

Brooksbrothers – Carries a very nice detachable shirt with wingtip collar.

gentlemansemporium.com – Carries detachable wingtip collar and shirt. Tall “Poke” collars and club collars also available. If you wear the wingtip be sure to detach the tips from the shirt so they point out.

www.ushist.com - Carries a better detachable wingtip collar and stand up collar then the above store. The shirts themselves are too early for a 1912 event.

Oliver Brown (Uk) Carries quality detachable collars and shirts.

Cufflinks

The standard cufflink for Edwardian formal occasion was inlaid pearl. Mother of pearl and pearl link gems called Moonstone were also common. Gold or gold plated brass were more common for day wear. Both round and square shape cufflinks existed. You will need a french cuff or double cuff shirt to wear cufflinks.

Waistcoat (UK) or Vest (USA)

The formal waistcoat was always white. Black vests were only suitable for day or semi formal occasions. They were usually collarless and shaped in a U pattern exposing the formal shirt underneath. The collarless variety had a shawl collar- a round collar all the way around the U opening. The vest was very low cut and came to either a rounded bottom or two points.  They could either be single breasted or double breasted. Double breasted is the most formal.

The Waistcoat/ vest is going to be the trickiest item to find. I have been looking for two years and have yet to find the correct shape, color and material. I haven’t even found a pattern to make one. Here are the few that are the closest online options:.

www.i-ties.co.uk/ – This one is a long V shape with flat square collar. I’ve seen in worn on men and they look very nice in it.

www.uniformalwearhouse.com – Similar to above. Be sure to get the full back option.

www.oliverbrown.org.uk - Has a long u shaped black waistcoat with shawl collar. They have a few “buff” colored waistcoats for sale from the previously hired waistcoats.

Gloves

A gentlemen always wore gloves. Colored gloves of black or grey were acceptable for day wear while white, or off-white cream colored gloves were a must for formal wear. They were usually made of kid leather and had a mid arm length. Today its’ hard to find kid gloves so standard white wrist length or longer fabric gloves would be acceptable.

Tip: Wear gloves at all times. The only time gloves would not be worn is while food is going into the body or coming out of the body : )

www.leatherglovesonline.com Basic Lambskin white leather gloves.

www.alwyngloves.com (UK) Look for the Mens formal white leather gloves.

www.florentinegloves.com/mens.html V cut wrist instead of a button closure.

www.debutantegloves.com/order.html Quality leather and cotton white gloves.

Top Hats

They are not just for magicians with white rabbits! The mandatory hat for formal events was the silk top hat. You might be surprised that these hats were collapsible- meaning they could be pressed down into a almost flat shape for transportation. They were made of silk. Today you mostly see them made of satin. On a budget a wool felt top hat will work. The hats were rather tall  but not quite as tall as Abe Lincoln’s stovepipe hat.

www.oliverbrown.org.uk – Very high end all silk top hats. More choices here.

Edwardian Mens Shop- Collapsible Silk Top Hats and Wool Top Hats. Cheap Costume satin hats.

Shoes

Formal mens shoes consisted of black oxford style dress shoes or tall narrow dress boots. Dress boots were either solid matte black which buttoned up the sides, or black boots with white spat leather built into the top half.

Dress shoes would have been lace up and worn with white leather spat shoe coverings. The toe design was know as “toe cap”. Read more about Edwardian shoe options.

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Edwardian Titanic Spat Boots

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Victorian Cap Toe Boot

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Edwardian Oxford Shoes

 

 

 

 

 

Pocket Square

The final touch on your formal suit is the white pocket square. This is not to be used as your handkerchief. Pocket squares were for decoration only. They were folded into a triangle and placed inside the front heart pocket with the pointy end facing up. Usually they were made of silk.

 

This completes you formal  clothes. Here are some options for new clothing for sale online that I recommend. Please feel free to contact me for further help. 


 


Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Tails Coat Tuxedo Jacket

$161.50

Wool tailcoat for Victorian through 20's formal evening wear. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Tails Coat Tuxedo Jacket- Sizes 48-52

$161.50

Larger sizes tailcoat. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Notch Collar Tuxedo Jacket

$161.50

Notched Tuxedo jacket or dinner jacket for late teens to 1930's semi-formal to formal wear [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Signature Peak-Lapel Tuxedo

$325.00

Peak lapel tuxedo jacket for semi-formal or formal evening wear in the 1920's [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Plain Front Tuxedo Trousers

$59.50

Highly recommended. Tall waist. Flat front. Silk stripe. Perfect victorian to 30s evening wear. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Signature Black Tuxedo Plain Front Trousers

$105.00

Plain front tuxedo pants. Work well for formal wear. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Signature Royal Oxford Point Collar Formal Dress Shirt

$90.45

Single points dress shirt collar with french cuffs. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Signature Dobby Pique Wing Collar Formal Dress Shirt

$90.45

Excellent choice for formal dress shirts. Wing tip collar and french cuffs. [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Stacy Adams - Madison Boot

$87.99

Very nice all around black boots for the early 20's [Read more]

Store: Zappos.com

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Silk Vest

$77.05

For semi-formal evening wear [Read more]

Store: Jos. A. Bank

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Tailcoat Costume

$52.99

Adult Black Tailcoat Perfect for Butlers, Circus Ring Masters and Dancers! Includes: Classic black long tailcoat. Available SIzes: Large 46-48 Additional Sizes: Standard 42... [Read more]

Store: Halloween Express

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Formal Black Jazz Cloth Double-breasted Mens Tailcoat

$74.99

Victorian fashions have become increasingly popular in recent times, but many people still don't know what it refers to. Victorian is sort of like the Victorian-era future ... [Read more]

Store: Milanoo.com Ltd

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

BLACK TAILCOAT TAIL TUXEDO SUIT

$178.02

BLACK TAILCOAT TAIL TUXEDO SUIT 795 HIGH QUALITY DESIGNER BRAND NEW SALE RETURN POLICY. We accept exchanges only on all products received. No returns on any merchandise shi... [Read more]

Store: Buy.com

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Classic fit Morning suit tail coat

$400.00

The ultimate in formal wear, this men's morning suit tail coat represents timeless tailoring at its very best. Matching morning suit pants also available. [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Marcella bib front classic collar evening shirt slim fit

$99.00

Thanks to its marvellously flattering slim fit, this white shirt is slightly more tapered at the waist than the classic fit alternative, to help create a more fitted silhou... [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Marcella bib front wing collar evening slim fit shirt

$99.00

The luxurious Egyptian cotton elevates this wing collar white tuxedo shirt above many others you'll find on the high street. It gives it a silkier look and feel that really... [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

White marcella self-tie bow tie

$49.00

When it comes to a white tie dress code, this proper white bow tie will beautifully finish your look. [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Black Garrick Oxford shoes

$199.00

Every man needs a pair of classic black Oxford shoes because they can be worn to every formal occasion. This pair is sturdily built and beautifully finished. [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

Edwardian Titanic Mens Formal Suit Guide

Slim fit dinner suit vest

$139.00

The perfect finishing touch to our men's black dinner suit, this handsome black vest turns a classic dinner suit into something extra special. [Read more]

Store: Charles Tyrwhitt

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About Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions is passionate about wearing history through fashion. She and her husband, Oscar, have turned their hobby into a career by teaching others how to re-create vintage style with affordable new vintage inspired clothing and accessories. We connect shoppers to the best vintage inspired clothing, shoes and accessories to buy online making VintageDancer a great place to start your shopping. When not working Debbie and Oscar enjoy living in their vintage 1920's house and raising their new baby girl in Reno, Nevada, USA

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