Monday, 3 December 2012

Gent's white attire formal dressing - Downton Abbey

I have just began following the TV series Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle), which depicts  the lives of the English aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post Edwardian era. My focal point being the appropriate classical, stylish gents dressing as portrayed by the TV series. 

I was impressed by the fact that Mr. Hugh Bonneville "Earl of Grantham" head of the "Crawley" house hold went to some great length to get the true sartorial white tie attire made at one Savile Row's bespoke tailors as shown below. A lot can be learned from Downton Abbey's Earl of Grantham, as how a true gent should / must dress.

For me Downton Abbey is about keeping the tradition, high standards and ....more.

This brings me to the days subject, why do men commit unforgivable sartorial sins? I am not talking of the every day Jack and Joe, for whom getting "properly" dressed will mean upgrading from jeans to a pair of baggy chinos below the buttoms and an oversized button down shirt, paired with some trainers and perhaps a tie of some sort with a Mickey Mouse motif. Nothing wrong with that, unless you are employed at Walt Disney. No, I am referring  to some men of International power who have the means and the aides to be very elegantly and sartorially dressed. But .....

Mr. Hugh Bonneville as Earl of Grantham (here being suited properly by one of Savile Row's tailors) for the Downton Abbey series. Well done Earl of Grantham.
The Earl of Grantham in a bespoke white tie suiting from one the SR tailors.
HRH Prince Philip in white attire, very correctly done as always.

The Sartorial sin of white attire committed by President Barack Obama & former USA President George W. Bush Jr. 
First, note that Mr. Barack Obama is in a white attire ensamble, however his waistecoat is a tad longer than the tail coat, that is one sartorial sin, but when paired with the second sin as shown below in the next picture, the scene is disastrous. 
White tie attire worn with a down collar shirt. Hmmm, wonder were are all those White House advisors, protocol managers etc. This is not suppose to happen. But.... not to mention that the tail coat looks a wink oversized by judging by the stance at the back of the neck.  The shirt has no studs but normal buttons. Too many sins for an evening. President Obama can definitely afford a bespoke white tie attire ensemble. 
Below is ex US President Mr. George W Bush Jr. committing the same sartorial sins as Mr. Barack Obama above.

Well, it is not only the American powerful men that commits sartorial sins but the Prime Minister of the UK, Mr. David Cameron pulled the same trick of having the waistcoat a tad longer than the tail coat, but otherwise he was looking very dapper for the occasion. 
Photos sourced from Savilerow Tumblr,NY timesGeorge W Bush White House Archives and MSNBCDaily Mail UK and The Gentleman's Gazette


  1. Well the U.S. President has now taken the formal white tie attire a huge notch down on the night of his Inauguration. He was wearing white tie with a pleated down collar shirt with black studs... and a standard diner jacket!

  2. Dear RBMt1722,

    Thanks for your comment. I did catch the picture but.....I was not able to comment on the pictures but will get back on that at a later stage, as I have some catching up to do. Apologies for that.

    The Shoe Aristocar

  3. My only comment is that formal shirts of the day buttoned up the back Actually 2 buttons up the back.