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Costume Institute Calls for White Tie Dress Code at Gala

Invitations stipulate a “White Tie and Decorations” dress code, as in full evening dress — a black tailcoat, waistcoat, a wing collar shirt and a white bow tie.

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TAILS OF THE CITY: Gentlemen, you better start planning your Costume Institute benefit outfit now. Invitations for the May 5 gala, which celebrates “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stipulate a “White Tie and Decorations” dress code, as in full evening dress — a black tailcoat, waistcoat, a wing collar shirt and a white bow tie.

While the fashion crowd undoubtedly will interpret it in their own way, the look, which plays into Charles James’ Forties moment and is a sharp turn from last year’s punkish vibe, could require some serious research — formal tails are less common these days. Decorations could come in the shape of lapel pins, from bronze stars to awards and more creative flights of fancy.

White tie will require the men to do some sartorial maneuvering for a change. During dinner, they will have to flap their tails over their seats. Then all they’ll have figure out is what to do with the de rigueur top hat.

RELATED STORY: A Look Inside the Charles James Exhibit Book >>