A Lesson On (How Not To Do) Black Tie, Pt III: 2012...

A Lesson On (How Not To Do) Black Tie, Pt III: 2012 Emmy Awards


To be or not to be judgemental…  It’s not really a question in this case, I feel obligated to be the former.  If only the men of the Emmy’s could don a tux as well as they act in their respective shows; but far from that they are.  The showing at the Emmys was worse than what we saw for the Golden Globes and Oscars.  Luckily there were a few stand outs, including Jimmy Kimmel.  The event could not have come at a better time.  As Black Tie seasons is fast approaching (yes, caps intended) and I have been getting an increasing number of inquiries regarding proper form for such a dress code.  Anyway, you know the gig, my thoughts are below…

Enjoy Liberally,

Justin L Jeffers

Jeremy Davies outfit is so bad I had to put it first.  I don’t even know where to start with listing what’s wrong, because all of it is.  I just can’t fathom what prompted this ensemble, so I conclude that it must have been a joke.

Alex Baldwin usually does a good job of dressing up.  He does seem to be a fan of tradition, a good man in my book.  His black tie kit is perfect.  Except that whole purple long tie with matching pocket square debacle.  Lesson to live by: do not match your outfit with your date’s when going black tie; sounds like a new rule of men’s dress…

Okay, so what?  Mad Men didn’t win best drama, have you seen Homeland?  At least John Hamm is looking crisp in this very well fitted tux.  I’ll let it slide that it is a 2 button jacket because of that.

Speaking of Homeland (which I refuse to watch until I can watch the entire 2nd season in OnDemand straight through because I cannot wait a week in between episodes).  Damian Lewis decided it wise to totally decimate his competition with this shawl collared dinner jacket.  Oh, and he’s wearing a cummerbund and a pocket square.  And the whole thing fits!  A man after my sartorial heart.  May I get a second for nomination for best dressed?

And Ricky Gervais with yet another red carpet war crime.  The open collared black shirt is offensive enough.  The sunglasses are terrible.  The shoes?  The only excuse for those is that they were prescribed by a podiatrist.  But the saddest detail of them all?  He buttoned both buttons on his jacket.

I give Aaron Paul serious points for rocking the dark brown tux.  The first time I’ve seen it done, to be honest.  It fits well and looks good.  He did a good job changing up the color of the tie as well.  Well done!  Now, he just needs a cummerbund to rid him of that terrible white triangle below his jacket button…

Another Homeland boss.  Mandy Patinkin would look great in this if it was at least 2 sizes smaller.  But it’s not, so he looks like shit.  But I have hope for the man, unlike some of his peers (cough Gervais cough) he is not hopeless!

I don’t know what designer this jacket is the bastard offspring of or what stylist, if any, this abominable concoction emerged from but the world would be a better place if it was never seen again.

In contrast, we have Bryan Cranston nearly killing it in his charcoal tux.  Except he is wearing what looks to be a pre-tied bowtie and no cummerbund…  It looks like he could also take in the body of the jacket a little.  Solid points for the charcoal however.  I have faith in Mr. Cranston for next time.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson comes at us with yet another alternative take on a tuxedo fabric with this plaid bit here.  I like the pattern, it is subtle and simple.  However, the legs need be shortened, jacket lengthened and lapels made peak.  Oh, and stick with a black bow tie on this, the plaid pattern is enough.

Note: Since the original publishing of this post I have been informed that Mr. Ferguson’s bow tie is part of a collection of ties he is putting together to advocate for gay marriage rights, called Tie The Knot.

And giving a clinic in killing it 101 is James Van Der Beek and Damon Wayans.  Both men are up for best dressed of the night.  Mr. Wayans pulls of the midnight blue shawl collared jacket effortlessly (but shorten the pants a little).  Oh, how they’ve come a long way since Dawson’s Creek and Blankman.  Well done gents!

The funny man looks oh so serious in this well fitted tux.  Pay particular attention to his pants, he is one of the few stars that got the length right.  I like the crooked bowtie as well, a nice touch.

He’s still around?  A little worse for the wear perhaps… The jacket is awful.  The sleeves are too long and the pockets are flapped and lapels are notched.  AND he’s wearing a long necktie, which for some reason the celebrity set oft swears by but in reality they always look bad.  But what really makes Mr. Daly look bad, and heavier than he may be, are the skinny lapels.  They throw the proportions of the entire jacket off.  Another possible new rule of men’s dress: do not wear skinny lapels if you are overweight.

Damn.  You know Jimmy Kimmel has that smirk because he knows he looks good in that tux.  The shoulders are the strongest of any man I saw at the Emmys.  They are roped and of a ‘pagoda’ shape, as some call it.  They do well to draw attention to his face and make him look slimmer than he actually is.  Let the lesson be learned.

So, there we have it.  The good, but mostly the bad.  I cannot wait for the day when I have more positive than negative things to say about men on the red carpet.  In the meantime, if any of you big shot celebrity people happen to stumble upon my humble blog here, may I offer my styling advice?  Have your people get at my people, or you know, just an email sent to Justin@TheFineYoungGentleman.com is preferable.


All photos courtesy of:





  1. How do you call that joke of a man Kimmel well dressed when he blatantly broke rule #30 of the “Rules of Men’s Dress”? Mr. Kimmel had his bottom waistcoat button secured all night. If you are to continue these critiques please pay greater attention to detail. Also note that this is the second time I have witnessed the “FYG” complementing the dress of a man that has broken the rules you set out, rules I would assume abide by. Thus I now question the validity of the approach you take to men’s fashion/lifestyle.

    • BDB,

      Kimmel is breaking with many things I consider good style. Keeping the bottom button buttoned is only of of them. Others include that his jacket is notch lapel, has flap pockets and has 2 buttons. The sleeves are also too long. But, nonetheless, he still looks good in relation to the rest of the pack at the Emmys, due to the fact that the jacket, vest and pants fit well. The shoulders are the focal point of his outfit, and as such, I made them the focal point of my comments. I tried not to emphasize negative things on his outfit to keep the focus on the shoulders and the power the shoulders can have on the appearance of a jacket. I have many comments for most of the other gents, most of which are negative or a critique; unfortunately. However, it would be excessive and at times redundant to mention everything, so I find it prudent to abstain at times. If it would truly satisfy you, I can add further commentary where necessary.

      Regarding your other point. As I mention in the intro to the rules some rules are absolute, whereas others are not as rigid. That said, I break the less rigid ones when appropriate.


  2. Since you clearly seem unaware, Jesse Tyler Fergusons bow tie was made by his charity designer who makes bow ties. The proceeds support gay marriage, something he’s hoping to partake in with his fiancé. So perhaps that’s why he didn’t stick with your boring traditional black recommendation.

  3. I just don’t get it! Theese people all have loads of money, why not just go with a simple TomFord tux if they are not willing to go on the bespoke route. Haven’t they seen James Bond movies? Or perhaps more recently the skit at the beginning of the Olympics in London when Daniel Craig goes to the Buckingham Palace to pick up the Queen

  4. I have read a few times in the Man About Town magazines, an early British men’s tailoring magazine – see the Tailor and Cutter website – that a 5 button waistcoat should have all the buttons done up. Technically though a black tie waistcoat should have 4 buttons maximum and all should be buttoned, however I’m impressed that he wore a waistcoat, and apart from the too long sleeves, I think he looks great. The pagoda shoulders are very impressive!!