Columns Dec 5, 2012 at 4:00 am

Dick McMillan: Tuxedo Man

Stephanie Ellendt


A dress coat or tailcoat in white is not "most formalist"; it is an abomination. Tailcoats are black or midnight blue (grey during daytime is allowable). A white dinner jacket is appropriate in summer in hot climates in resort or vacation settings only -- never in the city. Black is ALWAYS more formal.

He's completely right about the tie and about Sean Connery, though.
He was talking about a white bow tie being more formal, not the jacket.
@1 Tell that to Cab Calloway. White guys look a little odd in an all white tux - black guys look awesome in them.
@2, "There's also a white jacket with tails".

@3, Yes, white tails are terrific if you're up on a bandstand. If you're not performing, wear black to formal events.

I wouldn't necessarily equate it as "most formalist" either, but, like the white dinner jacket, a white tailcoat would be appropriate as summer wear in a warm climate. The only possible exception I can think of to that might be U.S. Navy officers dress whites, or possibly a white "military cut" jacket worn in semi-formal settings.

And in any case, a white formal jacket should NEVER, under any circumstances be worn with white trousers - that truly IS an abomination!
@5, US Navy dress whites do not have tailcoats. And you'd better not be wearing them if you're not in the Navy. Military uniforms are a whole 'nuther topic. I disagree that white tails are appropriate anywhere, unless you're dancing on stage.
Dick McMillan is a Northwest treasure. I got fitted for a tux by him and was treated to a dazzling mini-lecture covering the playlists of KIXI, the origin of the cummerbund, and the tuxes worn by the producers of 'The King's Speech' when they won the Oscar for Best Picture. I LOVE HIM.
I think shawl collars are the most elegant. A tux with notches here and there are like the extraneous fins on a 1950s automobile. Another thing: I have never understood the navy blue tux. I don't object; just don't get it. Might as well do forest green or UPS brown.

And I would counter that, a white tailcoat would ONLY be acceptable under the most formal of circumstances in a climate where a white dinner jacket would also be considered acceptable under slightly less formal ones - certainly nowhere else.
Dick McMillian is a treasure. He once had a letter about him published in DEAR FRICKING ABBEY -- the daughter of a stroke victim who had been rendered unable to speak said how much she appreciated that Dick had treated her father as an adult and spoke to him directly as he fitted him for a tux for his grandsons' wedding. And he is seriously a hilarious reality show in the making.
I had the pleasure of working for Mr. McMillian (Mac) this summer. He's a great guy and quite the character. Tuxedos, Suits, vests and ties you name it! "Mac" will set you up and make damn sure you wear trousers at your "natural waist" not like kids these days! There's nothing like the Tux Shop at Northgate anywhere else. If you get the chance stop by and see the magic that is Richard "Mac" McMillian.

Matt K.
Having bought several tuxedos and the accessories that go with them from the Tux Shop, I would trust this guy's advice on anything formal! My only criticism is when I was up for employment with them in 1992, I wasn't able to work the schedule. This shop is still the best one in the Seattle area and this is who you should go to.

BTW: He is absolutely right when he says a long tie should not be worn with a tuxedo.
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