showbiz-tony-awards-2013-red-carpet-11Jake Gyllenhaal.

For some reason, the standard necktie pallbearer/chauffeur look is all the rage in men’s formalwear. The turnout at last night’s Tony Awards was no exception. It was like a black business suit convention on an unfortunate scale. As I said in my piece on this year’s Academy Awards:

The standard necktie, however black it may be, is not appropriate black tie… a man in a standard necktie with a tuxedo looks like he’s at a funeral. Tuxedos are for celebration. So put on a bow tie and celebrate.

But Gyllenhaal did it beautifully. J-Gyl went vintage 007 in a beautifully-tailored, midnight blue dinner jacket with a shawl lapel. It’s similar to the shawl-lapel homage worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall, but Gyllenhaal went all the way with turn-back cuffs, just like the midnight blue shawl-lapel tux sported by Sean Connery in his very first scene in Dr. No in 1962.

He also kept it real with a spread collar tuxedo shirt. As I see it, the wing collar is great if you’re in a morning suit, in tails, or in a magic show at a Chippendales All-Male Revue.

Not only did Jake pull off a great tux and smart shirt, but he also nailed the proportions. The bow tie, shirt collar and jacket lapel should all work together with consistent proportions (also in relation to the size of one’s head); they all come together more nicely when they are a reasonably similar width. (Tom Hanks almost nailed it except for a clown-sized bow tie, which looked like it was wearing him instead of the other way around.)

In addition to Tom Hanks, another honorable mention goes to Mike Tyson, who, perhaps unwittingly, nodded to another iconic Connery-as-Bond look: the white dinner jacket from the opening scene of Goldfinger (1964).

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Click here to read more of my musings on formalwear.


  1. David Gebel

    Noticed Jake G IMMEDIATELY when he stepped up to the camera. The jacket fit perfectly, and just tight enough to be hot and not trendy.

  2. I never thought about black ties like that before, but now that you mention it, I think you are right. Black ties are very dashing, but they are conventional and formal (very conformist). A bow tie is the perfect mix of dapper and daring, and Gyllenhaal pulled it off spectacularly. I feel like bow ties present the image of a prettily wrapped gift, and that’s exactly what Jake G is to the public.

  3. Joel D. Arndt

    Mr. Hahn, I agree with you 100%. A full formal look should be with a bow tie, not a four-in-hand tie which is too casual even if it is black. I’ve never embraced this “updated” approach. Jake looks great and he really pulls it off beautifully. Obviously, he has a stylist who knows what they are doing.