2017 RCS Gift Guide #1: Formal

Welcome to another year of gift guides from yours truly.  As always, we are going to have fun.  You’ll figure out the theme as more are released, but rest assured, the items include are 100% legit and RCS recommended.

First up: Formal.  Gifts for the guys that do the Black Tie thing quite a bit, or the guys that wish they did it more than they do.  I like to think of a formal evening as an excuse to go all out.  Rent a limo.  Pregame hard.  Be the first on the dance floor.  Have two desserts.  After party.  You get it. Below are ‘things’ that go with a formal theme, but the main point of a black tie required night is to ensure that your date feels like Cinderella-o without the midnight curfew.

Here we go…how do to Formal:

From Top Left:

1. Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald Black Watch Plaid Velvet Tuxedo Jacket:  It’s velvet, it’s black watch, and it fits the way a jacket should (and it’s off-the-rack!).  Avoid the shiny rental tuxedo and wear something that will stand out, but not too much.
2. Waterford Diamond Line Martini Glasses:  For the pre-game.  After you finish getting ready, mix yourself a Manhattan, and make her a Vesper martini.  Nice crystal glasses set the tone for a special evening, so these are an excellent gift for the aspirational man.
3. Drake’s Formal Evening Ivory Silk Scarf:  A dapper move, an ivory scarf is great for the car ride and the walk in, then check it, and let her use it as a shawl after the party.
4. Black Bow Tie from Onward Reserve:  No need to think too hard on this.  It’s hard to justify anything other than a standard black bow tie with a tuxedo.  It’s sharp, it requires a good knot, and it’s what James Bond did.  So do it.
5. Ruffs Signet Ring:  While I’m not a huge jewelry guy, I 100% approve of signet rings.  It’s a very appropriate way to show off some family history or an engraved monogram.  It it some extra icing to a relatively monotonous penguin suit, and he’ll love receiving it as a gift.
6. White Cotton Evening Shirt in Pique Cotton from Ben Silver:  While tuxedo shirts are exclusively worn with tuxedos, this is an area where you don’t want to skimp.  I highly recommend getting one custom made, or get a really nice one off the rack (and have it tailored).  An ill-fitting shirt is a sure-fire way to ruin a tuxedo.
7. Patek Philippe Calatrava Watch:  We talk about dress watches quite a bit.  This is the time to flex.
8. Antique Mother of Pearl Buttons:  The forgotten part of any tuxedo.  Remember, most evening shirts don’t have buttons, so head over to Etsy and get some MoP buttons.  You don’t need to spend too much, because you’ll probably end up replacing a few as the events (and late nights) pile up.  You know what, two sets will suffice.
9. Smathers & Branson Pheasant Needlepoint Cummerbund:  A subtle way to show some personality.
10. Res Ipsa Black Watch Formal Shoes:  A not-so-subtle way to show some personality.  The tartan / black watch option in footwear is bold, so he better be the first person on the dance floor, or the guest of honor when wearing these sleds.  Special note: don’t wear these with #1.  There actually such thing as too much of a good thing.
11. Sterling Silver Fox Cufflinks:  Every man should have a great pair of cufflinks.  Get something vintage, and sterling silver.  Whether they are a monogrammed set, or a set of Foxes like these, he’ll appreciate the top shelf move.
12. ASW Fiddler Bourbon:  Stock his shelf with the good stuff to mix those pre-game Manhattans, or on the rocks at the after party with a good cigar.
13. Vintage Sterling Silver Flask:  A must-have for 99% of black tie events.  Don’t worry if it’s not the right monogram, that way you can deny it’s yours.



  1. Seve
    11/14/2017 / 11:11 AM

    Formal events are not the time to “flex.” You should never wear a watch to a formal evening event. The point is to tell your company, and in theory your date, that there is no need to know what time it is as there is no other place that you need to be more important than where you are.  

    • HLL
      11/14/2017 / 1:23 PM

      I just couldn’t agree with this less. It all pertains to where you live, and the customs you’re surrounded by. I agree with JRS as I am from Louisiana – its about family, friends, functionality. While I am not a Patek fan, I like the Omega Seamaster 300 master co-axial for this because in the morning you can wake up and take it to the lake for Mimosas and it will double as the diver its meant to be.

    • CCR
      12/02/2017 / 8:43 PM

      I completely agree. This is not a time to flex, this is a time to be genteel and refined. Watches are inappropriate and unsophisticated at events intended to be highly traditional and formal. Just because it costs more than your average car doesn’t mean it’s the pinnacle of formality. A true gentleman would never flaunt wealth.

      And another thing: the “tuxedo jacket” listed has a notch lapel. In my opinion, a notch lapel disqualifies a jacket from being a dinner jacket, or as you and BB call it, a “tuxedo jacket.” A dinner jack should have a peak lapel or shawl collar, no exceptions. Otherwise, it is no different than a suit.

      I can’t tell if RCS is just blatantly uninformed or is selling out to his sponsors. Either way, kind of a shame for a blog that purports to be so refined in style. This post really missed the mark and should be redeemed if RCS wants to be taken seriously.

  2. CJ
    11/14/2017 / 10:05 PM

    I have to agree with SEVE…
    Formal occasions and specifically events requiring tuxedos call for no watch.  I guess rules are made to be broken, and believe me I do love a solid watch but I believe more in classic customs.  No watch sir. 

  3. JRS
    12/02/2017 / 9:09 PM

    Good conversation.  I’ve always been operated under the rule that a watch is OK with a tuxedo, as long as it isn’t flashy.  Personally, I hate NOT wearing a watch, so I opt to wear one.  

  4. 03/11/2020 / 8:14 AM

    Love your collection! I like your post very much. I wish to add some of these items in my wish list. Thanks for sharing.

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