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    hi all,
    i have an offer for trinity entering in october this year. i remember some people here saying that once being in cambridge, there is definitely a need for a dinner jacket which will be used quite often (formal halls, etc). however, being currently on vacations in china, where clothing seems to be much cheaper than in the UK, i am wondering if there are many events in cambridge where white tie is required (may balls?). i actually don't really know much about such things (i haven't even been to a black tie event yet/don't even possess a dinner jacket), i am just aware that tailcoats usually cost a fortune, so i'm wondering if i should try to get one a bit cheaper here...
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    Mmm, ok.

    You'll need a standard suit (light-coloured shirt, dark (preferably black, but you just about get away with charcoal / very dark brown / very dark blue) jacket, matching trousers/shoes, standard necktie of any colour) for matriculation. This will get you into more or less any (obviously optional) events during the year - formal hall, for a start (though I don't know how strict Trinity are on that anyway). Black tie (traditionally: black jacket + trousers + shoes, white dress shirt, black bow tie, optional cummerbund or waistcoat) is required for most May Balls and a few other events dotted around the year, possibly also including some college events, but not much. White tie (black tailcoat / trousers / shoes, white shirt + collar, white bow tie, white low-cut waistcoat) will only ever be required for one or two very posh, reasonably expensive May Balls.

    My advice: sod the white tie off, and if you're planning to go to a May Ball, buy black tie; or, if your normal suit is a black jacket with white shirt anyway, do the obvious studenty thing and just buy a black bow tie. Do buy a proper bow tie, though, not a clip-on one. It won't matter, but it looks so much better. :p:
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    As far as I know the only white tie may balls are Peterhouse and Magdalene. For almost every other occasion, black tie will suffice.
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    Don't bother, white and black tie events should be avoided in favour of something more interesting (bar a May Ball, but you can simply rent a suit for that).
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    Unless you have a deep burning passion to join CUCA (Cambridge University Conservative Association) then don't bother with white tie, they wear it for the termly chairman's dinner though
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    most people at trinity may ball wear white tie, the ones in black tie get sneered at
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    Sorry to hijack the thread, but I thought I'd ask a quick related question.

    Are normal college formals black tie or do people where more standard suits? Does it vary between colleges?

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Stratocaster)

    Are normal college formals black tie or do people where more standard suits? Does it vary between colleges?

    Thanks!
    Formals are generally suit + gown. A few colleges are more relaxed than that, none are black tie as far as I know. Black tie tends to be for mayballs or occasional 'special' dinners.
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    (Original post by Eye)
    Formals are generally suit + gown. A few colleges are more relaxed than that, none are black tie as far as I know. Black tie tends to be for mayballs or occasional 'special' dinners.
    Oh right, I see. Thanks a lot.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Black tie (traditionally: black jacket + trousers + shoes, white dress shirt, black bow tie, optional cummerbund or waistcoat)
    I'm pretty sure, strictly speaking, either a cummerbund or waistcoat is required. Obviously no-one actually cares though.

    More a case of cummerbund xor waistcoat
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    There are very few white tie events (once a year) and very many black tie events (a few times a term)
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    (Original post by MC REN)
    most people at trinity may ball wear white tie, the ones in black tie get sneered at
    Really? I already own black tie and was kind of hoping it would 'do' if I make my offer.
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    (Original post by TheUnbeliever)
    Really? I already own black tie and was kind of hoping it would 'do' if I make my offer.
    I think MC REN's post was in jest. Trinity May Ball is officially black tie.
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    ok. what's the dress code for women at these various events? (formal halls, may balls, etc)

    also, what do women wear to matriculation?

    omg. PPS, fine, not a problem. doing anything social? *runs* *hides*.
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    (Original post by Miss Prankster Pixie)
    ok. what's the dress code for women at these various events? (formal halls, may balls, etc)

    also, what do women wear to matriculation?

    omg. PPS, fine, not a problem. doing anything social? *runs* *hides*.
    Black Tie: a smart dress no shorter than knee length, white tie: full length dresses with white gloves, purse, hair up and a shawl. What you wear at formal varies from college to college. At our regular formals you can wear whatever you want underneath your gown, but we wear black tie for our superhalls (twice a term). Other colleges don't require a gown but do require smart dress. Formals usually aren't black tie unless they're superhalls.
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    (Original post by CSer)
    hi all,
    i have an offer for trinity entering in october this year. i remember some people here saying that once being in cambridge, there is definitely a need for a dinner jacket which will be used quite often (formal halls, etc). however, being currently on vacations in china, where clothing seems to be much cheaper than in the UK, i am wondering if there are many events in cambridge where white tie is required (may balls?). i actually don't really know much about such things (i haven't even been to a black tie event yet/don't even possess a dinner jacket), i am just aware that tailcoats usually cost a fortune, so i'm wondering if i should try to get one a bit cheaper here...
    just get 2 black tie jackets + trousers, and a few suits, and a white tie one (I've never needed a white tie one, but just in case). IMHO Hong Kong is better - quality of suits are great, but China is good too. Apart from Boots lunch offers, the UK is a massive rip-off.

    I've needed my black tie for >5 times in a year... so definitely worth it.
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    Black Tie: a smart dress no shorter than knee length, white tie: full length dresses with white gloves, purse, hair up and a shawl. What you wear at formal varies from college to college. At our regular formals you can wear whatever you want underneath your gown, but we wear black tie for our superhalls (twice a term). Other colleges don't require a gown but do require smart dress. Formals usually aren't black tie unless they're superhalls.
    So if black tie is required relatively often then, do most girls take a couple of suitable dresses and just wear the same ones, or have a multitude of different dresses? I suppose it varies between people, but what would you recommend?
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    (Original post by Tamarin)
    So if black tie is required relatively often then, do most girls take a couple of suitable dresses and just wear the same ones, or have a multitude of different dresses? I suppose it varies between people, but what would you recommend?
    It depends on the girl. Some people are a) rich b) keen on shopping and fashion.

    Personally I can't see the point of coughing up around £100 for a dress that I'll only ever wear a couple of times. I went with one dress-up-able party dress and one black tie Monsoon dress bought in the January sales. I then bought a second satin black tie dress later on in the year, and I basically alternate between these two. I have a variety of accessories and shawls to change the appearance slightly.

    I have three full length bridesmaid dresses, but very rarely have chance to use them as they're a bit smarter than people usually go for black tie. So far I've only worn them at May Balls and college annual dinners.

    Also the frequency with which you'll go to black tie stuff very much depends on your college. Some colleges practically never hold black tie events and others do very frequently. My college falls into the latter category: AN average of once every second week I think. Just go to the thread in the 'Cambridge colleges and subjects' subforum attached to this one and find the thread devoted to your college and people from that college will reply and tell you what the situation is there.
    (Original post by Comp_Genius)
    Apart from Boots lunch offers, the UK is a massive rip-off.
    :rofl: Too true. Two of my three black tie dresses are from South Africa instead!
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    (Original post by Craghyrax)
    It depends on the girl. Some people are a) rich b) keen on shopping and fashion. [...]
    Thank you for the advice! I was starting to worry I'd need to go out and spend a fortune on dresses, which, as you say, are only ever going to be worn a few times :p:
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    (Original post by Tamarin)
    Thank you for the advice! I was starting to worry I'd need to go out and spend a fortune on dresses, which, as you say, are only ever going to be worn a few times :p:
    The best thing to do is just bring one or two and see how it goes. Cambridge is the same as anywhere else in the UK: it has shops. They have sales. If you find you need new dresses you can usually get by until you happen upon a good sale. I don't think anybody notices if you wear the same dress anyway. I certainly don't remember the other girls' wardrobes in my college! And for many of the occasions you have to wear your gown on top anyway which effectively hides it.
 
 
 
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