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On another thread, Mr Fritz mentioned 'only the English' sartorial anecodotes and oddities. I thought this would make a good thread in itself. What experience have you heard of quirky English/British attitudes to dress which would not occur elsewhere?

One that springs to mind is a university roommate of mine who joined the Royal Air Force (reserve) and had to wear a black bow tie to a mess dinner. He couldn't tie his own tie so wore a clip on, but was told this was unacceptable for 'an officer and a gentleman'. Not being able to tie a bow tie, we hit on an idea. I tied his tie for him, and then cut through the band at the back so that he could take it off and put it back on using a safety pin. Whereupon he foolishly revealed this idea to his fellow officers, and was again barred from the mess.

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On another thread, Mr Fritz mentioned 'only the English' sartorial anecodotes and oddities. I thought this would make a good thread in itself. What experience have you heard of quirky English/British attitudes to dress which would not occur elsewhere?

One that springs to mind is a university roommate of mine who joined the Royal Air Force (reserve) and had to wear a black bow tie to a mess dinner. He couldn't tie his own tie so wore a clip on, but was told this was unacceptable for 'an officer and a gentleman'. Not being able to tie a bow tie, we hit on an idea. I tied his tie for him, and then cut through the band at the back so that he could take it off and put it back on using a safety pin. Whereupon he foolishly revealed this idea to his fellow officers, and was again barred from the mess.

For all your pantomime script requirements, visit www.thepantomimeshop.co.uk
Why not just learn to tie it properly?
 

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The whole idea of sub fusc (spelling?) is rather odd to me, as is taking final exams in formal wear. I know this isn't everyday wear, and I don't know if it is only the British who practice it, but it's all I could think of.
 

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The whole idea of sub fusc (spelling?) is rather odd to me, as is taking final exams in formal wear. I know this isn't everyday wear, and I don't know if it is only the British who practice it, but it's all I could think of.
Sub fusc simply means the clothing worn under the gown, anytime a gown is worn.

Universities used to have such standards of what to wear under the gown in the United States as well, but they became more lax about it, and have not been enforcing any such rules since after WWII. Around this time the design of academic gowns in America changed, and unlike the traditional style, they now close right up to the top so as to hide whatever clothing you may be wearing under it. This produces a pretty good look no matter if you wear a t-shirt or tie, so the idea of sub fusc became not so important.

In England, gowns do not close, so care is taken to wear appropriate dress, known in Latin as sub fusc, under the gown.

If you look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_dress_of_Harvard_University
you will find a description of what should be worn under the gown at Harvard in 1892:

Black coats and waistcoats with white ties, and dark trousers will be worn under the gown. There must be no violation of this rule. The cap and gown will be retained in the evening, unless removed to facilitate dancing.
This is almost the same as modern sub fusc in England, except that wing collars were commonly worn then.
 
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