Should one adopt local dress codes when in different areas?

Say you’re an American in Japan for a week. Should you button the bottom button? What about England? Should you avoid ties that might reflect a certain university? Or stay absolutely away from bluchers in a suit? Wear a guayabera instead of a suit at a South American formal function?

Just curious how the etiquette works when traveling abroad.

When is it required to wear a tie?

When I wear a suit, I try to get away without wearing a tie as much as possible. It’s not that I hate wearing ties, but I guess, in this casually-dressed world, it seems like a step too high. I do like using a pocket square instead when I can.

I know there are times where the tie is a requirement, but where’s the line drawn? I know on gigs, I can get away with it, especially if I am wearing a square. I really dislike wearing a tie when playing a gig; it seems too restrictive (now think about how I feel when I have to wear a tux for a gig!). Is it too much if I wear a double breasted suit without a tie?

All-black attire

I’ve asked before, but may have missed the answer by Antonio last year.

Concert season in Florida is getting started up again, and some of my old questions are returning. Here’s one particular one:

When musicians play in a pit orchestra for a musical (or in salsa bands or other groups that want a certain uniformity), the general required dress is all black. In a pit orchestra, whether in the pit or on-stage, the idea is to be invisible and not draw attention away from the cast.

I would, however, like to add some style to this. Most guys show up looking sloppy in faded black shirts and perhaps something like tuxedo pants. Last night, I wore my charcoal suit, which has very small pinstripes that I can’t even see on it from more than five feet away, and accented it with a pocket square. Tonight, I plan to wear black trousers with the black shirt, and a light grey sports jacket, which I will take off when I get to the theater. When playing an instrument, I try not to wear a tie if I’m allowed to get away with it, so I don’t feel as restricted while playing, especially if I’m playing a brass instrument.

Are there other ideas I could try to break the monotony? Another thing to point out, is that with musicals, the run can be days on end, and I want to try to steer clear of wearing the same exact thing every day.

What are summer colors for jackets?

I have been having a very hard time finding a decent cotton or linen jacket that is minimally lined and has the style that works for me. I finally found one on eBay–a seersucker jacket, that happens to be light blue. I’m olive skinned, dark hair, blue eyes. Is this a color that will work for me? I tend to look towards darker colors, and imagine that color would go better for a blonde guy.

I guess, the question is, what colors should I be looking at for summer jackets? I only have two sports jackets right now; both are tweed, with one being a dark grey and the other being a light grey.

Proper fit for off-the-rack jeans?

When buying off-the-rack jeans, like Levi’s, for example, is it better to go with slightly too short or slightly too long? Since most go in only even inch measurements, I really should be the one in the middle. If it’s too short, I just show a little bit of socks while walking. If it’s too long, there’s a bunching of the legs at the ankle.