With the new year in full swing and award season upon us, it inevitably leads me to take stock—not just of the year that was, but also my closet. We begin to ponder all of the available options for evening wear. Black tie optional? Creative black tie? White tie?? What does this all mean? And more importantly—how can anyone possibly choose what to wear? To get a better understanding, it would help to understand its origins and influencers.