Soon afterwards he met Susan Senior, daughter of a director of the Cunard shipping line and granddaughter of Lord Joicey, a wealthy Northumbrian coal-owner. “I probably met her at a party,” he told an interviewer. “As long as you had a dinner jacket and a pair of white tails you had a good time in those days. There were a lot of parties and a lot of girls around.”
White tails? What was he, a band leader?
Now begins the more complex task. What is it that the Times obituary writer has managed to mis-transcribe?
I think it’s “white tie tails” that is meant, such tails, of course, being black.
The other explanation is that I’m too far out of that world – which I am – and so have missed that the with it drop the word tie in the phrase.