There is nothing quite like a well-made tuxedo. This ultimate show of class ensures that the wearer is the best-dressed guy in the room, joining the ranks of Jay Gatsby, James Bond and red-carpet stars.
Tuxedos weren’t always the pinnacle of formalwear, though. In fact, tailcoats and full morning dress were the most common ways for a gentleman to dress up before the late 19th century when more casual, modern tuxedos were introduced. Not surprisingly, the tuxedo as we know it today originated with the British Royal Family.
In 1865, Edward VII (then the Prince of Wales) removed the tails from his tailcoat and introduced the “dinner jacket”—something that could be worn at the dinner table and was less formal than tails.
In 1886, The Prince of Wales sent James Brown Potter (an American millionaire) to be fitted for his new jacket style. Potter debuted the look at the Autumn Ball in Tuxedo Park, New York. This is where the look got its name.
Once the tux was introduced to America, it took off in the early twentieth century. Black accessories and a peak lapel also gained popularity. During WWI, however, the popularity of tuxedos dropped—not surprisingly, since the country was at war. Once the war ended, black-tie apparel made a comeback in the 1930s. Midnight blue tuxedos were all the rage back then, as were double-breasted jackets.
During WWII, suits became more popular than tuxedos as the nation faced war once again, but by the 1950s, it was time to let loose again. Tuxedos made another comeback—this time with unique patterns and colors. Black tie surpassed white tie in popularity and notch lapels rose in popularity.
In the 1970s, tux style took a disco turn. Large bow ties and lapels, loud colors and patterns and bell-bottom style pants hit the scene.
Tuxedo styles returned to more classic look during the 1980s, and by the 2000s business-casual became more popular than tuxes. Shiny black suits, colored shirts and coordinating accessories were common.
Now, the tuxedo is back and better than (almost) ever! Midnight blue gains popularity again and looks return to the more traditional threads worn in the 30s. Shawl and peak lapels make a comeback.
How do you like your tux style? Late 2000s monochrome or classic 1930s midnight blue? Either way, you can’t go wrong with a well-tailored and accessorized tuxedo for a big night out. It’s an elegant look that will stand the test of time.
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