When invited to a formal event, men are often expected to wear a tuxedo. Why is that the case? How did the tuxedo wind up representing the pinnacle of formal wear, at least for men? The history of this garment is an interesting one, and it has led us to a point where tuxedo rentals are big business anytime a formal event is on the horizon.
Over 150 Years Old
The history of tuxedos is not a short story. Many trace the birth of the tuxedo back to 1865, giving credit for its creation to the Prince of Wales, Edward VII. At the time, this garment was actually considered less formal than the tailcoat, which would have been the formal item of choice. Right from the start, the color combination of a black jacket with white accessories took hold and became the popular pick.
It didn’t take long for the tuxedo to make its way across the Atlantic and into the United States. This event is said to have taken place in 1886 when an American millionaire named James Brown Potter met Edward VII in Britain. When Potter returned home with his jacket, he wore it to a country club event which just so happened to be held in Tuxedo Park, New York. This is where the name of the jacket took hold, and the rest is history. It took a bit longer before the jacket was considered an acceptable piece of formal wear, but that transition had been completed by early in the 20th century.
After the first World War, black tie events returned to popularity and more and more men were wearing tuxedos. However, it was not only black jackets at this point in time, as a midnight blue shade had become popular. White jackets even came into fashion for a time, as creativity was making its way into formal wear in a way that would not have been seen previously.
An Ever-Changing Market
There is nothing permanent in the world of fashion, and that is certainly true when it comes to tuxedos. Throughout its history, the tuxedo has been evolving as time goes by, with various colors, styles, materials, and more having their day in the sun. Tuxedo wearers have long been looking for new and creative ways to inject their own personal taste and style into the garment.
The State of the Tuxedo
Today, tuxedos are largely returning back to their original look. Clean, traditional black-tie has become quite popular with younger men today, thanks in large part to the availability of quality, well-fitting tuxes. It is no longer difficult to track down a good tux, and you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to acquire one either. While the classic tux look is currently in style, it is a safe bet that something new will come along before long. The tuxedo as an idea seems to be here to stay, but it will go through many more adaptations and evolutions in the years to come.