Tails to Tux

No comments

For centuries, tailcoats were considered the quintessential style for both formal and day-to-day attire.

Tailcoats, also referred to simply as tails, originated in the 18th Century to make horseback ridding more practical.  Designed so the front of the jacket is waist length, while the back has two long tails reaching to the knees, tails can either be single or double-breasted, and worn either open or closed.  Often made of wool or linen, tails were cut so that even when closed, a strip of the waistcoat could be seen beneath the jacket.

With the origin of the tuxedo came the death of the traditional tailcoat.  The invention of the tuxedo is credited to a man named Pierre Lorillard, a wealthy tobacco magnate of the 19th century.  Lorillard a member of high-society lived outside of New York City in a residential colony called Tuxedo Park.

While in England, Lorillard met with Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co., tailor to England’s Prince of Wales.   Inspired by the Prince’s distinctive sense of style, Lorillard enlisted a local tailor to make him a tailless jacket for the Tuxedo Club’s annual Autumn Ball.  Traditionally a white tie event, men were expected to dress in tails.

Despite his original intent, Lorillard wavered and decided against wearing the daring jacket to the ball.  Ultimately Lorillard’ son, Griswold Lorillard, known for being more rebellious, decided to wear the short jacket to the ball.  Griswold’s jacket was instantly admired as a fashion statement and grew enormous popularity among the guests.

In honor of his town, Griswold named the innovative jacket style, the Tuxedo.  Since its debut in 1886, the tuxedo has become the standard in men’s formal attire, leaving tails by the wayside.

Sonny BalaniTails to Tux
Read More

Black Tie Optional

No comments

Clark Gable, the 1950’s comedian and actor, once posed a question to his audience, “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?” While he probably wasn’t referring to the modern day black-tie optional event, it seems fitting.

Conventional standards for such an event would suggest either a tuxedo or a simple black suit. However, to make the proper decision, it is necessary to understand the differences between the two styles.

One of the defining characteristics of a tuxedo is that of satin detailing. The jacket lapels, pocket trim, and the out seam of the slacks are always trimmed in satin. Another nuance is that the waistband of the slacks should never be exposed, hence the need for a vest of cummerbund. The details are subtle, yet noticeably sophisticated.

And sophistication is what one ought to strive for at such events. Justifying the need for a tuxedo is simply recognizing the need for a timeless piece of tailored clothing for life’s special occasions. With a seemingly ambiguous dress code for formal events, one certainly doesn’t want to feel like that pair of brown shoes.

Sonny BalaniBlack Tie Optional
Read More