The Evolution of the Tuxedo
A tuxedo is one of the most formal clothing worn on any occasion, and is essentially a full-length suit that have a jacket and trousers for a groom to wear at a wedding or reception. Black tie is generally a semi-formal Western attire code for evening social events, stemming from British and American traditions for formal attire at evening functions. In British English, however, the term for the dress code is more often referred to as the dinner jacket or dinner suit, for the main dress item. The term ‘tuxedo’ is also used, less commonly, for the tailcoat which is worn very close to the torso, and is worn in some cases with a jacket or a dinner jacket (but not always). The term tuxedo, while appropriate for most occasions, is somewhat of an informal term given to any black tie event, and is often used by modern males with less formal attire for casual get-togethers.
Historically, tuxedos were worn more for grand receptions than for weddings and other social functions. It was a sign of wealth and prestige for upper-class males to attend such ceremonies, where they were seen as equals to their wives or partners. Tuxedos were also worn in more traditional western churches, where attending church services could be seen as a more formal way of showing respect to God. In the United States, however, black tie trousers became more popular as a style for black tie weddings and were also worn in more upscale churches. This trend, which began later in the twentieth century, began because of a desire for a less formal approach to social occasions. However, changing cultural norms and greater freedom for individualism soon made men more comfortable wearing tuxedos, even in semi-formals.
Today, it is not necessary for a man to wear a tuxedo to earn a black tie dress shirt. This is not true with all tuxedo designs, but it is the case with many. There are now designs that incorporate different styling, including tails, hems, and wing tips. A man may choose to wear a plain tuxedo, or he may choose a tailored design, including one that includes the collars, cuffs, and side buttons of the traditional design. Men can choose to wear a white shirt instead of a black one; however, they should avoid wearing white shirts that have yellow or orange coloration on the collar. White shirts are often referred to as “silent tuxedos” by men who do not want to draw too much attention to their accessories.