Whether you’re a groom, or shopping for the groom, it’s important to know all about the classic tuxedo. For this topic, we’re excited to introduce a guest in the house- James Williams Sartorial! Hot on the heels of our blog series for grooms (see here for the first installment), we’re honored to host an expert in men’s fashion. Not only does Mr. Williams give you all the necessary advice for dressing like James Bond, he provides insight into the history of the pieces that make our Downton Abbey loving hearts go pitter-patter! Without further ado, we are pleased to present, James M. Williams Sartorial:
The Classic Tuxedo
The history of the tuxedo date back to 1860s London. At the time, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) wanted a slightly modified garment -one that was shorter, without a tail, to be worn at informal dinners. His tailor cut the garment that became a royal evening coat known as the dinner jacket.
The tuxedo has become a pillar of sartorial elegance lasting well over 100 years. There are subtle details that can be adjusted to preference, though the goal remains “understated simplicity.” A Vest or Waistcoat is an optional piece and could complete an elegant 3-piece ensemble.
The Fit of the tuxedo is of top importance. An inexpensive tuxedo can be tailored well, and may evoke the appearance of an expensive garment. It should be tailored to fit in the chest and stomach. Taped sleeves can also reveal a striking silhouette. The coat sleeves should fall at the wrist bone while the Dinner Shirt sleeves should land a ½ inch or ¾ inch lower — near to the base of the thumb. A good way to tell if a Coat & Shirt fit well is how this area sits. There is personal preference as to how much is shown as some prefer slight visibility of their cufflinks.
Tuxedo pants are characterized by having a Satin stripe along the outseam. Subtle variations and personal style options for pants could include: pleats, satin waistband, side pull tabs or side adjustment buttons, bottom cuffs.
The Dinner Shirt pairs with your tuxedo and is different from a standard suit shirt. It may have classic or modern variations. A classic dinner shirt may have a wing-tip collar, front-bib, accordion pleats, French cuffs, and holes for shirt studs. Modern dinner shirts may forgo the studs and accordion pleats while opting for a small spread collar and fashionable colored buttons. (above)
The classic shoe for a tuxedo ensemble is a black whole cut Oxford in patent leather. Some gentleman opt for patent leather Loafers or velvet Loafers.
The Bow Tie is the classic and traditional neckwear for the tuxedo. It is usually crafted in either a black Satin or Grosgrain fabric.
Some gents do however, opt for a long black necktie and that is totally okay.
The finishing touch on a Tuxedo is the addition of the Pocket Square. A variety of folds are chosen such as: the square fold (above), three stairs, puff, or a single point fold.