Men’s formal wear, also known as “black tie” attire, has a rich and interesting history. From its origins in the 19th century to its modern-day adaptations, formal wear has evolved into a timeless and classic style that is still popular today. In this blog post, we will explore the origins of men’s formal wear, its evolution throughout history, and the different styles of formal wear that are popular today.
The Origins of Men’s Formal Wear
The origins of men’s formal wear can be traced back to the early 19th century. During this time, the upper class in Europe and America began to wear formal attire for evening events. This attire was usually made from dark colors and included a tailcoat, waistcoat, and trousers.
One of the earliest forms of formal wear was the tailcoat, which was popular in the 1800s. This coat was characterized by a long tail in the back, which was meant to be worn over trousers. The waistcoat was also an important part of formal wear during this time, as it provided an extra layer of warmth and style.
As the 19th century progressed, formal wear began to evolve. The tailcoat was eventually replaced by the tuxedo, which was a shorter jacket with a shawl collar. This new style of formal wear was popularized by the Prince of Wales, who wore it to an event in 1886. The tuxedo quickly became the standard for formal wear and remains popular to this day.
Evolution of Men’s Formal Wear
The early 20th century saw a significant evolution in men’s formal wear. The tuxedo remained popular, but new styles began to emerge. The “white tie” attire, also known as the “full dress” or “evening dress,” became popular for formal events. This attire was characterized by a black tailcoat, black trousers, and a white waistcoat and tie.
During the 1920s and 1930s, men’s formal wear became more streamlined and minimalist. The tuxedo jacket became shorter, and the waistcoat was often eliminated. This new style of formal wear was popularized by Hollywood stars such as Cary Grant and Fred Astaire.
In the 1940s, formal wear began to change again. The war had a significant impact on men’s clothing, and formal wear was no exception. With materials and resources in short supply, men’s formal wear became simpler and more understated. The tuxedo was often made from wool or other materials, and the lapels were narrower than in previous decades.
The 1950s and 1960s saw a return to more formal and elaborate styles. The tuxedo became more ornate, with wider lapels and more elaborate fabrics. The “black tie” attire remained popular for formal events, but new styles of formal wear also emerged. The “white dinner jacket,” a variation of the tuxedo, became popular for summer events.
In the 1970s and 1980s, formal wear became more relaxed and casual. The tuxedo was often worn with a colorful bow tie and cummerbund, and the lapels became wider again. In the 1990s, formal wear became more minimalist and understated once again. The tuxedo was often made from simple black wool, and the lapels were narrow.
Styles of Men’s Formal Wear Today
Today, men’s formal wear is still popular for a variety of events. The “black tie” attire is still the standard for formal events, but new styles have also emerged. The “semi-formal” attire, also known as “cocktail attire,” is popular for events that are less formal than black tie events.
The tuxedo remains the most popular style of formal wear, but there are now many variations of the classic tuxedo. For example, the “midnight blue” tuxedo is a popular alternative to the traditional black tuxedo. This tuxedo is characterized by a dark blue color and is often worn with a black bow tie and black shoes.
Another popular style of formal wear is the “white dinner jacket.” This jacket is a variation of the tuxedo and is often worn for summer events. The white dinner jacket is characterized by a white color and is usually worn with black trousers and a black bow tie.
In recent years, there has been a trend towards more casual formal wear. For example, some men now wear a simple suit and tie for formal events, rather than a tuxedo. This style of formal wear is often referred to as “business formal” or “office formal.”
In addition to traditional formal wear, there are also now many variations of formal wear for different types of events. For example, “beach formal” attire is popular for beach weddings and events, and “country club formal” attire is popular for events held at golf courses and country clubs.
Men’s formal wear has a rich and interesting history, dating back to the early 19th century. From the tailcoat to the tuxedo, formal wear has evolved significantly over the years. Today, formal wear is still popular for a variety of events, including weddings, galas, and other formal occasions. While the classic tuxedo remains the most popular style of formal wear, there are now many variations of formal wear available to suit different types of events and personal styles. Whether you prefer a traditional tuxedo or a more casual style of formal wear, there is a style of formal wear that is sure to suit your needs and preferences.