There is nothing that makes you look sharper than a well-fitted tuxedo, but where did tuxedos actually come from? America has a long track record of crazy fashion trends throughout history, such as Ed Hardy t-shirts, Von Dutch trucker hats, and those ridiculously baggy rave-ready jeans that regrettably made a resurgence in 2015. The horror is too much to comprehend. But then there is the tux.
No one can reasonably believe that the brilliant, classic look of the tuxedo was spawned from the same type of mind that created modern fashion atrocities and insane standards of beauty for women. Tuxedos are more than a fashion fad - they are 100% class and have a rich history. The origins of the tuxedo may actually surprise you, as they've been largely unchanged since their inception. After all, if it's good enough for James Bond, it's good enough for all of us. Read on to discover the birth and evolution of the tux.
Though many sources might tell you that tuxedos first appeared in 1887 in England as an alternative to the ultra-formal tailcoat, they were actually worn years prior in 1865. The very first tailless coat that was worn as evening wear was a blue silk smoking jacket and matching trousers created by Henry Poole & Co (who are still in business today). It was specially ordered by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) who wanted to look sharp for informal dinners. Previously, evening formal wear was a white tie, a white vest, and a tailcoat (otherwise known as a dress coat).
Poole never ended up seeing his creation rise to popularity overseas. He died in 1876 and left his business to his cousin, Samuel Cundey. Previously, the creation was dubbed a smoking jacket and tailored to be worn at Sandringham, Prince Edward's country estate.
The tuxedo gets its name from Tuxedo Park, a residential club of rustic mansions in New York that was founded in 1886 by the ultra-wealthy Lorillard family and their friends. The club had an annual autumn ball in which white-tie and tailcoats were mandatory. In 1885, James Brown Potter, a millionaire member of the club and friend of the Lorillards, was introduced to the idea of a less formal dinner jacket by the Prince of Wales during a trip to Britain. Potter wore this outfit to the gala, triggering its popularity and the naming of the jacket, "Tuxedo."
Though some say James Brown Potter was the one to bring the tux to New York, some argue it was actually Pierre Lorillard IV who conceived the idea on his own. In 1886, for that very same Tuxedo Club Autumn Ball, Lorillard allegedly told his tailor to create a tail-less black jacket inspired by the Prince of Wales. Where did he get this idea? No one can for sure, except maybe James Potter.