Definition: A Man’s dinner jacket / a suit of formal evening clothes
Tuxedos come in many different forms, starting from the classic black jacket going through to the white jacket with black lapels. But where did this style come from?
It all started in the 19th Century by a tobacco manufacturer called Pierre Lorillard, who lived with his family in a residential colony called Tuxedo Park. Over time Pierre managed to turn this colony into one of the finest elite hunting and fishing destinations for the wealthy. With his team, he began to construct several luxurious homes throughout the area and in a matter of time the Tuxedo Park grew in popularity with the rich and famous, residents eventually founded their own social club called The Tuxedo Club.
With the club formed Pierre in October 1886 was about to host his very first annual Autumn Ball at the Tuxedo Club. Traditionally men would have worn the long tailcoat jacket with a white tie, which he got from his tailor. This jacket was not known for being very practical and so he ordered his tailor to make a tailless black jacket like the ‘Smoking Jacket’, but at the last minute he backed out and went for the traditionally long tail jacket. It was his son Griswold who wore the newly founded tux at the ball.
At the time this was a very bold move, but a move that was accepted, it attracted quite a bit of attention, but in 1889, gentlemen wearing tuxedos were admitted to the Dress Circle of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, making this a trend and establishing the tradition & style.
Today, the tuxedo is still very much being worn at weddings, formal business parties and even proms. The overall style has not changed, but the tux has undergone a few tweaks, from a range of colours, fabrics, pocket and button location.
But we will never forget Pierre’s vision for a midnight blue tuxedo, exactly the way he imaged it, which today is the symbol of true elegance and style.
We spoke to Campbell Carey at Huntsman Tailors on Savile Row to get his thoughts on the Tuxedo and its future.
Head Cutter – Campbell Carey
What are your thoughts on the Tuxedo?
A tuxedo is a must have for every gentleman, as a timeless piece that will last you a lifetime. I always recommend that you keep the tailoring classic and don’t try too hard to make it your own. Less is more.
How many tuxedos should you have?
One is enough, but you can have more if you want. I have had clients ask for a velvet jacket, but mid-night blue or black is the colour to go for because it will see you through most events and functions. If you did want another one, a white tuxedo is a must, it really makes a statement where ever you are.
How long should a Tuxedo last?
For most individuals, the tuxedo is a suite that you wear on the odd occasion, and for them, it should last for many years. If you attend events and functions frequently then it is best to have a few tuxedos.
What is the best material for a Tuxedo?
Black Barathea– This fabric has a type of weave that soaks up a lot of light, giving it a matte finish, but it is very hard-wearing.
How much should you spend on a Tuxedo?
For a truly special tuxedo starting from £6,500 upwards. It really depends on want fabric and cut the client wants.
What do your clients look for in a Tuxedo?
There is no one answer. Each client has their own requirement as there are so many options, but at the end of the day, as I have said the classic look is the best and timeless.
How many buttons on the jacket?
What is the most unusual request from one of your clients?
I recently made a suite in all white silk and Ivory which was really eye-catching.
What is the tailoring time for a Tuxedo?
About 10-12 weeks, but this is depending on what the clients are looking for but on average ten to twelve weeks.
How long have you been a tailor?
Over 20 years. I started as an apprentice and worked up the ranks and now I am the Head Cutter at Huntsman.
What is your favourite garment?
A great coat in 32oz green twill, with Tattersall check lining.
What is your cloth of your dreams?
Golden Bale Super 100 twill overcoating
What advice would you give to individuals who want to build their Tuxedo collection or wanted to get their first bespoke Tuxedo?
If they already own a Tuxedo, then think outside the box, maybe a white tux with black trousers guaranteed to make you feel special. For those individuals who have not yet had the opportunity to get a bespoke suit, one rule – go for the classic look.
Looking to the future, are you seeing the next generation of wealthy individuals coming to see you for bespoke suits and Tuxedos?
I am pleased to say in short, yes. With the success of The Kingsman films, in which we provided the suits amongst other things, I get individuals who have seen the film come in with either a picture or description of what they want. Majority of my clients know what they want and have their finger on the pulse in terms of fashion. With the use of social media and The Kingsman films, we are building great relationships with the next wave of wealthy individuals.