As one of the premier men’s formalwear tailors in Philadelphia, we’ve seen more than a few styles come and go. Every single style is up to fashion. While some garments are timeless, most are subject to their adherence to standards of the time. Suits and tuxedos, just like everything else, have undergone their fair share of changes in the time they’ve existed in men’s wardrobes.
Roaring Into The Twenties And Thirties
At the turn of the 20th century, tuxedos were sold primarily in two colors: black and gray. Leading up to WWI, gray achieved its peak in popularity. The lighter hue was all but forgotten after the war ended and, in its place, the color blue stepped in.
Due to the fabric processes and technology of the time, men complained that under the bright electric lights that were recently introduced, their their black tuxedos appeared ugly shades of green. Men also complained that the heavy black fabric was unbearable in the heat of the summer. To combat the issues, midnight blue was introduced during the 1920s and rose to prominence in the 1930s.
Midnight blue appeared ‘blacker than black’ under electric lighting and was easier to wear in the sun. By 1939, tailors were selling as many blue tuxedos as they were black ones. The era of midnight blue reigned until the U.S.’s entrance into WWII, when it then faded as a style of a bygone era.
Lost And Found
During WWII, the tuxedo was all but forgotten. Most men were in military dress for formal events; others would wear a suit and still stand out. In the 1950s, the tuxedo returned to its previous glory, save for missing one element: its variant hue. Men’s formalwear was refined in the 50s; pant lengths were more reasonable and men wore a jacket – or at least, a collar – wherever they went.
In the past decade, blue has returned to the tuxedos in Philadelphia and across the world. World-famous actors now sport royal blue on the red carpet and the sartorially educated wear midnight blue to their black tie events.
Check back in with us for the third part of the series: the modern tuxedo.