The Tuxedo Series Part III: Changes and The Return to Formality

As one of the premier destinations for tuxedos in Philadelphia and across the region, we’re deeply invested in the formal styles that men choose to wear in this decade. If you look at men’s fashion from decade to decade, you’ll notice severe changes. It was only a decade ago that men wore their hair longer, donning baggy jeans and fitted baseball caps. Of course, now those styles seem out of place. The tuxedo, however timeless, has not been without its changes.
Early Revival

Coming out of WWII and the Korean War, men in the fifties began to wear tuxedos again. Whereas they had once been considered the necessary dress for a night out on the town or a dinner party, suits took their place in many of those events. The tuxedo became reserved for more special occasions. In the 60’s John F. Kennedy became the last president (except for Ronald Reagan) to wear a tuxedo to the inaugural ball.


The Mad Men Era

As the James Bond films went on throughout the ’60s to influence men’s formal dress, peak lapels grew wider and fabrics grew thinner. During the disco era of the 1970s the tuxedo had become a mess of styles and colors, a shadow of its original concept. During that decade men would routinely wear pastel-colored, oversized peak-collar, bell-bottom tuxedos with oversized, suede bow ties.


The End Of The 20th Century

The ’80s saw a return to the more conservative looks of the fifties. Tuxedos yet again sported sensible lapels, bow ties returned to their normal size and to the dismay of some, pleats made an appearance. In the ’90s some exotic touches like cravats, ascots and silk scarves were worn on the fringe of fashion but the most common permutation of the tuxedo was the double-breasted version.


The Internet Era

From the late ’90s to the 2010s the lines of men’s formalwear began to blur as some chose to incorporate elements from the casual business suit into black-tie attire. Notch lapels and long ties were commonly seen on Oscar night formalwear; lay-down collars and dress shirts were seen more often inside the tuxedo.


In the past several years, men have again returned to the more classic approach. The double-breasted tuxedo and notch lapels have all but disappeared from formal dress. Blue hues have become more commonplace while white and crimson are slowly growing in popularity.


To read the first part of our tuxedo series, click here.


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