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Front Page » June 7, 2007 » Bridal Focus » Tuxedo Time
Published 3,047 days ago

Tuxedo Time

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Jann Guptill stands by one of the tuxedos she offers for rent in her store, Mrs. Guppy's at 42 East Main in Price.

It's time to get married. And for guys that means donning something they hardly ever wear.

A tuxedo.

Some men love; many hate it. Most ask how that tradtion of wearing a "monkey suit" ever came to be. How did this thing in a traditional black and white form ever get to be the dress for weddings?

The tuxedo has a long and distinguished history. While no one knows for sure, there are several theories about how tuxedos came to be. However most experts credit a man named Pierre Lorillard IV as the person who came up with the idea.

Pierre Lorillard was a wealthy tobacco merchant in the 1800's.He lived near New York City in a place called Tuxedo Park.

The land was originally called P'tauk-seet-tough, named after the tribal chief and meaning "home of the bear." The town's founders kept the phonetics of the name and christened the area Tuxedo Park.

The family socialized with the highest sociatel classes and Pierre Lorillard helped establish Tuxedo Park as an outdoors destination for the elite.

Many large and elegant homes were constructed in a walled area for high class families. Tuxedo Park evolved into a ritzy area that included many of the country's rich and well known people.

With that growth an extravagant social scene soon followed.

Consequently Tuxedo Park's residents established their own social circle called the Tuxedo Club.

The club's first Autumn Ball was held in the fall of 1886. At the time, men's formal wear consisted of a long tailcoat and white tie. Pierre Lorillard, however, decided that something should be different for the very rich community. He commissioned a modified "tailless" black jacket to wear to the ball.He may have been trying to copy what the tailor to England's Prince of Wales had done to some jackets he had seen. It may also be that he looked at the red formal fox hunting jackets of the time and decided that would be a better style for the events of the time. Regardless of what he thought the departure from tradition was huge. However, before wearing one to the ball, he changed his mind. But his son, probably a rebel like many teenagers are in every age, along with several of his friends, did wear the short jacket to the autumn affair. Despite the departure, the short jacket was instantly admired as a striking fashion statement rather than ridiculed as a poor choice of clothing.

Pierre Lorillard's short jacket, worn by his son and friends, was soon duplicated. The next year at the Dress Circle of New York's Metropolitan Opera, men were let into the event wearing the short jackets and the success of this new fashion was confirmed. The "tuxedo," so named after the town of its founding, thus went from what some at the time called a fad to what is today timeless classic dress for men.

The tuxedo is a standard in American formal wear. Today it is a common symbol of celebration for men of any and all levels of society. There are few places it is not accepted as the standard attire for formal affairs and almost always the choice for weddings, galas, balls, formals, and high school proms.

So now that the history of the tuxedo is clear, what really is a tuxedo?

Often the term tuxedo is used to refer to all mens formal wear. But technically it isn't true. And like a car, a tuxedo can come with a lot of options.

However the language of the tuxedo business can be confusing. For many people a rental or sales shop can throw out a lot of terms the average person won't understand.

So before one goes into a formal wear shop, they need to take some time to learn some of the terms they may hear when they get there. cess.

Here are some of those categories and labels.

Loni Giraud shows off some tuxedos to some young men at Giraud Rentals located at 172 South and 100 East in Price.

Having to do with suits.

•Cutaway or stroller. For formal or daytime weddings, the groom wears the cutaway /morning coat, which tapers from the front waist button to a long, wide back tail. The cutaway jacket is either black or grey and is worn with matching striped trousers.

•Dinner jacket. A white or ivory jacket with black formal trousers is an ideal option in spring and summer months or year-round in warmer climates.

•Tuxedo. A single or double breasted jacket with matching trousers for formal or semi-formal evening events.

•White tie. This is a classic choice for an ultra formal evening event. The tailcoat jacket is short in front with two long black tails. A white pique wing collar shirt, vest and tie are also worn.

What about lapels.

Tuxedo jackets come with three basic lapel styles. Some are more flattering to certain body types. Choosing the lapel that is right for the person who will wear it is a matter of taste.

•Notch. A triangle indention is cut where the lapel joins the collar.

•Peak. A broad V-shaped lapel that points up and out just below the collar line.

•Shawl. A smooth, rounded lapel.

The right shirt to wear.

The main difference between shirt styles is in the collar.

•Band collar. A collar that stands up around the neck and above the buttons. This is the most contemporary style tuxedo shirt.

•Wing Collar. Similar to the band collar but the two turned down points in front give the appearance of a spread collar.

•Spread Collar. Similar to a man's standard button front shirt, it folds over and around the neck with a wide division between points in front.

The accessories make the whole thing compete.

•Ascot. A wide necktie that is looped over and held in place beneath the chin with a tie tack or stick pin.

•Bow tie. A short tie shaped like a bow that can be worn with a wing or spread collar. A bow tie adjusts to fit any neck size and are available in a variety of colors to match vests and cummerbunds.

•Cuff links. Decorative jewelry, used to close French cuffs.

•Cummerbunds. A silk or satin sash as an alternative to a vest, to be worn at the waist and covering the waistband. A cummerbund should be worn with the pleats facing upward.

•Euro tie. A long knotted square bottom neck tie worn with a wing or spread collar shirt.

•Four-in-hand tie. A standard long knotted necktie worn with a spread collar. Most men wear a four-in-hand tie to work daily.

•Studs. Jewelry similar to cuff links that are used to close the front of a tuxedo shirt.

•Vest. A vest is worn in place of a cummerbund to cover the waistband. A vest is usually worn with a coordinating bow tie. A vest comes in a full back, half back and open back.

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