2016 marks the 130th anniversary of the greatest piece of formal menswear in America, the tuxedo. In recent years, a new hue has illuminated black tie apparel-- blue.
At its inception, the original tuxedo was black. It also featured large collars, heavy fabrics and was worn by men who often sported long waxed mustaches. Since then, a lot has changed.
In the first thirty-five or so years of the tuxedo, it came in one color. In the 1920s, men began to complain that their black tuxedos seemed to reflect ugly hues of grey or green under candlelight and especially under the new, bright electric lights. This necessitated the invention of a shade the was blacker than black, thus, midnight blue was brought into the world of men’s formal attire.
Blue looked black in night lighting and therefore seemed even more formal than the classic black that men were now shedding. As the roaring twenties gave way to the great depression, formal dress began to wane under the increased financial burden of the times. Upon the United States’ entrance into World War II, black tie attire all but disappeared. In the fifties, the formality of traditional evening dress experienced a resurgence.
The 1950s men wore bow ties and visited formal menswear shops to buy more than wedding tuxedos. Upon the dawning of the 1960s however, the counterculture movement overtook the traditional designs of all men’s evening garments. Oversized lapels, brightly colored jackets and comically large bow ties washed away the classic looks that decades of refinement had brought to men’s fashion. Through the 1970s, men’s clothing continued to appear uncoordinated and loud, despite not really saying anything.
The 1980s saw a return to the more conservative eveningwear of decades past. Men’s formal wear had been restored, save for one missing element, the dark blue color of tuxedos past. In the 90s, tuxedos continued to remain traditional. In the 2000s, the lines between styles of men’s formalwear continued to blur with some adopting traditional ties and dress shirts into their tuxedos, rather than bow ties and tuxedo shirts.
In recent years, the dark blues have made a return to the spotlight. Designers have rediscovered the classic color and have begun producing it again with their own twists. Midnight blue has returned to the realm of the tuxedo and, hopefully, it’s here to stay.
When you’re looking for a place to buy your traditional blue tuxedo or any other style, check out our inventory. We carry a large inventory of additional products like cufflinks, cummerbunds and tuxedo shoes for sale to ensure you look your best.