How guys got started wearing a 'penguin suit'
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 6:01 PM
With our son proposing to his lovely girlfriend this past weekend, it looks like I’m gonna be both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom all in one year!
My oldest sister, who has two sons, has always said that the mother of the groom is to “wear beige, stand to one side and keep quiet.”
I don’t look good in beige so I won’t be wearing that color. I do know how to stand to one side and keep my mouth shut, but that doesn’t mean that I will! HAHA!
It will be a second marriage for both my son and his fiancee so they aren’t planning anything big. Simple is their keyword.
The daughter is wanting a pretty formal wedding with tuxedos and all that attire.
While we think of tuxedos as formal wear, the first tuxedos were thought of as inappropriate for formal occasions and scandalous attire.
A formal costume for any man had to include black tie and tails. A tailless coat, like a tuxedo jacket, was too short for a man to wear because the seat of his pants could have been seen. I guess it would have been the same as women’s ankles being visible.
After doing some research, I found that one of the first instances of a gentleman appearing with a tailless coat was Prince Edward VII who ordered the tails cut off his coat during a visit to India because of the heat in the 1870s or so.
Pierre Lorillard IV, a New Yorker from Tuxedo Park (ah, the plot thickens), had several black jackets cut in the form of the English hunting jackets.
At the last minute, during a very hot summer in 1886, Pierre’s son and several of his friends thought they would scandalize Manhattan by wearing the tailless black dinner jackets.
Instead of causing an uproar, it made men stop and re-think their clothing choices especially when attending an extremely hot formal occasion with no central cooling systems.
And so the act of rebellion, that really amounted to very little scandal, started a multi-billion dollar industry.
Weddings make up about 80 percent of tuxedo sales and rentals today, followed by proms.
Modern tuxes usually include a cummerbund, which is a length of cloth fastened just above the man’s waist.
The cummerbund is based on a male Hindu accessory that wraps a little lower on a Hindu suit. For modesty sake, of course. Somehow this accessory was westernized and became a cummerbund.
By the by, the word tuxedo can be traced to the Algonquian Indians who once lived in Manhattan and the Tuxedo Park area.
The chief of the Algonquians was called tauk-seet which meant wolf. The first American colonists took that word as the name of the area which appears on a 1765 land survey as Tucksito.
By the 1800s, the land was already known as Tuxedo on all records.
So are men in tuxedos just wolves in formal clothing?
Regina Crutcher is a reporter for the Lamesa Press-Reporter.