The History of the Tuxedo

As anyone who has spent time in Charleston in the Fall and Winter can attest, tuxedos have long been a staple of Western dress for everything from proms to weddings. Although assuming a prominent spot in many men’s wardrobes, most do not know the history of this special garment. Evolving from the “smoking jacket” of the 19th century, the tuxedo, or dinner jacket, was first introduced by the then Prince and later King of England, Edward VII with his tailless blue silk smoking jacket and matching trousers commissioned through renowned Savile Row tailors Henry Poole & Co. References to the semi-formal dress coat substitute first emerged in the United States in the Summer and Fall of 1866, with the most famous reference linked to the New York state countryside enclave for the Manhattan elite- Tuxedo Park, New York.


Deemed “black tie” in typical Western dress code, tuxedos are typically evening wear worn in black, midnight blue or white with a white dress shirt, black bow tie and waistcoat, cuff links, and black patent leather dress shoes. Early models were worn with 1, 2, or no buttons and a shawl collar faced in satin or silk. Peaked lapels became fashionable by the turn of the 20th century which is also when the single button became standard for the tuxedo. Notch lapels fluctuated in popularity until the 1980’s when they returned for good. Although formal etiquette champions like Emily Post would deem tuxedos too informal for weddings or social events earlier than 6 pm, contemporary dress differs greatly and allows for individuals a wide range of use for their tuxedos. Differences aside, they all agree on one thing- men should own their own tuxedos, never renting them.

With the Holiday season quickly approaching, stop by the #CornerofKingandSociety to order and get fitted for your tuxedo before it is too late! 

M. Dumas & Sons Heritage Brands Featuring

At M. Dumas & Sons, we pride ourselves on being a part of the heritage of Charleston, SC. Throughout our 101-year history, we have been intimately involved in the dressing of the men of this town from Navy service members and Shipyard workers to generations of grandfathers, fathers, and sons, all have proudly been dressed in Dumas. Heritage is something we often look for when introducing brands to our customers, and few brands have the heritage of Barbour. Beginning in 1894, in the Market Place in South Shields, England, John Barbour started the company with a focus on providing the best jackets for any type of outdoorsman. Now on its 5th generation of Family ownership, Barbour is headquartered in Simonside, South Shields, where it still produces its classic wax jackets by hand in the Simonside based factory.

Famous for its quality and durability, Barbour has developed a loyal following all over the globe most notably including the Royal Family who have awarded Royal Warrants to Barbour on three separate occasions ( 1974- HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, 1982- Her Majesty the Queen, 1987- HRH the Prince of Wales). While enjoyed by the Royal Family, Barbour has also managed to become a cultural fashion icon through its wardrobing of Daniel Craig in the James Bond film Skyfall, as well as the iconic images of Steven McQueen wearing his wax A7 jacket during the International 6 Day Trials in East Germany in 1964.

We are proud to partner with such storied brands like Barbour, and look forward to having their heritage entwined with ours for years to come! Stop by the Corner of King and Society and let us introduce you to the one jacket you will have for the rest of your life before it becomes a family heirloom and develops a heritage all of its own!