The ‘black tie’ dinner suit is likely to be the only element of dress wear that the average gentleman owns rather than hire. The dinner jacket is also known to the French, Germans and Italians as the smoking jacket, both these names reflect the jacket’s early uses. To the Americans, it is known as the tuxedo. An evening version of the lounge suit – the dress lounge – was introduced in the 1880’s, this was made of the same black material as the tailcoat and had a roll collar with a satin lapel. It was the Victorian gentleman’s answer to less formal attire when relaxing at his club or country house weekends.
There are many different ideas of when the dress lounge became the dinner suit. In England, the credit goes to the future Edward VII, the Prince of Wales, for wearing one in Monte Carlo after growing tired of wearing stiff starch attire at the gaming tables. In America, it was tobacco tycoon Griswold Lorillard who in October 1886 bravely attended Tuxedo Park Club Autumn Ball outside New York wearing a short black jacket rather than tails. The initial shock was over turned when fellow members went to the tailors and ordered similar jackets.
We have a wide variety of bow ties and handkerchiefs, all have matching cummerbunds.