This post originally appeared at my parenting blog The Gift of Good Manners. I am cross posting some of my favorite content from that blog here at the Etiquette Daily periodically. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed writing them.
It’s Prom time again. The talk is always about the gowns – color, style, borrowed, new. If you’re a girl it’s all about what you’re going to wear. How about the guys? They also take care in figuring out what they will wear. Going with my sons to rent their tuxedos for the prom was a memorable event. One of the boys received a swatch of material from his date. She was making her own red dress and she was hoping Dan would coordinate his cummerbund with her gown. Ruffled shirts, suspenders, cuff links, colored tuxedo or shirt, shoes – so many choices.
And where on earth did the tuxedo come from anyway? Where did the craze start? Who created this getup, and why do guys still wear it to formal events?
Tuxedos undoubtedly got their name from Tuxedo Park, the first planned residential community in New York. Emily Post’s father was the architect, and although she did not actually give the tuxedo it’s name, she did grow up spending her summers at Tuxedo Park.
The story has it that one evening Griswold Lorillard, son of the founder of Tuxedo Park, came up with the idea to wear a short black jacket without tails. The new fashion was a hit. When male guests would come and stay with families in Tuxedo Park, they were intrigued by the jackets the men wore and would return to places such as New York City and ask their tailors to make them a jacket “like the ones worn in Tuxedo.” Ironically, the tuxedo was originally considered an informal dinner jacket (because of its short tails), and yet now it is the most formal attire for men to wear.
“What shall I wear?” remains a question for all the teens heading for a prom. For boys and girls choosing just the right clothes for prom night is exciting but can be nerve wracking. Offer support and opinions, but don’t be upset if your choice isn’t the final one. The most important thing is for your son or daughter to feel comfortable and to know that they look the best they can for this once in a lifetime event!