History: Setting the Precedent


Fashion fades, style is forever.

Yves St. Laurent 

It is impossible for evening wear to be fully appreciated or properly executed without being familiar with its history.  Until a man understands evening wearís original intention and aesthetic logic, he is likely doomed to a formal wardrobe that fails to meet its most fundamental objectives.  Young men in particular tend to presume that simply having worn a suit intrinsically qualifies them to assemble a proper formal ensemble but this is as naive as believing that writing a high-school essay qualifies a person to author a novel.


A familiarity with the dinner jacketís background is particularly important for men who wish to improvise on black tie's century-old traditions because only an educated dresser can discern between fleeting fads and timeless style.  The following pages provide just such an education, conveniently condensed to the most relevant details and generously embellished with period illustrations. 


You may be surprised to find that unlike its somber apparel, evening wearís history is a colorful one encompassing depression and prosperity, aristocrats and hippies and ballrooms and discotheques.  So slip on your vintage smoking jacket and sit back in your favorite armchair as we begin our story with a tale of rakish dandies and maverick princes . . .