[Ads-l] Antedating "Tuxedo" - October 1888 (men's formal wear), April 1887 (women's sportswear)

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri May 28 04:00:25 UTC 2021

"Tuxedo" as an item of men's formal wear, Clothier and Furnisher, Volume 
18, Number 3, October 1888, page 29.

[Begin excerpt] THE TUXEDO COAT.

The short coat has got to come!

It has been scoffed at and derided.  So eminent an authority as the 
major domo of the Grand Union Hotel ballroom at Saratoga, Summer before 
last, refused to permit that incontrovertible authority on all that is 
correct in attire, Mr. Evander Berry Wall, upon the dancing floor when 
he sprang the innovation upon his less tutored gaze.

This rebuff traveled the length and breadth of the land, and afforded 
solace to a large majority of the swells who had openly declared against 
it from the first.

Despite ridicule and hostility the curtailed dress coat has fought its 
way into a vacant niche in the gentleman’s wardrobe and may tritely but 
truly be described as filling a long felt want.

In England the new garment has been known for some time past as the 
“Cowes Coat,” and in this country it has taken the aristocratic title, 
the “Tuxedo.”[End Excerpt.]

In 2002, Barry Popik posted here an item from May 1887,  about "Tuxedo 
Summer Suits" sold by James McCreery & Co.

That item did not clearly describe the outfit.

I recently ran across a slightly earlier example, and more detailed 
descriptions and images of the outfit.

The Richmond Item (Richmond, Indiana), April 21, 1887, page 3.

[Begin Excerpt]Picturesque Suit for Out Door Sports.
Numbered with new costumes entirely original in design and very 
attractive in appearance is the Tuxedo suit, introduced this spring and 
especially adapted for out door exercises.  The Tuxedo is a regularly 
knitted costume, in which are employed the finest of worsted materials, 
showing contrasting colors.[End Excerpt.]

It turns out it was a knit outfit made for women's and girls' sports, 
tennis, boating, and such, with a coordinated stocking cap.

The "Tuxedo" jacket is said to have been introduced at Tuxedo Park, New 
York, in October 1886, at the first ball held in their first season of 
operation, a couple years before the earliest known examples of the name 
of the jacket in print.  This usage fell between those dates.

I put together a short bit about them on my blog.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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