Dress code: Black Tie/Smoking/Tuxedo/Dinner Suit
The earliest traces of what we will now refer to as a dinner suit, can be found in the 1860's when the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) ordered his tailor Henry Poole & Co of Savile Row, to make him a less formal version of his evening tailcoat. It was based on the lounge suit, but made in the same formal black cloth as the tailcoat and with the same black satin or grosgrain covered lapels. It quickly became a hit.
The name dinner suit comes from the dinner jacket, the 'suit' in dinner suit refers to both jacket and trousers being made out of the same cloth. It was indeed mainly used for dinner parties in the beginning, before expanding to other less formal events with close friends and family. After dinner, when the men would retire to the sitting room and discuss politics, the dinner jacket was often replaced with a velvet jacket. Since smoking was still very much bon-ton and you didn't want to get burn holes in your dinner jacket, the velvet jacket was a nice alternative for that. That is where the term smoking or smoking jacket comes from.
And where does the name tuxedo come from then? After the invention of the dinner suit, the trend also caught on in America where the wealthy citizens of New York frequently gathered in Tuxedo Park. The new and modern look of the dinner suit therefore became know as the tuxedo in America.
So now you know!
We now know and see may variations on this type of evening wear. Some more successful than others, some downright hideous. When in doubt, stick to the classics. Of course we can always help you navigate the pitfalls and help you select something a little more extravagant.