Formalwear: A Hotbed of Invention

We here at Leviner Wood may just have witnessed the next step in the evolution of Formalwear. These things are gradual at best.

Take the evening shirt. Once upon a time, a man wore white tie and tails after dark. The shirt was made up of the body, with starched, stiff-front piqué bib with one to three buttonholes, a detachable wing collar and single barrel cuff held together by links. The stuffed shirt of cliché, it easily held a man in perfect posture.

Then Edward, Prince of Wales, later to be Edward VII, still later the Duke of Windsor, took the bull by the horns and decided that the whole shootin’ match was just too uncomfortable for those 1920’s Moderns. The shirt his louche-ness ordered to wear with his dinner jacket (another adoption of his that usurped the place of the tailcoat), was a soft, turned-down collar, pleated-front, double-cuffed (we call them French cuffs) shirt. And thus was born our “tuxedo shirt.”

In recent years, we’ve seen a return to the piqué front, this time married to the soft turn-down collar. We’ve always found it much easier to iron, after all.

But, since we’ve gotten away from having them made with a button hole to attach to our trouser waist button, we do run into the problem with the shirt creeping up over our cummerbunds. And that is where this new bit of kit, pictured above may be a sartorial revelation! The longer bib front simply can’t ride up that far!

One note of caution, heavy starch is to be avoided as the bib would tend to unfurl like a spinnaker when seated with an unbuttoned dinner jacket.

Who knew that formalwear would be such the hotbed of innovation in man’s quest to dress comfortably, but correctly?

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