The trend of wearing tailcoats began in the 19th century. What is considered formal wear today started out as a form of riding jacket, with its front edges cut away to provide space for the rider's knees, enabling him to gallop off while hunting or to trot away at a leisurely pace. While horseback riding, the tails could be kept out of the way using the two buttons located at the back of the coat.
The tailcoat, also known as the swallow-tail coat or the claw-hammer became a part of everyday gentlemen fashion in the 1830's until the 1850's. Today, the tailcoat is considered as one of the most popular types of men's formal wear on the market. These garments are usually worn by men for white tie affairs or extremely formal occasions.
Tailcoats are waist-length coats with two long tails at the back of the jacket that reach the wearer's knee. Traditional designs of the tailcoat feature pockets inside the jacket. These pockets are meant to hold your gloves when you're not wearing them. Older designs of the tailcoat include satin facings found on the coat's lapels. These coats are double breasted, and both rows of buttons being non-functional in most cases.
Choosing Your Tailcoat
When picking out your tailcoat, be wary of length and finding the right size. Try out your tailcoat before purchasing it to avoid needing numerous alterations done to your wedding attire.
Tailcoats are usually worn with white wing-collar dress shirts. Pick a dress shirt with single cuffs that you can close with fashionable cuff links. Find a matching bow tie or ascot and waistcoat to go with your attire. Wear either black trousers or trousers that match your tailcoat for a more dignified and formal appearance. Patent shoes are a must when it comes to formal attire, so make sure you find wedding shoes that work well with your tailcoat of choice.
The color of your tailcoat should depend on the time of your wedding, the formality of the event and what your bride is wearing. For formal day weddings, go for a dark gray, black or white tailcoat. You can choose to wear black trousers with your white tailcoat, or you can go white-on-white with your wedding wardrobe.
As for very formal night weddings, you simply can not go wrong with an elegant and classic black outfit.