Origin and history of Formal Wear

The 'Dinner Suit' has only existed as an option of formal attire since the late 19th century. Prior to this time the traditional mode of formal wear was a suit which included a jacket with tail coat.

As with most inventions, some dispute surrounds the exact person or persons who conceived of the idea in the first place and the methods by which the item became 'fashionable'. The 'Dinner Suit' is no exception to this rule. The following account is the most commonly accepted 'history' of the formal wear. The concept of the Dinner Suit only rose to prominence following its debut in America. In 1896, Pierre Lorillard IV designed several coats that he intended to wear to a ball. Pierre wanted to wear something less formal than the traditional dress of the time - black tails with black tie. The coats were black but without tails and were shaped like the red jackets that were then worn for fox hunting. This decision can be seen as an attempt to rebel against the influence of the British upper class - which was influential in setting standards of dress and behaviour during this period.

The Lorillard family was tobacco magnates and owned land in a town called Tuxedo Park, approximately 40 miles north of Manhattan. Pierre Lorillard was due to attend the 1896 Autumn Ball of Tuxedo Park. The coats were custom-made by a local tailor but Pierre backed down from wearing the revolutionary garments on the night of the ball.

However, Griswold Lorillard, Pierre's son, and his friends did wear the new jackets to the ball. The high social status of the young men wearing the new style jackets resulted in the design being imitated and accepted - and not condemned as Pierre had feared.

Consequently, and naturally enough, the new style jacket became known as the 'Tuxedo'. The use of the term 'Tuxedo' (or 'tux') is largely confined to America, with 'Dinner Jacket' or 'Dinner Suit' now being the most common form of description.

The style of the Dinner Suit has essentially remained the same over the years, with changes largely being confined to the design of the lapels and the number of buttons on the jacket. The bow tie did not become popular until the 1920s and the cummerbund was only later introduced following British governance of India (from the Hindu 'kamarband').

British Origins: According to English clothing historian James Laver, the idea of wearing black

for evening wear was first introduced by the nineteenth century British writer, Edward BulwerLytton who wrote in 1828 that "people must be very distinguished to look well in black." A resident of Tuxedo Park, James Brown Potter vacationed in England in the summer of 1886. Potter and his wife, Cora were introduced to the Prince of Wales {who later became King Edward VII} at a court ball in London. Potter asked the Prince for advice on formal dress. The Prince sent Potter to his own Saville Row tailor, Henry Poole & Co. Potter was fitted with a short black jacket and black tie that was unlike the formal tails with white tie that was worn in the United States for formal occasions.

The new tailless formal wear was said to have been designed by the Prince of Wales. The Prince and his tailor drew inspiration from the British military uniforms of the time, which used short jackets with black ties. This is where the two origins meet. James Brown Potter took the design back to the Tuxedo Club, where Pierre Lorillard modified it, named it, and made it popular during the autumn ball.


Informal communication was primarily seen as a potential hindrance to effective organizational performance. This is no longer the case. Informal communication has become more important to ensure the effective conduct of work in modern organizations. Probably the most common term used for the informal communication in the workplace is “grapevine” and this communication that is sent through the organizational grapevine is often considered gossip or rumor. While grapevine communication can spread information quickly and can easily cross establish organizational boundaries, the information it carries can be changed through the deletion or exaggeration crucial details thus causing the information in accurate – even if it’s based on truth. The use of the organizational grapevine as an informal communication channel often results when employees feel threatened, vulnerable, or when the organization is experiencing change and when communication from management is restricted and not forthcoming. We all know that the way we dress makes statements about the way we see the world and our place in it. Clothing has symbolic as well as practical value. In the workplace the values associated with clothing tend to be expressed in terms of formality. There may be different degrees of latitude in an organization, depending on the staff involved. Thus there may be a rigid dress code for security staff or reception but much more scope for the people in research or IT. In some organizations non-conformity is given status, in others the reverse is true. In either case, this may say something significant about the culture. Most companies have more than one dress code, usually depending on the grade or function of the staff involved. Senior managers may wear modest lounge suits, salespeople affect a 'sharp'

double-breasted approach, the engineers will sport short-sleeved shirts, shop floor workers have overalls, cleaners and maintenance people wear beige coats, security are in uniforms and so on. It is simply not sufficient to look at one style of dress and then assume that this in some way 'symbolizes' the culture.

The dress code has built in rules or signals indicating the message being given by a person's clothing and how it is worn. This message may include indications of the person's gender, income, occupation and social class, political, ethnic and religious affiliation, attitude and attitude towards comfort, fashion, traditions, gender expression, marital status, sexual availability and sexual orientation, etc. Clothes convey other social messages including the stating or claiming personal or cultural identity, the establishing, maintaining, or defying social group norms, and appreciating comfort and functionality.

For example, wearing expensive clothes can communicate wealth, the image of wealth, or cheaper access to quality clothing. All factors apply inversely to the wearing of inexpensive clothing and similar goods. The observer sees the resultant, expensive clothes, but may incorrectly perceive the extent to which these factors apply to the person observed. (cf. conspicuous consumption). Clothing can convey a social message, even if none is intended.

If the receiver's code of interpretation differs from the sender's code of communication, misinterpretation follows. In every culture, current fashion governs the manner of consciously constructing, assembling, and wearing clothing to convey a social message. The rate of change of fashion varies, and so modifies the style in wearing clothes and its accessories within months or days, especially in small social groups or in communications media-influenced modern

societies. More extensive changes, requiring more time, money, and effort to effect, may span generations. When fashion changes, the messages communicated by clothing change.

Formal dress code:

Dress codes are written and, more often, unwritten rules with regards to clothing. Clothing like other aspects of human physical appearance has a social significance, with different rules and expectations being valid depending on circumstance and occasion. Even within a single day an individual may need to navigate between two or more dress codes, at a minimum these are those that apply at their place of work and those at home, usually this ability is a result of cultural acclimatization. Different societies and cultures will have different dress norms although Western styles are commonly accepted as valid.

A dress code is a set of rules governing a certain combination of clothing; some examples are black tie and morning dress. Formal dress is the grouping of all the dress codes which govern clothes worn to formal events. The traditional rules that govern men's formal dress are strictly observed from these derive the evening dress variants worn on many occasions, such as high school prom dances, formal dances, and entertainment industry award programs.

The dress codes considered formal in the evening are white tie and black tie .In the UK, morning dress is standard formal day time clothing (a lounge suit being still considered informal dress), but in the US/Canada morning dress is rare, having been replaced with the stroller and then the lounge, or business suit. Morning dress, however, does remain in certain settings in Europe, Australia, and Japan. Some countries still have the semi-formal daywear code, the stroller.

Organizational culture
Organizational culture is an idea in the field of organizational studies and management which describes the psychology, attitudes, experiences, beliefs and values (personal and cultural values) of an organization. It has been defined as "the specific collection of values and norms that are shared by people and groups in an organization and that control the way they interact with each other and with stakeholders outside the organization. Organizational culture has been constructed as a network of meanings or shared experiences and interpretations that provides members with a shared and accepted reality (Pettigrew, 1979; Schein, 1990; Trice & Beyer, 1993). In their first function symbols provide a tangible expression of this shared reality (Dandridge, Mitroff, & Joyce, 1980).

Richard Seel: “All organizations have a dress code. In some it is formal and openly specified. In most it is informal, newcomers having to rely either on their own cultural sensitivity or the avuncular, and often embarrassed, hints from a more experienced colleague.”

Objectives/ Purpose of dress code
The purpose of the dress code is to establish standards for what is acceptable dress and grooming within the organization setting. In addition, the code is designed to encourage a mode of dress and grooming which is conducive to establish a climate for working. No article of clothing shall be worn that distracts from the organizational process. The dressing style of somebody will reflect their sense of pride in themselves. What they are wearing will reflect who they are. Company's objective in establishing a formal work dress code is to enable the employees to project the professional image that is in keeping with the needs of their clients and customers to trust them. Because industry requires the appearance of trusted business professionals and serves clients at their site on a daily basis, a more formal dress code is necessary for employees. You must project the image of a trustworthy, knowledgeable business professional for the clients who seek guidance, input, and professional services.

No dress code can cover all contingencies so employees must exert a certain amount of judgment in their choice of clothing to wear to work. If you experience uncertainty about acceptable, professional formal business attire for work, please ask your supervisor or your Human Resources staff.

When we talk about dress code we are like to focus more on, how to build a professional image. Professional image is about the image we project in the world of work. It Consists of Personal Appearance Clothing, Grooming, Manners, Etiquette, Personal behavior, and Communication effectiveness. So when someone can improve or implement the professional image in them, they

can build the confidence in themselves. Besides, judgments are made about people based on the professional image they display as a result of appearance and behavior. This occurs before the individual’s level of competence or performance is determined.


Various traditions suggest that certain items of clothing intrinsically suit different gender roles. In particular, the wearing of skirts and trousers has given rise to common phrases expressing implied restrictions in use and disapproval of offending behavior. Different dress code viz. skirts and trousers signify different gender of the employee i.e., men and women respectively.

Social status

In many societies, people of high rank reserve special items of clothing or decoration for themselves as symbols of their social status. In ancient times, only Roman senators could wear garments dyed with Tyrian purple; only high-ranking Hawaiian chiefs could wear feather cloaks and palaoa or carved whale teeth. In China before the establishment of the republic, only the emperor could wear yellow.


Military, police, and firefighters usually wear uniforms, as do workers in many industries. School children often wear school uniforms, while college and university students sometimes wear academic dress. Members of religious orders may wear uniforms known as habits. Sometimes a single item of clothing or a single accessory can declare one's occupation or rank within a profession.

Ethnic and political affiliation

In many regions of the world, national costumes and styles in clothing and ornament declare membership in a certain village, caste, religion, etc. A Scotsman declares his clan with his tartan. A French peasant woman identified her village with her cap or coif. A Palestinian woman identifies her village with the pattern of embroidery on her dress.

Clothes can also proclaim dissent from cultural norms and mainstream beliefs, as well as personal independence. In 19th-century Europe, artists and writers lived la vie de Bohme and dressed to shock: George Sand in men's clothing, female emancipationists in bloomers, male artists in velvet waistcoats and gaudy neck cloths. Bohemians, beatniks, hippies, Goths, Punks and Skinheads have continued the (countercultural) tradition in the 20th-century West.

Religious affiliation

A Sikh or Muslim man may display his religious affiliation by wearing a turban and other traditional clothing. Many Muslim women wear head or body covering (Sartorial hijab, burqa or niqab, chador and abaya) that proclaims their status as respectable women and as considered a means for covering the Awrah. A Jewish man may indicate his observance of Judaism by wearing a yarmulke.