How did wearing a jean jacket and a pair of jeans get to become quintessentially Canadian?
Calling the outfit the Canadian Tuxedo seems about as accurate as the assumption that we all live in igloos and drive to work with sled dogs.
Canadians have given the world some wonderful inventions. From the zipper to the telephone, Hawaiian pizza to the Caesar, 5 pin bowling to the Wonderbra, Canadians have stepped in when the world needed help and solved a problem.
Yet, during this sesquicentennial celebration of #Canada150 a burning question remains about our greatest gift to fashion (Wonderbra exclueded): why is it called a Canadian Tuxedo?
Each time someone is caught wearing denim head to toe they’re not accused of rocking a Kentucky Tux or an Alabama Formal – it’s a Canadian Tuxedo.
Justin Trudeau wore one to the final Tragically Hip show.
— brianne hogan (@briannehogan) August 21, 2016
The Canadian 2012 Olympic team swapped out the denim for khakis to complete their tuxedo look.
How did we get this label?
Because of Bing Crosby being barred from a hotel during a 1951 visit to Vancouver.
In 1951, the world famous American crooner Bing Crosby was denied entrance into a Canadian hotel because he and his friend were dressed completely in denim. Although the Hotel management eventually recognized Bing and made an exception because of who he was, the story of the incident traveled fast. Friends of his back home contacted Levi Strauss and Co. and the designers immediately developed a custom denim tuxedo jacket for Bing so that he would never have problems wearing Levi’s® Jeans, even in fancy establishments.
It was made of the sturdy denim used for 501® Jeans, and decorated with a lovely corsage of Red Tabs, held onto the lapel with a cluster of shiny copper rivets.
Inside the jacket was a huge leather patch printed with a “Notice to All Hotel Men” stating that denim is a perfectly appropriate fabric and anyone wearing it should be allowed entrance into the finest hotels.
LS&Co presented the jacket to Bing at the 1951 Silver State Stampede in Elko, Nevada where he was honorary mayor. He was so tickled with the tux that he wore it to many press appearances for his next film, “Here Comes the Groom.” The original jacket, as well as one made for the town’s mayor, is in the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko. [via LevisVintageClothing.com]
In 2014, Levi’s reproduced Bing’s famous outfit with a limited run of 200 Canadian Tuxedo jackets.
So it was Levi’s that gave us the Canadian Tuxedo branding and, in true Canadian fashion, we’ve taken the passive aggressive fashion slagging and completely owned it ever since.
As we celebrate #Canada150, here’s a modern Canadian Tuxedo twist from Levi’s that reflects a new attitude in city’s across the country. Head down to Mark’s and check out the Levi’s Commuter Collection. It’s a collection of jeans that stretch, jackets that breathe, and a look that takes the Canadian Tuxedo to the bike lanes.
The Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket is constructed with extra stretch fabric that’s both durable and abrasion resistant so you can enjoy great mobility and strength for your active lifestyle. Water and dirt repellant, this men’s trucker-style jacket features a hood under the collar for those times when you get caught in the rain.It also has a reflective straps along the waist and vents in the back so you don’t show up for work all sweaty.
Slim-fitting with a higher rise at the back for improved coverage, the Levi’s® 511 Commuter™ Muni jeans are engineered for motion with two-way stretch that improves comfort during your active urban pursuits. Constructed with Coolmax® technology, these men’s jeans provide increased breathability to keep you feeling dry and they’re insulated to keep you warmer on chilly days. They offer all the jean features you expect from the brand, plus reflective tabs on the hems for visibility in dim conditions and an extra large belt loop on the back to store your bike’s u-lock.
With that kind of tech and fashion forward thinking, wearing a Canadian Tuxedo is worth celebrating after all.