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A young man from a wealthy Macon, Georgia family attends a formal dinner at his college in 1893. What was his formal suit called back then? I'm thinking he probably wore a tailcoat, but I want to know the name of the entire suit if there is one.

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A tailcoat is no more a tuxedo than a pocket watch is a wristwatch. That's from blacktieguide.com, who probably know what they're talking about. –  FumbleFingers Apr 1 '13 at 16:57
According to Wikipedia, he probably wouldn't have worn a tuxedo. They were only introduced to the U.S. in 1886 in Tuxedo Park, and they were first adopted in New York City. I figure that seven years isn't enough time for them to be required at a formal dinner in a college. –  Peter Shor Apr 1 '13 at 17:09
Thanks. And pardon my ignorance, please. –  MissHarper778 Apr 1 '13 at 17:11
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closed as off topic by tchrist, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Kristina Lopez, MετάEd, Robusto Apr 3 '13 at 1:31

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1 Answer

If Wikipedia is correct about the origin of the short dinner jacket ("tuxedo") then its entry on the 1890s in Western fashion is probably correct:

The cutaway morning coat was still worn for formal day occasions in Europe and major cities elsewhere.

The most formal evening dress remained a dark tail coat and trousers with a dark or light waistcoat. Evening wear was worn with a white bow tie and a shirt with a winged collar.

The less formal dinner jacket or tuxedo, which featured a shawl collar with silk or satin facings, now generally had a single button. Dinner jackets were appropriate formal wear when "dressing for dinner" at home or at a men's club. The dinner jacket was worn with a white shirt and a dark tie.

So yes, white tie and tails is quite likely for a formal dinner.

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