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The Canadian Tuxedo: Fashion Faux Pas or Time-Tested Trend?


That denim-on-denim look, colloquially known as the “Canadian tuxedo,” has been around for so long that it, like the mom jean, has come full circle. From being a go-to style to a fashion faux pas (see: Justin Timberlake at the 2001 AMAs) back to a time-tested trend—the all-denim getup has seen its share of sartorial ups and downs.

The Canadian Tuxedo got its name in 1951 when singer Bing Crosby was denied access to a Canadian hotel, simply because he was decked out in denim—a formal dress code no-no that exists in certain establishments to this day. So what did Levi’s® designers do when they heard this story? Create a custom-made jean tuxedo for Bing—an ironic and cheeky convergence of super-luxe and ultra-casual that was as much a style statement as it was a social one.

And to this day, its status as a veritable “trend” is still heavily contested. Esquire.com recently wrote a piece on “Why You Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Canadian Tuxedo,”—a title acknowledging the skepticism and hesitation of fashion folk who can’t shake its former denotation as a fashion faux pas.

But then again, there are trend-setters like Miranda Kerr, Alessandra Ambrosio and Selena Gomez who have been seen around town rocking their denim-on-denim duds, while adding an American twist to the Canadian Tudo—swapping in a jean skirt here or a denim duster there.

The takeaway? Fashion “do” or “don’t” aside, there are plenty of subtle ways to experiment without committing to taking the plunge—especially during the summer when the climate often calls for a switch to cutoff shorts and skirts over pants, chambray shirts and denim vests over jackets…and for the most adventurous, overalls and jumpsuits over everything.

So go ahead; give that tux-with-a-twist a try. The question of whether or not the Canadian Tuxedo is a true trend remains unanswered. But the question of whether or not you’ll look like a total boss this summer does not.