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80s saw items formerly associated with evening wear adapted for everyday wear. 1700s and was the inspiration for the early 1930s civilian mess jacket fad. See Contemporary Alternatives for an overview of its 200-year history. The formalwear revival manifested itself in a much less classic manner for renters than it did for buyers: the most popular formal outfit for proms and weddings in 1985 and 1986 was the white tailcoat aberration.
In the early ’90s premium shirtmakers began offering formal shirts with large swept-back tabs in front and a hem in the back to help hide the bow tie’s band. We appear to be on the threshold of a period rivaled only by the 1930s for distinguished wearables. Marriage and formal weddings were once again fashionable, etiquette books had become bestsellers and Victorian traditions were being rediscovered by many. At the same time, baby boomers were now young upwardly mobile professionals with a sense of entitlement to the better things in life.
By having children at a later age, and taking on significant debt, they were able to lavish themselves with luxury goods and live the refined lifestyle they craved. There could not have been a better confluence of events for the return of formal elegance. Elected in 1980, Ronald Reagan popularized not just conservative politics but also conservative fashions. 600 million, up fifty per cent from just five years earlier.