The Day I Wore a Canadian Tuxedo
I’ve lived in Vancouver, BC for 5 years now, and it’s about time I really start to dress the part. I need to dress for the great outdoors, combined with being able to fit in with the fashionable young’uns of Main Street. Plus, now the weather has started to cool down and the rain is starting to come back, I can wear something a bit more substantial without fainting from heatstroke.
There’s only one thing for it. The Canadian Tuxedo.
For those of a foreign disposition, this doesn’t mean a regular ‘penguin suit’, or a ‘dinner suit’ as us Brits would usually say. This is a thoroughly practical, yet often terribly worn double-denim combo. Case in point, the infamous Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears wardrobe choice at the 2001 American Music Awards.
I can safely confirm that Mark’s doesn’t sell denim cowboy hats (phew), but they do have a surprisingly extensive range of denim products, including denim jackets, shirts, and of course jeans.
For a little more background, the term ‘Canadian Tuxedo’ refers to: “any outfit consisting of a denim jacket, with denim jeans. Originating in the 1950s, crooner Bing Crosby was nearly rejected from an upscale hotel in Vancouver, BC. because he had been wearing an all-denim outfit. Levis heard of this and sent him a special-made all denim tuxedo.” – UrbanDictionary.com
So here’s my challenge. Can I, a normal non-celebrity non-cowboy, wear a double-denim outfit without looking ridiculous?
I headed to my local Mark’s to find out.
I was clearly lost as I looked over the tables of jeans in boot, athletic, slim, and other cuts in all shades of blues and blacks. Thankfully, Shayla at the Market Crossing, Burnaby store was here to help.
She helped me pick out a couple pairs of Levis, one ‘athletic’ cut and a ‘boot cut’. Here’s their full range of denim jeans.
I was surprised when she didn’t laugh when I told her I wanted to wear a Canadian Tux. She said “right, the denim shirts are over here”. Apparently it’s a popular style and with “colour-blocking” (wearing solid colours to mix up an outfit), it looks pretty good.
I got the DH3 Acid Wash Oxford Shirt. The Oxford is a cut of shirt that always seems to fit my shape well. It’s slimming and fits my shoulders, while still looking sharp enough to wear to work or out for dinner.
As September is still pretty warm in the afternoons, even after a rainy morning, I decided on a denim shirt rather than a jean jacket.
Aside from the genuinely helpful nature of Shayla and her team, I love going to Marks because I know the quality of their products holds up. Their background is tough clothing for people who work outside or need wardrobe necessities that are going to keep them warm and dry through rough Canadian Fall and Winters.
It looks like I got away with it. I wore a Canadian Tuxedo without feeling at all silly. I think combining different colours and styles of denim was the key to success. I wonder if I can wear a denim cowboy hat with the same confidence. There’s only one way to find out!
*update* – I’ve been told firmly that this will not happen.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Marks for the on-going support of my ever-improving wardrobe. My wife couldn’t be happier!