Canadian tuxedo

[ kuh-ney-dee-uhn tuhk-see-doh ]
/ kəˈneɪ di ən tʌkˈsi doʊ /

noun Facetious.

a denim top and bottom worn together, as a denim jacket and jeans.

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Origin of Canadian tuxedo

First recorded in 1995–2000
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What else does Canadian tuxedo mean?

The slang term Canadian tuxedo refers to an outfit pairing jeans with a denim jacket. A Texas tuxedo can describe this pairing as well as a suit jacket worn with jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hat.

Where does Canadian tuxedo come from?

Although use of Canadian tuxedo and Texas tuxedo emerged in the 1990s and 2000s, the origin of the Canadian tuxedo itself is the subject of much speculation. One story goes that singer Bing Crosby was kicked out of a Canadian hotel in 1951 for wearing a denim-on-denim outfit rather than formal wear. Blue jeans pioneer Levi Strauss, in response, sent Crosby a custom-made denim tuxedo jacket. The often repeated, if dubious, tale may have connected double denim, Canada, and tuxedos in the popular imagination.

Another account says Canadian tuxedo mocks the denim jackets and jeans stereotypically worn together by western Canadians. Calling the outfit a Texas tuxedo is based on similar stereotypes, with the particular combination of jeans, sport jacket, and cowboy boots/hat based on Texas oilmen.

The 2001 comedy movie Super Troopers makes fun of a “Denim Dan” as “president, chairman, and CEO of Levi Strauss” for his “Canadian tuxedo.” Many articles written during the inauguration of President George W. Bush, a Texan, in 2001 mentioned his guests bringing the Texas or Western tuxedo to Washington. In a 2017 book, a Detroit Red Wings ice hockey player remembers being knocked by a team mate for his Canadian tuxedo in 1999.

How is Canadian tuxedo used in real life?

The Canadian tuxedo has been considered unfashionable or, at best, peculiar. Describing someone’s outfit as a Canadian tuxedo is often done as an insult, but may also be a good-natured jest.

Canadian people may also use the phrase in a self-deprecating way, while Texans may describe their tuxedo with an unabashed pride. Still, be mindful that calling someone’s outfit a Canadian, Texas, or Western tuxedo, could offend their national, regional, or cultural identity.

Although the Canadian tuxedo is often ridiculed, fashion-forward media like Esquire and Vogue in the 2010s have praised the outfit as celebrities took to sporting the denim-on-denim look. Esquire, for example, published an article titled “Why You Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Canadian Tuxedo.”

More examples of Canadian tuxedo:

“Fashion 101: If Bella Hadid wears it, it’s hot. So, it appears that the Texas tuxedo is now — or, again — a thing.”
Jenny Berg, Bravo, October, 2017       

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.