Flashback: The Cutaway’s Curtain Call

Posted on April 29, 2012

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1979 formalwear ad

Following World War Two, menswear in the United States broke away from Old World stylings and began to fashion a distinctly American emphasis on athleticism, youthfulness and informality.  This marked the beginning of the end for Morning Dress which became increasingly relegated to the role of wedding attire.  By the 1960s even that role was rapidly fading as the cutaway was replaced by the tuxedo in conservative circles and by hippie fashions among the counterculture generation that wanted nothing to do with traditional church weddings.

Then along came the insatiable Yuppie appetite for luxury and nostalgia for the past.   Beginning in the late 1970s there was a renaissance of conventional wedding ceremonies and the virtually extinct attire that went with them.  By the 1980s cutaways and even strollers were appearing in formalwear ads, on TV and in movies.

A wedding in the 1985 season finale of "Dynasty"

Another "Dynasty" wedding, this one in 1987.

Scene from the 1988 film "She's Having a Baby". (Yes, that's Alec Baldwin on the left.)

Sadly, the revival of the practice in film and television did not catch on among the general populace.  In fact, the most popular groom attire in the 1980s was the all-white tailcoat abomination.  And so, American morning dress quietly slipped back into obscurity by the end of the decade.