The Canadian Tuxedo is an outfit that belongs to the folklore of the 60s and 70s, as well being the official outfit of lazy teamsters the world around. On those facts we can all agree. The Canadian Tux is often the butt of many a joke due to its blue collar nature and the type of man that usually wears it: the weekend warrior whose hair is just a little too long and white t-shirt is just a little too stained.
While it’s a difficult look to pull off stylishly, it can most certainly be done. It requires a little more thought than your typical jeans/jacket combination, but thought breeds positive results, in my experience at least. It’s not terribly difficult to do properly it simply requires following a few hard and fast rules to keep you out of the teamster category.
Fit is important here, as it always is, although perhaps not the most important factor that goes into pulling off the Canadian Tux successfully. If you stick to these rules you’ll look like a boss, and ideally, somewhere between Ryan Gosling and Sonny Bono (I should note that as much as we’d all like to reach those Gosling heights it’s better to set reasonable expectations). So here it is, our rules to rocking the famed Canadian Tux and doing it stylishly; remember friends, confidence is key.
This should be today’s biggest takeaway: you want to have contrasting tones, ideally, the larger the contrast the better. Now this can take on a few different meanings when it comes to denim on denim: the first being that you’re wearing blue jeans and a blue jacket. Having contrasting tones in this regard refers to the idea that you want to be wearing either an extremely faded jacket or jeans, and a relatively crisp other denim piece. If you wear a faded jacket and jeans you’ll look washed out by the faded tones and this is most reminiscent of the weekend warrior iteration. The new and old combination offers the contrast you’re looking for to keep things looking like a real outfit that you actually care about.
You’ll see a do and don’t attached here. I’m going to let you figure out which one is the right choice (hint: not Keifer Sutherland).
The second way to go about finding the required contrast is to wear different coloured jeans and jacket. If you take a good look at our pal the Gos here he has thrown together a standard shade of the classic trucker jacket and paired it with deep indigo denim. This idea can be applied to many shades too. I’ve seen tan coloured denim jackets; even shades of olive, and those look quite handsome when paired with black jeans. Contrast should be fairly self-explanatory, so find the type of contrast that works for you and run with it.
The important fit factor to remember is regards to the fit of the jacket. We know by now how our denim should fit, and that is largely a personal choice. When it comes to choosing the right fit for your denim jacket, remember to waiver on the smaller side of things. You want the jacket to be snug around the shoulders and waist. Like your favourite jeans the jacket will loosen up the more you wear it. Assuming you can’t find one that fits perfectly of the rack, choose the smaller of the two sizes you’re in between and wear it hard.
The second fit aspect to keep in mind is jacket length. You want your denim jacket to hit at or just below your belt line. If you choose one that’s too long it will look off balance and weirdly costume-y. Should you choose one that’s too short you’ll end up exposing your midriff to the masses and that’s not something anyone wants to see.
If you’re truly a bold and confident gentleman you can go for what we call “The Trifecta.” The Trifecta is when you not only wear the Canadian Tux, but mix in a denim shirt as well. This is a look that can be a difficult for a slew of reasons. First, it once again requires you to find a different tone of denim to wear. I know three tones of denim sounds ridiculous, but it looks quite handsome when worn in concert.
The second aspect that makes this look difficult, and is the major roadblock for me, is how goddamn hot it is. Three layers of heavy denim is not the most breathable look. If you’re not a sweater, give it a go. Finally, there’s the sheer difficulty of finding three different shades of denim. If they’re all your own and you’ve managed to wear the three pieces in different rates, well kudos to you, sir.
Those few rules are going to be what separates you from the dads you see out on Saturday afternoons. Remember to mix shades and fades; it’s the most important aspect if this is a look you plan on pulling off. At the end of the day, the Canadian tux is a practical and handsome look if you do it right. It’s a damn national treasure if you ask me. One of our many important and culturally enduring exports. I think we should put the Gos in a Canadian tux somewhere on our flag- perhaps inside the maple leaf? Not a bad idea, but I’m just spit balling here.