Posted by James Briggs on January 25, 2002
I had a request today, which I can't help with. Any ideas?
Quote: "I have looked in vain for the derivation
phrase "soup and fish", when used to mean formal dress, specifically white tie and tail coat. It comes up frequently in Wodehouse, but I have seen it elsewhere as well. I have wondered whether it may be a reference to the dinner that would be consumed while so attired, which would surely include thick or clear soup and a fish course before the meat or game, etc. I have
also wondered about rhyming slang, but can come up with no suitable rhyming word describing such articles of clothing. Have you any ideas?"