Tuxedo for Men: Complete Style Guide
If you’re wondering what to wear for a black-tie occasion, a classic tuxedo is an obvious style choice. Other possibility is to wear a dinner jacket. A formal, classic look, a tuxedo is ideal for an event that requires formality. To wear it right & look your best read our tuxedo guide below.
From answering what is a tuxedo? to which lapels you should choose, we’ve put together everything you need to know.
The tuxedo is a formal garment. It’s worn to black-tie events: weddings, gala dinners, red carpet, and many more occasions.
The jacket and trousers are made in black or midnight blue cloth, worn with a white shirt with Marcello front and studs. A silk bow tie is a must; it can be black or can be a muted dark colour (burgundy for example). A tuxedo is never worn with a tie.
Shoes must be black, either patent, velvet or simple oxfords.
Another accessory often worn with a tux is a cummerbund. You can also wear a waistcoat instead of a cummerbund. A slightly less formal style of a tuxedo is where there is neither cummerbund nor waistcoat.
Tuxedo vs Suit: What’s the Difference?
Tuxedos for men have silk lapels and the trousers can have a silk stripe running down the side seam. The jackets have a single button fastening, whereas suits tend to have two or sometimes three. The buttons of a tuxedo are covered in black or midnight blue silk whilst suit buttons are made of plastic or real horn as we make them at Artefact London.
Suits feature either peak or notch lapels. Tuxedos may feature peak or shawl lapels, but never notch.
Both suits and tuxedos can be double or single-breasted.
Tuxedo vs Dinner Jacket
Confusion between a tuxedo and a dinner jacket is common.
A tuxedo is made with a jacket and trousers in a matching colour, either black or midnight blue. A dinner jacket is made of colourful cloth paired with a pair of black trousers. Dinner jackets, just like tuxedos, can have silk lapels, either shawl or peak, but bever notch. Unlike tuxedos, a dinner jacket can also have non-silk lapels, made in matching cloth to the overall jacket.
If you're interested to learn more about dinner jackets, take a look at our blog focusing on the Kingsman Orange Dinner Jacket.
Which Lapels to Choose on a Tuxedo: Shawl or Peak?
There are two lapel styles: peak or shawl, never notch.
Peak lapels drive the attention upwards towards the shoulders, and they have the capacity to visually broaden the shoulders. The shawl lapel has a sleek, contemporary feel to it.
Both are classic formal lapel styles - choose your favourite look, you can’t go wrong!
Choose the Right Tuxedo (Dinner) Shirt
A tuxedo is worn with a white shirt with studs instead of buttons. It is called a dinner shirt.
It can be worn with pleated front shirts. Pleated shirts have two panels of pleated fabrics on either side of the studs. Dinner shirt requires a waistcoat or cummerbund to be worn with it.
The shirt can have a traditional wing collar or a wider spread collar to accommodate a bow tie.
Cufflinks are a must. There are no rigid rules around the colour of the cufflinks for your dinner shirt. It is your chance to add some sparkle & colour - take it, avoid matte finishes & muted colours.
Can I Wear a Tuxedo to a Wedding?
If you are invited to a wedding and the invitation states ‘black-tie’ - wear a tuxedo. If you’re going to a daytime wedding where black-tie isn’t specified, we’d recommend a lounge suit instead.
If you are the groom - tuxedos are a very popular choice for the special day. Our recommendation is to add a cummerbund or a waistcoat to the look to add panache.
Tuxedo Waistcoat Style Guide
Both three-piece tuxedos and two-piece tuxedos are formal. If you’re going to a black-tie event, you can wear either.
If you want to wear a tuxedo waistcoat, it should match the colour and material of your jacket and trousers. Single-breasted and double-breasted waistcoat styles can be worn.
A tuxedo waistcoat must have a shoe horn cut. When the jacket is buttoned up, the waistcoat must not be visible above the button.
The Classic James Bond Tuxedo
How could we write a tuxedo style guide without mentioning James Bond? The English spy has some world-class tuxedos in his wardrobe.
Bond often wears a classic black tuxedo. However, with Daniel Craig in the role, we frequently saw him wear a midnight blue tuxedo. This is a great option when worn in the dark as it can often appear blacker than black.
Sean Connery also famously wore a white tuxedo when starring in the films. The white dinner jacket had peak lapels and was paired with a white pleated shirt and a black bow tie.
To read more about the iconic James Bond tuxedos, take a look at this blog post.
A Tuxedo Rental - Go or No Go?
If you are considering getting a tuxedo, you might be weighing up buying vs renting one.
As a bespoke tailoring business, rented tuxedos make us cringe. A bespoke tuxedo always stands a cut above the rest; a rented tux always shows up at the opposite spectrum: never fitting quite right, looking used and tired.
If you aren't quite ready to invest in a bespoke garment, buy a tuxedo off the rack and take it to a local tailor for alterations so that the fit is adjusted to your body shape. Never expect an off-the-rack tuxedo, suit, or jacket to fit you. Get the right size and then consult your local tailor on how to make it fit right. It is worth the time and investment.
If you are the groom though - a bespoke tuxedo is almost a must. Why? You need to keep up with the bride!
Tuxedo for Men: Where to Buy
There are a multitude of options to buy a ready to wear tuxedo online or in a shop.
If you are buying one, factor the cost of alterations into your budget as it’s unlikely to fit you well when it’s straight off the rack. Take it to your local tailor for alterations - it will be worth it.
If you are ready to invest in a tuxedo a cut above the rest, get in touch with Artefact London for effortless bespoke tailoring to impress.