A tuxedo is a statement piece in formalwear 一and menswear in general一. Following you will find everything you need to know on how to wear one.
Putting on a tuxedo can make you feel confident and elegant as no other piece of clothing. However, styling one is not an easy task and there are a few things you need to learn before you take the jump.
First thing first, tuxedos are only suitable for formal events, such as weddings, premieres, galas and fancy birthday parties too. They were popularized in the 19th century in England and lots of fashion rules have changed since then.
Nonetheless, the key pieces of a tuxedo remain the same: the bow tie and the cufflinks, as well as the pants and suit jacket. There are indeed a couple of standard guidelines it is best to follow, but as usual rules are meant to be broken too.
Before we move on, here’s our complete guide to formal dress codes for men.
Shades and shapes
On one hand, black and midnight blue are the two color shades that will always be a safe bet. You can find other color options in the market, of course, but they are not that conventional and they can be quite tricky to style.
For example, white jacket tuxedos have been spotted on premeries and galas many times. It is a fine style that has stayed on trend forever, particularly during summer. The white dinner jacket adds a fresh feeling that matches the warm season and it adds an interesting twist to the look.
Nonetheless, not all men feel comfortable with the challenge, so you can opt for more classic black and blue alternatives if you feel more confident.
On the other hand, tuxedos need to fit perfectly. If it was passed on to you, you borrowed or even if you bought it brand-new, you need to make sure it fits properly. If it doesn’t, we advise you to get it tailored.
And it is not just about looking good, but also feeling good. No matter what type of clothes you are wearing (casual or formal), comfort should always be a priority.
Last but not least, in terms of fabric, wool is still our go-to choice. It is a versatile, breathable and static resistant textile.
Bow or tie?
When it comes to bows or ties, there’s an easy way to make up your mind. If you are part of the ceremony, then you should opt for the first alternative. Yet, if you are another regular guest, then you can go with the second one.
When it comes to formalwear 一especially tuxedos一 you need to follow certain dress code rules and there’s little to no room to be creative. However, a simple trick like wearing a striking tie or bow can make you stand out from the crowd. Make it your own!
There are plenty of modern and unique designs out there, aside from the classic black satin tie or bow. This is another way to make it your own! By the way, this is everything you need to know about bow ties.
Moreover, opting for a bow is a good way to break out of the routine and try a different style than the usual business suit.
The types of lapels
There are three types of lapel styles: shawl, peak and notch lapels. Most guys would prefer the first two.
On one hand, shawl collars feature rounded edges and they are more modern than notch and peak lapels. On the other hand, notch lapels are more casual and versatile, in fact you can see them in sport blazers too.
Lastly, peak lapels are the most formal option from all and they are great to make your waist look tighter and slimmer.
It’s all in the details
As we just mentioned, a great way to personalize your tuxedo is to pay attention to the small details. For example, aside from an eye-catching bow, you can make your cufflinks and buttons match. If you are a bit lost on this matter, here’s how and when to wear cufflinks.
In addition, you can opt for a distinctive pocket square to make the outfit more interesting.
And remember, a black tuxedo look requires you to wear black socks too. Choose a classic silk or cashmere pair that you can wear for both casual and formal occasions.
Make smart choices
It is a common mistake to think that a regular white business shirt will work with a tuxedo, but unfortunately that’s not the case. A dinner shirt is the right move actually. The design is far more sophisticated, buttons are hidden and you will easily recognize it because there’s a bib on the front.
When it comes to footwear, you have three options. A pair of black Derbys or brogues are the top choices, but if you want to stand out from the crowd, you could also pick a bolder design.
For instance, a pair of black velvet slippers is a classic, yet chic alternative. Again, those are small ways to add more personality to your look.
Is it worth the investment?
It is not everyday you need to wear a tuxedo. A “black tie” dress code is indeed unconventional nowadays and that is why guys have so many questions on what to do and what to avoid in these situations.
If you don’t get many invitations to attend black tie events, then renting a tuxedo is probably the most rational option (or borrowing it otherwise). And it is also a great alternative if you are working on a budget.
However, if attending these kinds of events is a regular thing for you, then you should invest in one. The classic black design will do the trick and it will last a lifetime.
Speaking of formalwear, you can find out more on what’s the difference between chalk stripe and pinstripe suits.