What is the Difference Between a Tuxedo and a Suit?
When it comes to selecting formalwear, men have a number of factors to consider when selecting just the right outfit to make a great impression. What type of event they’ll be attending and how formal it is, what colors fit with the season, and of course, which accessories would best complement their outfit. The most basic decision to make, however, is deciding between a tuxedo and suit. While the tuxedo and suit are the staples of men’s formalwear, many don’t actually have a full understanding of what the differences are between a tuxedo and suit. Below we’ll explore what a tuxedo and suit are, when to wear a tuxedo and suit, and which accessories you’ll want to wear to complete your look when wearing a tuxedo and suit.
The tuxedo is widely agreed to be the most formal dress option, and is reserved for wear to black tie events. These highly formal events often include galas, award ceremonies, and extravagant weddings, where a classic outfit is most fitting. At such events, the most classic interpretation of the tuxedo is appreciated, ensuring guests look well put together and timeless, without looking flashy or over the top. Over the years, new adaptations of the tuxedo have come about as styles change and modernize, however most components have remained consistent.
Because it is the most formal type of outfit a man can wear, the tuxedo look is made up of more than just the jacket and pants. The pieces and accessories that accompany a tuxedo include:
- The dinner jacket. Of course, the most important piece of the tuxedo is the dinner jacket. For a tuxedo, the dinner jacket will almost always be black or midnight blue in color, made of a quality wool material. A tuxedo dinner jacket is single breasted, and contains a sole front button. When it comes to the lapels of the tuxedo dinner jacket, there are a few varieties which include the notch lapel, peak lapel, and shawl lapel. A signature of the tuxedo, the lapels will be satin faced, creating a sleeker and more formal appearance.
- Trousers. Following the tuxedo dinner jacket in importance are the trousers. Tuxedo trousers will be black or midnight blue, matching the exact color and material of the tuxedo jacket. Tuxedo trousers will also feature a line of satin down both legs, again upping the formality.
- Suspenders or braces. Tuxedo trousers typically do not come with belt looks. This is because the goal of a tuxedo is to look sleek, and a belt can create a bulky, bumpy line on the body. Instead, suspenders or braces should be worn with a tuxedo ensemble to keep trousers in place.
- Dress shirt. A tuxedo dress shirt should simply be a crisp, classic, white button down. Most tuxedo dress shirts will be pleated down the front, and feature holes on the sleeves for cufflinks.
- The cummerbund. The cummerbund is a signature of the tuxedo, and a must for anyone wanting to embrace the full tradition of the tuxedo. The purpose of the cummerbund is to keep the dress shirt in place, and in the case it becomes untucked, to make sure the ends do not show. Cummerbunds also help to flatter the torso, giving the wearer a slim and trim look.
- A bow tie. Tuxedos should be worn with bow tie instead of neckties. It is tradition to wear a tuxedo with a simple black bow tie in a satin material. Also important to note, the bow tie should always be hand tied.
- Other accessories. Other accessories you might consider wearing with your tuxedo include socks, a pocket square, and cuff links. No matter the accessory you choose, they should always be subtle and understated. Black tie events are not the place to try out bold patterns and vibrant colors.
Now that we’ve explored the tuxedo and its accessories, let’s take a look at what exactly a suit is. Unlike the tuxedo, a suit can be worn to a wide range of events across the formality spectrum. Suits can be worn to after work happy hours and business meetings, all the way up to weddings and more formal evening events. Also unlike the tuxedo, a suit is usually made up of only a few pieces. These pieces include:
- The coat or jacket. A suit coat can be made up a variety of materials including cotton, linen, wool, or polyester. Most often, the time of year and time of day will determine which material to select. Suit jackets are made in many different colors, giving the wearer more freedom to express their personal style. From neutrals like dark blue, grey, and brown, to brighter hues like red and white, there is no shortage of options. Suit coats can be double-breasted or single-breasted, can have two or three buttons, and can be vented or unvented.
- Trousers. Most often, the suit trousers will match the jacket is color and material. However, there are cases where trousers can differ in color.
- The vest. While not necessary, more formal events might call for a vest with the suit jacket and trousers. The vest can be the same color and material of the coat and trousers, or it can bring a pop of color to the ensemble by featuring a design, contrasting color, or a material with sheen like silk.
Differences Between the Tuxedo and Suit
So what is the difference between a tux and a suit? For one, a difference between the tuxedo and suit is the presence of satin. As discussed above, tuxedos will have satin on the lapels, buttons, pockets, and pant legs of the outfit, while suits will not.
Another major difference between the tuxedo and suit are the accessories. While a tuxedo can be worn with accessories including a cummerbund, bow tie, and suspenders, and pleated button down shirt, a suit will usually be worn with a belt, neck tie, and unpleated button down shirt.
Another important difference to note between a tuxedo and suit are the events in which they’re each worn. When figuring out whether to wear a tuxedo or suit, consider the event’s formality. Tuxedos will be worn to black tie events like charity balls and high end weddings, while suits can be worn to less formal, daily events like meetings, birthday parties, and dates.
Tuxedo and Suits from Savvi Formalwear
At Savvi Formalwear, shopping for a tuxedo and suit for your next event is simple. We carry a wide variety of tuxedo and suit options in a number of styles, colors, and materials, ensuring you find just the right tuxedo or suit to fit your needs and flattery your frame. Browse our unmatched collection of tuxedo and suits to find the look that is sure to turn heads the moment you enter the room.