How to Wear a Tuxedo?
The tuxedo is a uniquely formal attire that most men don’t wear very often. Defined by a specific set of pieces and accessories, the tuxedo is the definition of elegance, class, and polish, and for this reason is reserved for only the most formal and special occasions including galas, black tie weddings, and milestone birthdays. Because most don’t have the opportunity to wear a tuxedo on a regular basis, when the chance presents itself you may end up with a number of questions; number one on the list, how do I even wear a tuxedo? Fortunately, because there is little room for interpretation pulling together the components of a tuxedo is actually quite simple. Follow the tips below for wear your tux like a pro.
Time of Day. Unless you’re attending a daytime awards show or afternoon gala, tuxedos are generally not worn before 6pm. Instead, they are considered an evening look, at are reserved for the later hours of the day. If you’re attending an afternoon wedding or work event, opt for a dark grey or black suit that is still formal, but is more fitting to the time of day.
Color. When it comes to tuxedo color options, there are actually more options than you might expect – though the color you choose is largely dependent on the event you’ll be attending. As you might expect, black is the standard color for a tuxedo and is always the safest choice. Midnight blue can also be used interchangeably with black, and is appropriate for highly formal events. For those that like to make a statement, there are tuxedos available in colors ranging from white to burgundy and even pink. These bright and bold colors are not for every event, however, and should instead be reserved for more relaxed and playful outings like prom or a themed party.
Tuxedo Style. In terms of the style of tuxedo, there are a couple of options available. Men can choose from either single or double-breasted tuxedo jackets depending on their preference, and the choice typically comes down to what is most flattering for your body type. A single breasted tuxedo jacket will feature just one button, and will give the wearer a sleek, clean silhouette. The double-breasted tux, on the other hand, will feature up to six buttons. A less common choice, a double-breasted jacket will stand out a bit more among the crowd.
The Jacket. When searching for the right tuxedo, you’ll also have to consider the style of lapel you want for your jacket. A classic look is the notch lapel, so opt for this style if you’re unsure of which to choose. Other lapel options, such as the peak lapel or shawl lapel, are available, though may not fit with all occasions. In addition to lapel, you’ll have a choice of vent options for your jacket. When possible, opt for a ventless jacket, as they offer a more slimming appearance. If you desire a bit more ventilation and ease of movement, double-vented jackets are acceptable.
The Trousers. Tuxedo trousers are unlike traditional trousers, as they are characterized by a signature racing stripe down the side of the leg, a detail borrowed from military uniforms. Tuxedo trouser racing stripes are usually made from one of two materials, satin or grosgrain. With just the right amount of sheen, the stripe takes an otherwise simple pair of pants and transforms them into formal and chic trousers. Because tuxedos are all about neat and clean lines, tuxedo trousers will not feature belt loops. Instead, wear with a pair of suspenders to keep your bottoms in place.
The Shirt. When it comes to the shirt you wear with a tuxedo, you can either wear a plain front shirt or a pleated front shirt. Either option is appropriate, as long as the shirt you select has French cuffs featuring cuff links. As for the color, choose either a wing collar or point collar. If wearing a wing collar, be sure the “wings” remain behind your bowtie.
The Vest or Cummerbund. A tuxedo is almost always finished off with a vest or cummerbund, each used to ensure the neat appearance of your shirt which will likely shift or become untucked throughout the evening. If wearing a cummerbund, be sure the folds are facing upwards.
Accessories. With the main components of the tuxedo complete, you’ll be able to finish off your tuxedo look with a variety of accessories.
Bow Tie: The most essential accessory is the bow tie. A tuxedo should never be worn with a necktie, so a bow tie is a must. For a classic look, choose a simple satin, silk, or velvet bow tie.
Pocket Square: While you may be tempted to go for a brightly colored or vibrantly patterned pocket square, it’s important to keep your pocket square simple and understated when wearing a tuxedo. Consider a white or cream colored pocket square in a quality silk, linen, or cotton material. A classic square fold is well-suited for formal events.
Shoes: Keep your shoes simple, selecting oxfords, slippers, or loafers in velvet or leather. With a tuxedo, round-toed shoes are always your best option.