You were invited to a black-tie affair, but you have nothing to wear. Have no fear; here is the essential information you need when choosing the style of your tuxedo.
Before we begin, it’s crucial to answer a very common question regarding men’s formal wear. That is, what exactly is a tuxedo? Most importantly, what is the difference between a tuxedo and a suit? The answer is simple. The main difference between a tuxedo and a suit is the satin components on a tuxedo, such as lapels, buttons, and side stripes down the side seam of the pant legs.
Now that you understand the difference between a tuxedo and suit, it is time to dive into the array of styles and elements to be considered.
When choosing a jacket, it is important to keep in mind elements such as fabrics, buttons, and lapel styles. Tuxedo jackets can come in a few different materials and color options. Most commonly seen in black summer weight wool, you can also find jackets in silk blends and velvet, ranging in different colors or patterns. The theme or type of event you’re attending will influence the material and color, keeping in mind that black is always the most acceptable and versatile.
The next elements to consider are the lapel and buttons. A lapel is the satin portion on each side of the jacket below the collar. Lapel styles include notch (think everyday suit), shawl (think crescent moon, retro smoking jacket curved), and peak (think mountain peak upwards). A mans build can dictate the best lapel choice. The shawl elongates the frame and its slimming effect makes one look taller. The peak lapel points up bringing the focus higher on the shoulder giving the perception of a broader shoulder. Todays fashion in satin buttons dictates a one or two button front.
Basically whatever coat you choose depends on your own personal style, preference and build.
Shirts come in a variety of collars, plackets and cuffs. The two types of collars include the wing tip and spread. Wing tip collars are considered the more formal option with their collar points being folded out like wings. Wing tips are very traditional and generally worn with full dress tails. There are also two types of cuffs, barrel and french. French cuffs are considered more formal because of their need for cufflinks and are a must when you are looking to dress to impress. A placket is the strip of fabric covering the buttons on many retail tuxedo shirts. Most rental tux shirts have a convertible front where buttons or formal studs/buttons are inserted.
The Neckwear and Jewelry
Bow or necktie? That is the million-dollar question. Tuxedos are formally associated with a bow tie, however, the choice is yours. Once established, your next decision is to decide on the color. Black satin is the go-to fabric to complement the lapel fabric. Be careful with color, as that is the quickest way to date your style and move your look from elegant to tacky. Subtle neutrals, or small pops of color are usually the most stylish choice for both weddings and black tie affairs. Your choice should depend on how formal your event is and if the dress code is high fashion or creative formal fun.
Don’t forget the formal jewelry! Black cuff links are a must with onyx being the stone of choice and matching black shirt studs if wearing a bow tie will complete the shirt.
The Finishing Touches
There are many other choices to keep in mind when picking out your perfect tuxedo. Although tuxedo pants usually match the cut and style you have selected for your tuxedo jacket, there are other accessories to keep in mind. Components such as shoes, suspenders, vests, cummerbunds and even pocket squares can be added to complete the look.
The Final Look
As you can see, there are quite a few things to consider when choosing a tuxedo. Now that you have all of the information we hope that deciding on a tuxedo for your next big event will be a breeze.