A Guide To Tuxedo: How To Dress Up For An Evening Event
A Guide to Tuxedo: How To Dress Up For An Evening Event
Tuxedos (also known as dinner suits) are the main stars for the evening’s dress code. These pieces, with more than 100-year’s of history, were the casual fashion alternative to traditional tailcoats, offering a shortened dinner jacket. Originally considered a semi-formal dress code in Western countries, there are all sorts of variations and facts you need to know before buying a tuxedo. Keep reading!
Tuxedos and dinner suits are the pinnacles of men’s clothing. They are the suit every man should have in their wardrobe – in recent years you can easily find cheap tuxedos for men online than for hire (and it can also be a hassle!). And in recent times these evening suits are becoming an alternative groom outfit for evening weddings (always it’s a suit to consider depending on the bride’s dress!). After all, the key to dressing well is to find your personal style within the rules. But remember to learn the rules before breaking them if you want to ace the formalwear style like James Bond.
Sophistication, discretion, and elegance are the three main elements of the best tuxedo style. The adage “less is more” is ideal if you want to follow the classic in black-tie dress code.
What is a tuxedo?
A tuxedo and dinner suit is a semi-gala suit, they are the perfect dress code for evening parties, cocktail parties, awards ceremonies and cruises.
The name ‘tuxedo’ became popular during the 19th century thanks to the “Tuxedo Park” club in New York. In the UK tuxedos are generally called dinner jackets and in Spain and Latin America, these suits are commonly called smoking.
What’s the difference between a tuxedo and a suit?
Tuxedos are the most popular suits to wear during evening events and offers a wide range of dress possibilities. The only requirement to wear a tuxedo and dinner jacket is the time of the day – men should wear this evening suit only after 6 pm and at night.
At first glance, suits and tuxedos might seem pretty similar. The biggest difference between tuxedos and suits is the silk satin in the design of a tuxedo in lapels and trousers. Lapels, buttons, and pocket trims are satin, silky, and glossy; trousers include a satin side stripe down the leg – a common characteristic of tuxedos that suits don’t include. Tuxedos and dinner suits are designed to elevate your outfit above the day-to-day suit. Congrats, if you’re wearing a tuxedo it is because you are celebrating something special!
Everyday suits allow a wider colour range options for accessories, as you can wear a waistcoat that matches with the tie – in this case, choosing a waistcoat style and tie depends on your preferences – and shoes worn with business suits are usually matte and black, made of leather, with a classic cloak fork and with laces. On the other hand, tuxedo shoes have to be glossy, made from patent leather.
What are the parts of a tuxedo?
Let's see the parts of a tuxedo, one by one, with the clothes and accessories that make them up.
Tuxedo jackets styles
A dinner jacket is a party suit to wear in the evening, more than for ceremonies or other daily events which require you to dress smart. Tuxedo jackets usually match with trousers in colour and materials (except if the jacket is white, otherwise the trousers should be black).
Shirt styles to wear with tuxedos
Tuxedo shirts should always be white. You can opt for a pleated front (vertical pleats run up both sides of the button placket) or pique (which are made from stiff fabric usually woven with a dimpled pattern, and are considered more formal). The placket of the shirt is the centre strip of the fabric where a shirt’s buttonholes are situated. There are different placket options and shirt cuffs, depending on your style. A wing collar, a special shirt collar that looks nicer with a bow tie, is an ideal match for a tuxedo jacket. Or you can pair a tuxedo with a standard collar men dress shirts too.
Men’s accessories to wear with a tuxedo
Cummerbunds or waistcoats
While coloured or patterned waistcoats turn down the formality of the tuxedo (excellent options for prom parties), the white piqué full-dress waistcoat elevates it. Unless you don’t wear a matchy waistcoat or you opt for a double-breasted tuxedo jacket (traditionally associated with everything from ’30s gangsters to ’80s Wall Street brokers), a cummerbund is highly necessary to complete the evening look. Shawl collar and rounded shape are primarily seen on tuxedos and dinner jackets and they are the only appropriate waistcoats for a black-tie event.
Bow ties are the only accessory a black-tie dress code allows. Traditionalist will recommend using only one coloured accessory as a part of the whole: waistcoat, cummerbund, or pocket square. The classic dress code would recommend to never change the colour of the black bow tie: that would bring distractions from the overall outfit if the dinner jacket is black... and you could feel dressed as a wrapped present. Have you ever broken this rule?
Many say tuxedo shoes must be back, glossy, and lace-up. If you’re keeping it simple, you have some decisions to make. A pair of black patent leather Oxford shoes would finish this classic style, although you have other options such as cap toe shoes.
Cufflinks are an important accessory when dressing for formal events, and allow your personality to shine through in a formal outfit. Have some fun with your cufflinks if you prefer to show your funny side.
A little colour in your breast pocket can be a good move, especially for a festive dress code to paired with a black tuxedo. Nothing says sophistication and personality quite like a pocket square – and you can show you’re really confident and good at folding things!
What are the different types of tuxedos?
When you’re choosing a tuxedo jacket, the details make all the difference. Black tuxedos are the traditional (and simple?) garments to wear to black-tie and evening occasions, but four main exceptions lead this black-and-white evening outfit.
Midnight blue or blue tuxedos
An elegant choice if you want to wear a classy and different tuxedo for your prom, evening wedding or black-tie event – this blue tone is so dark that it seems almost black.
The best summer tuxedo if you have to dress up on a cruise (formal nights and black tie evenings). The jacket is white, matching with the shirt. Bow tie and trousers must be black, unless of course you’re going to a white-tie occasion.
Velvet tuxedos are excellent winter suits for evening parties. After black velvet tuxedos, the most popular colours to a velvet tuxedo jacket are those deep rich colours that harmonise with black: deep gold, burgundy, bottle green, or navy. They are usually used in more informal events such as a private party at home or at a private club. Velvet has a heavier hand feel, but when you’re wearing a velvet jacket it wears just as light as a wool jacket.
Tartan tuxedos or bright fabrics
Make a celebratory statement at less formal affairs, such as holiday parties. The key to pulling off these tuxedos is knowing the dress code – you’d never wear one of these show-stoppers to a traditional black-tie event.
Tuxedos are coming these days with multiple patterns and shapes (slim fit tuxedos) that make any of them special for the men who wear them: plain, check, paisley, striped… And while we obviously respect tradition, the modern tuxedo isn’t always black and white. What is your favourite?