Choosing a tuxedo from a sea of options can be overwhelming to most men, and buying a tuxedo for this brand-new decade is no different. With a variety of styles, colors, fabrics, materials, fits, and other details to consider, even the most stylish of men may find themselves reverting back to their older fashion sense out of convenience.
Wedding tuxedo styles present an even bigger set of challenges as we sometimes incorporate unusual specific colors or styles into the outfit. This may often lead to a non-traditional but peculiar and loathsome wedding tux style, including vibrantly colored ties and vests that look out of place if it's not done exactly right.
This comprehensive and complete guide in choosing the right tuxedo style, whether it is for a wedding or other formal event in 2020, will prevent you from wasting your time poring over Google images for tux ideas. There are better and more efficient ways to approach formal tuxedos for men. Whether you are a stylish groom or just trying out the latest trends in suits, this guide will clarify every question you have about the tuxedo—the pinnacle of men's fashion and style.
Tuxedo Basics: What Makes A Tuxedo?
For men not privy to formal wear, suits and tuxedos may be terms that can be used interchangeably, but the truth is they are very distinct from each other.
Tuxedo Vs. Suit
The main difference between the suit and tuxedo lies in the presence of silk satin incorporated in the tuxedo, particularly on the lapels, jacket buttons, and pants. However, the suit is made simpler by using a consistent fabric both on the jacket and pants. There is no special silk on the lapels and leg stripes, and the jacket buttons are plain and normal. This sets the suit apart from the tuxedo. Although a bow tie is the preferred traditional neckwear to pair with a tux, especially for rigid black-tie dress codes, it is not the only option out there.
When To Wear A Tuxedo?
Should you wear a tuxedo or suit for your event? Well, the answer depends on the type of event and the level of formality for the occasion. Wearing a tuxedo means that the event must be extremely special. A tuxedo is the symbol of the highest level of formal wear for men, for all modern practical purposes. It elevates your appearance from the ordinary daily suit.
Only you can decide whether to wear a tuxedo to the event or just simply stick with a basic custom suit for men. You can take time to figure out what your soul dictates on what you should wear. The best way to figure out your outfit is to look at the dress code and see what others will be wearing for the event and follow accordingly.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to match your attire to the occasion. If you are the groom and your bride is wearing a ball gown wedding dress design, chances are you will likely need a custom wedding tuxedo to match her dress. If the wedding is set on the beach or a less formal venue and the bride is wearing a less traditional wedding dress, then the most appropriate attire for the groom is a wedding suit.
BOW TIE VS. NECKTIE
Normally, wearing a tuxedo demands a bow tie, and there are no exceptions to this rule especially during a strictly formal black-tie event. But modern styles are emerging when it comes to tuxedos, and matching it with a necktie is more common than it was before. Just make sure to never wear a necktie with a wingtip collar.
The key to successfully wearing a bow tie is confidence, but it takes some serious know-how in pulling off a necktie with a tux. Either way, never attempt to use pre-tied neckwear, as it will downgrade your overall look.
COLORS AND FABRICS
Choosing a bow tie is simple. Choose silk; go with knit silk, silk twill, or silk satin, but make sure it is always silk. It can add texture to your appearance in subtle yet noticeable ways. If you decide to dress down your tuxedo with a necktie, silk is still the best choice.
Tuxedo Jacket Styles
The tuxedo jacket will define the tone of your entire ensemble. When choosing the tuxedo jacket, pay attention to the details, especially the style of the lapel, buttons, and fabric so that when they are assembled together they will look cohesive and complementary to each other. You might think it is simple to pick out a tuxedo style; many people just choose black and call id a day. But black is not the only option available for tuxedos.
When you hear the word tuxedo, you probably think that it is just an ensemble of only black and white formal men's apparel that you wear to weddings or official events. While the traditional tuxedo is revered above all others, the current tuxedo is not always black and white anymore.
Different colors are emerging and proving to be stylish alternatives for custom tuxedos for men. Midnight blue tuxedos are coming in as a close second to the traditional black-and-white ensemble. The deep blue fabric usually appears darker than true black under the glow of electric lighting.
Tropical environments sometimes warrant the use of a white dinner jacket, as the warm weather can easily turn a black tux into an electric blanket. Midnight blue and white dinner jackets can also bring a lot of attitude and sass; they have been worn (and prominently noticed) at red-carpet events such as the Oscars and Golden Globes. These colored tuxedos can also be worn year-round.
If you want to further upgrade your look, unique patterns and fabric colors will do the trick. Bright fabrics like tartan and gingham make bold statements at casual affairs like holiday parties. The key to perfecting the tuxedo attire is by knowing the event’s dress code. You’d never wear these show-stopping colors to a strictly black-tie event.
When To Wear A Patterned And Colored Tuxedo
WHITE DINNER JACKET TUXEDO
Accessorize with: pleated or flat dress shirt with fold-down collars and French cuffs. Match the style with a black or patterned bow tie and loafers or cap-toe shoes.
When to wear: black-tie optional, formal events, and creative black-tie dress codes.
MIDNIGHT BLUE TUXEDO
Accessorize with: a pleated wingtip shirt with French cuffs, cufflinks, button studs, black bow tie, and patent leather shoes.
When to wear: events with formal, creative black-tie or black-tie dress codes such as formal weddings.
ROSE SHAWL COLLAR TUXEDO
Accessorize with: a dress shirt with a fold-down collar and French cuffs enhanced by unique cufflinks, patterned bow tie or satin black necktie, and loafer shoes.
When to wear: Events with a festive dress code, creative black-tie, or less formal events.
Accessorize with: a dress shirt with fold-down collars, French cuffs studded with unique cufflinks, satin black or patterned bow tie, and loafer shoes.
When to wear: events with a festive and less formal dress code or creative black-tie events.
BLACK WATCH TARTAN
Accessorize with: a dress shirt with fold-down collars, French cuffs studded with stylish cufflinks, black satin bow tie or patterned bow tie, and loafer shoes.
When to wear: black-tie-optional settings.
Tuxedo Lapel Styles
Notch lapels are a design in which the jacket collar meets the lapel so they form a V, or a notch; this can be seen in the above picture. In the men's apparel of today's world, almost every casual, sports, or business jacket has this notch design on the collar. This, in turn, has caused the notch lapel tuxedo to look more casual than it was originally intended to be. In spite of this, the tuxedo with notch lapels is very flexible. You may want to avoid wearing them at strictly black-tie formal events.
NOTCH LAPEL TUXEDOS
Accessorize with: a fold-down collar dress shirt with unique cufflinks, black satin necktie or patterned necktie, and loafers. You can wear this style of the tuxedo in creative black-tie or black-tie optional dress codes.
Shawls are not just for grandma’s musings. Shawl collars are described as a contemporary round shape that is typically seen on dinner jackets, or tuxedos. This style of lapel is mostly found on black-tie-appropriate garments and would give you some bit of flair and elegance. Some would dispute that it is less formal than a peak lapel. When choosing this style of tuxedo lapel, consider the event setup and your personal taste.
SHAWL COLLAR TUXEDOS
Accessorize with: a fold-down collar shirt with French cuffs, metal cufflinks, button studs, patterned or black bow tie, patent leather or cap-toe shoes. Wear it for strictly black-tie events.
Peak lapels are a little broader than notch lapels with edges that peak toward your face, just like in the picture above. This collar design can be seen in highly traditional and extremely formal garments like tailcoats. The peak lapel has since made its way into custom wedding tuxedos and suits gradually. It is mostly considered as more formal than the notch lapel and shawl lapel, thus making a more profound statement. It is seen less often but it should not stop you from considering it. Peak lapels have the effect of making you look slimmer and taller, so it’s a win-win.
PEAK LAPEL TUXEDOS
Accessorize with: a wingtip collar or pleated shirt with French cuffs, silk knot cufflinks, button studs, black bow tie, and patent leather shoes. Wear it for strictly black-tie events and weddings.
Double-breasted refers to a coat, vest, or jacket with wide frontal flaps that overlap each other. It has two sets of symmetrical columns of buttons that lock the flaps in place. Originally, the double-breasted jacket had six buttons, but the Duke of Kent popularized the four-button double-breasted jacket, making it the more preferred style for suits and tuxedos. It gained a lot of fame in the 1930s and again in the 1980s when it gained a reputation with Wall Street brokers. The current style of double-breasted custom suits for men has a slimmer cut, which makes them look more dashing and bold. It can be the perfect fit for men who want to appear stylish and smart. Although it looks a little bit more formal than the single-breasted jacket, you can actually wear double-breasted jackets whenever you want; this style is perfectly acceptable for the office, a night on the town, and even weddings.
Wool is the fabric of choice for most tailors when making the traditional tuxedo. It seems rightly so because wool is the kind of fabric that allows your skin to breathe. It is durable, insulating yet breathable, and gives you that nice sleek and sharp look that basically defines what a tuxedo should be. You can never go wrong with a wool tuxedo.
However, when attending formal events in cooler climates, a velvet dinner jacket will set you apart from the crowd and still give you that sleek, sharp look. Plush velvet keeps you looking warm during autumn and winter. Its rich texture might feel heavier, but it is nearly as light as a traditional wool tuxedo. It will add flair to your look and its light composition will allow you to dance all night.
Tuxedo Button Styles
The rule of tuxedo formality is a rather simple one: the fewer the buttons on the closure, the more formal it looks. In super formal tailcoats, the jacket does not even close! Usually, tailcoats have some buttons but none are functional.
Most dinner jackets and tuxedos are single-button jackets. In most cases, single-button jackets are considered the peak of formal attire in menswear.
Two-button jackets are more flexible and casual. They can be worn dressed up or dressed down. You can wear a two-button jacket to a cocktail party, semi-formal events, or black-tie optional weddings. You can find up-to-date tuxedos with two-button closures but they’re not usually used in highly formal events.
Three-button jackets are the original design of the tuxedo in the early 1900s, but you rarely see three buttons on a tuxedo these days. They are normally considered to be too casual. However, the double-breasted jacket has four buttons (although not all buttons are functional) and is considered more formal than the two-button jacket.
The important thing is to choose a jacket that complements your body type. If you are attending a very formal event, you might as well choose the single-button jacket. Nevertheless, even if you choose the two- or three-button jacket, no one will publicly shame you for deciding to go with these style choices.
Tuxedo Shirt Styles
If there’s one thing that is essential in every man’s wardrobe, it is the tailored white shirt. The tuxedo shirt says so much about your style. Choose a fabric that is sure to last after many washes. Avoid stretch and non-iron shirts, as they can easily wear out. You can pick out a tuxedo shirt that is made from 100 percent cotton and it will be the best decision you could have ever made. Pure cotton fiber makes the shirt smooth, crisp, and splendidly soft against the skin. Proper fit is as important as the fabric, too. It adds simplicity and commands respect as much as a sleek tuxedo jacket does.
A wingtip collar is the most formal collar option. Its name originated from the foldout collar points. Its edges are characteristic wings that add appeal to your overall look. It is designed specially to complement a bow tie and tuxedo. So if you are going for a casual, semi-formal, or don't-care look, a wingtip collar is definitely not for you. Wingtip collars are your best choice to match very formal suits and tuxedos.
A spread collar is the most common type of collar style today. It is the most versatile among all the collar styles since it can be used around suits and tuxedos with neckties and bow ties alike. It comes in different points and angles, from the forward-point collar with a tapered spread to the cutaway collar's wide spread. For reference, spread is the distance between two collar points.
No, we're not talking about those coverings that prevent food from falling onto a baby; shirt bibs are the rectangular panels that run up the front of the shirt, giving your upper body more texture and style. It ensures that your shirt is not see-through and gives emphasis to the tie you are wearing. Only wear bib-front shirts during formal events and with a tuxedo.
These shirt bibs can either be pleated or flat.
Pique shirt bibs are stiff fabric typically woven with a dimpled pattern. This is considered more formal than the pleated style.
Normally if you are not a shirt tailor or shirt construction expert, you wouldn’t have known that the strip of fabric where the shirt’s buttonholes are located is called a placket. And yes, there are many options that can be sewn into the placket of a shirt.
The front placket is the most common type of placket style. A lining is placed in between the main fabric. The fabric is folded and sewn together with the interlining to make a classic and symmetrical look. Choosing this style is the safest way to go with a suit or tuxedo.
NO PLACKET OR FRENCH FRONT
French front, or no placket, gives you a minimalist look and feel. It doesn’t have that folded-over lining strip along the buttons, which gives you a cleaner appearance. This type of placket is great for formal and casual shirts.
COVERED PLACKET OR FLY FRONT
The covered placket, also known as the fly front, has an extra piece of fabric that covers the buttons and hides it in sight. This style is for men who want sophistication incorporated into their attire.
TUXEDO FRONT OR PLAIN FRONT
The tuxedo front, or plain front, is intended for the tuxedo alone and not in casual events or in the office. Its four top buttons can be removed and replaced with tuxedo studs.
Barrel cuffs don’t require any cufflinks or rolling because they have buttons that are functional and hold the cuffs together. Most shirts have barrel cuffs with buttons that shut, but there are modified barrel-cuff dress shirts equipped with buttonholes that can be used with cufflinks.
French cuffs are rolled back and held in place by cufflinks. When you are getting married or going to a highly formal event, formal French cuffs will upgrade your look. Adding a pair of stunning cufflinks will emphasize finesse in your overall appearance.
Cummerbund, Vest, or Bare?
Vests and cummerbunds are beginning to make a comeback in formal wear.
When wearing a vest, choose a low-cut vest (also known as a waistcoat) to attend black-tie events. Low-cut vests are seen as more formal and have a much lower cut at the front than a typical suit vest in order to display your tuxedo shirt. Make sure you button up all the buttons on the vest.
Cummerbunds are generally considered as the customary waist coverings for black-tie attire in the 20th century. If you are wearing a tuxedo, chances are you will likely expose your shirt from time to time. Your tuxedo will look incomplete if you’re not wearing a vest or a cummerbund. When choosing to wear a cummerbund, there are a few tuxedo style rules you need to follow. First and foremost, don’t wear one with braces. Then, you can inspect the pleats to make sure they are facing up because they should be facing up. Finally, you should match the color of your cummerbund to the color of your tuxedo jacket and bow tie.
If you want to look more modern and relaxed in your tuxedo, ditch the vest and cummerbund altogether. Going bare is becoming increasingly popular and acceptable whether you are wearing a tux or a suit. You can also wear braces with this look for extra support, or you can opt for no suspenders if your pants fit nicely on their own and they are not in danger of falling down on the dance floor.
THE STORY OF THE TUXEDO STRIPE
The defining character of the tuxedo pants is the presence of the satin stripes that run vertically on the outer side of each pant. The stripe is often associated with military gala uniforms. The waistband covers the pant seams for a continuous appearance, which will give you a taller look.
BLACK VS. COLOR
In most cases, your tuxedo pants are going to be black, even if you go with a dinner jacket in bright, loud arrest-me red for less formal gatherings. The rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if your tuxedo pants are not black, your dinner jacket should be the same color. If your pants are black, your jacket should be as well unless the dress code is less rigid than those encompassed in the black-tie realm. In short, a red jacket can work with black pants, but not the other way around.
The tuxedo is designed to focus people’s attention to your face, but no one is going to make eye contact if you are wearing some bold shoe statements. When it comes to the appropriate shoes to match your tuxedo, less is usually more. But even if you keep it simple, there are guidelines to follow in choosing the right pair of shoes.
Patent leather shoes are the perfect go-to shoes to match any tuxedo style. It has a shine that matches the satin fabric on the tuxedo lapel and sides of the pants. While quite simple in its design, the sophistication and sharpness patent leather projects is unmatched by anything else out there.
Cap-toe shoes are an ideal pair to project that sleek look. Matte leather combined with a patent leather accent on this pair creates a subtle variety to your style while keeping the focus of your tux toward your face.
The loafer shoes will upgrade your tuxedo look to a whole new level of stylish. People will usually notice a pair of velvet slip-ons or grosgrain loafers. This is great for the groom in custom tuxedos for weddings to rock this pair during his wedding day.
Wearing men's custom tuxedos should be fun. That’s why custom tuxedos for weddings and formal events come with accessories such as cufflinks, suspenders, and pocket squares. While men's custom suits and tuxedos are the epitomai of style and sophistication, the choice of your tuxedo accessories will show your personal fashion sense to the world.
CUFFLINKS AND STUDS
Cufflinks let your personality shine through in a formal outfit. If you want to show your serious side, metallic style is the way to go. For a minimalist style, silk knots will go together with the tux.
Button studs allow your tuxedo to feel more formal than ever. They are designed for dress shirts and fashioned to fit into the buttonholes of the shirt placket. It is best to always match your button studs with your cufflinks; match gold with gold, silver with silver, onyx with onyx, platinum with platinum, and so on.
A man sporting a pocket square is a man of confidence. Nothing speaks style more than a properly fashioned pocket square. It shows off your personality and perhaps a small snippet of your artistic side.
The rule of thumb when choosing a pocket square is to stick to the plain white/black, timeless pattern; think simple designs or a tiny pattern detail, especially when you are wearing a black tuxedo or white dinner jacket. Plain white can make everything look good. Reserve colored pocket squares for festive, less formal dress codes. Fabric should be limited to linen, cotton, silk, or wool, but never polyester or other synthetics.
The traditional tuxedo has no belt loops on them. If they have belt loops, they are not tuxedo pants. If you need assistance in keeping your tuxedo pants in place during your time out on the dance floor, your only option is to wear traditional button suspenders. Avoid the clip-on suspenders, as they tend to degrade the overall look of the sophisticated tuxedo.
Buying vs. Renting A Tuxedo
Many gentlemen at various stages of adulthood opt to rent a tuxedo under the assumption that they will save money by doing so. However, renting really only makes sense if your body is still growing. When you decide to purchase a custom suit tailored to your particular body measurements, you are investing in something that will last many years with proper care. And if your body does happen to change a little bit over time, a custom tuxedo can still be tailored to take away or make extra room.
At Enzo Custom, we make sure that our tuxedos, suits, jackets, shirts, and other products reflect a high standard of excellence that we have always done our best to maintain. When you order a custom suit or tuxedo from us, you won't ever have to worry about poorly stitched fabric or a frumpy fit like you would with a standard rental. By purchasing a tuxedo, you will also save money in the long run; while it may seem like a rental is the more cost-effective option, extra rental days for travel delays, cleaning fees, and multiple black-tie events in a single year can add up and take one's bank account by surprise. Our expert clothiers can help you avoid all these problems by getting you into a tuxedo that is perfectly contoured to your measurements and always made with quality and consistency. Book a private appointment or visit our site today to get the full Enzo Custom experience. You won't regret it.