It’s no secret a tuxedo is my preferred attire.  Why do you ask?  Tuxedos are timeless.  In Europe, tuxedos are simply “black tie”, and most often in the U.S., we wear tuxedos on formal occasions like a marriage ceremony or dinner party.  A very close friend of mine will wed next February and messaged me asking for “tuxedo tips”, I was very excited to share my notes.  This is at least the third time I’ve been approached for advice regarding black tie and white tie apparel.  Particularly regarding events and weddings.  As I typed notes for my friend I thought now would be a good time to share my notes with the world, rather than share them in emails and text messages to only friends.

What I’ve learned over the years is many of us were groomed to wear tuxedos, however, black-tie attire can still be an enigma for so many men.  I shared the notes below with my friend and moreover, after sending these notes, he, his fiancée, and I explored our COVID-19 world and scheduled private fittings.  He looked sharp, as a gentleman should.

Ron Jones displays different Tux lapel types
Mr. Glitterati in Shawl Lapel, Peak Lapel, and Notched lapel.

I start my formalrant on formalwear with the shirt.  The white dress shirt is usually made of cotton or linen, and the bow tie is usually made of silk or polyester – typically black or white in color. Dress pants are made of wool and the tuxedo suit jacket is usually made of wool (avoid polyester for when possible). Suit jackets have a collar, pockets, and a silk or polyester lining. Leather dress shoes are usually made of dark-colored leather which is polished; or patent leather. A man might also wear a tuxedo with a sleeveless vest with buttons in the front, or a cummerbund.  For those wondering, if you’re required to wear a top hat, tails, and gloves, you are attending a White Tie event.  We’ll discuss that in a later article.

Let’s get to it, here’s a quick list of Mr. Glitterati’s Tuxedo Tips:

The Jacket

  • When wearing a single-breasted tuxedo you should wear a cummerbund (and the pleats should face UP).
  • Remember the rule of “Always, Sometimes, Never” when you’re buttoning your buttons (from top-down with the top button being “Always”)
  • It isn’t a “rule” but I, and many others, recommend only wearing white or ivory jackets in warmer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day).  However, if the event is in a vineyard or at a beach (think warm-weather location), this doesn’t always apply.
  • The hem in your jacket should land around where your palms usually hang.
  • The shoulders of your jacket should land where your arm meets your shoulders.  The seam should now rest down on your shoulder.
  • Many don’t realize it, however, coats with tails are for White Tie Events.  The same goes for white gloves, top hats, and canes.
  • When a man chooses to close the top button of their jacket, and the jacket looks like a wrinkled “X”, the jacket is too small.  One should, however, be able to get two fingers in the jacket when pulled away from the chest.

Shirt

  • NO CLIP-ON TIES EVER.
  • Ideally, wear a tapered shirt whenever possible, for both look and comfort.
  • A half of an inch of your shirt should show below your jacket sleeve, however, it should end at your wrist bone.

Pants

  • Flat front pants only, sorry, no pleats.
  • Never wear a belt with your tuxedo.  Braces (suspenders) are okay, but never a belt.
  • Avoid cuffed pants and the pants will have a single break at the ankle.

Shoes

  • It’s always recommended to wear black patent leather shoes.

Accessories

  • Never wear a watch with your tuxedo.
  • Always accompany your tux coat with a pocket square, else it is “naked”.  This actually goes for suits too.
  • Carry a second, linen, pocket square inside your tuxedo jacket as well.
  • Always wear cufflinks with your tapered shirt.
  • Oh, and socks should match your pants, not your accessories.
  • The shirt button accessories are a preference.

We will explore black tie even more with later articles, however, this is a starting point for most gentlemen.  Tuxedos need not be complicated and comfort and elegance can go hand in hand.

Oh!  Lastly, I know it’s a trend, but please, please, please don’t wear Converse sneakers with your tux.  It’s a cliché and simply makes your formal attire casual.

 

Tuxedo. (2014, December 11). Retrieved July 31, 2020, from https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuxedo

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