Ever wondered what the difference is between a tuxedo and a suit – then read on to find out.
The choice and use of fabric is a key factor in distinguishing between a tuxedo and a suit. Satin is traditionally employed on tuxedos to provide accents throughout. A satin matching your tuxedo would be used to face or trim the lapels, to cover the buttons, trim the pockets and to make a single stripe down the outside of each leg.
Satin, on the other hand, isn’t seen on a suit. The fabric would be the same throughout, with even the buttons covered to match or alternatively, a classic horn or tortoise shell style instead. The cut, cloth, and style of a suit can vary far more than that of a tuxedo can.
Tuxedos are worn with formal white shirts that have either a wing collar or a turndown collar –though please note debretts disapprove of the former. Tuxedo shirts traditionally have a pleated front too. Suits can be worn with a wider variety of shirts, in either a patterned or a plain fabric.
The cut of your trousers
When it comes to the trousers of your tuxedo, not only will you find satin trims running down the outer side of your legs, but they’ll often have a tapered cut too. You may not find belt loops on the waist – so buy some braces if you need them (though a properly tailored trouser shouldn’t require them).
It’s all about the accessories
Accessories also mark a distinction between the tuxedo and the suit. Wear a tuxedo, and you’ll be dressed more formally, with cufflinks, button studs, a waistcoat or a cummerbund and perhaps a bowtie too. You might also have a white silk handkerchief peeping from your top left pocket. Wear a suit on the other hand, and you’ll wear a long tie, either with or without a waistcoat.
Shoes at the ready
A high shine patent black dress shoe is the traditional footwear for a tuxedo, whilst with your suit, you have a greater range of options – a traditional oxford perhaps, though you might get away with a more casual loafer or slip-on style. You’ll have a broader range of colours to choose from too, black, brown or tan and more besides – but remember, the darker the shoe, the more formal it is considered.
Where do you wear them? Well, the tuxedo is worn for more formal, usually evening events, such as a black tie wedding, a gala or an awards ceremony, whilst a dark suit will take you pretty much anywhere, from date to board meeting.
Rules it has been said, are made to be broken, the points above explain the key distinctions between the suit and the tuxedo – but more and more now you find the distinctions blurred, tuxedos made with very little satin or worn with a long tie, for instance.
Just in case you were wondering, a tuxedo might also be called a dinner jacket or black tie, whilst white tie is a different thing altogether and much more formal to boot.
London is the traditional capital of menswear. To find the right suit for your special occasion, make an appointment to have a bespoke suit cut specifically for you.