| « Back To Articles
Looking Your Best: How to Wear a Tuxedo
You received the invitation that said “black tie optional,” so you picked up a crisp new tuxedo. In order to make yourself look like a million bucks, all you need to do is throw it on and go, right? Think again. While it’s difficult to look bad in formal wear, it’s not impossible. Just look at the colored tuxes and ruffled shirts of the 1970s.
Your best bet when it comes to wearing a tuxedo is to go for a classic look. To do that, you need to be sure the multiple pieces of the outfit match each other as well as the occasion. And then there are the accessories like pocket squares, shoes, braces and hats. The trick is knowing which tuxedo style to wear and when. Before you dress for your next formal event, review this guide on how to wear a tuxedo well.
1. Choose the right time.
For starters; you should only wear a tuxedo after 6 p.m. It’s too formal to be worn earlier in the day. Morning suits can be worn for earlier, formal events. These are generally dark grey and appropriate for weddings and other events.
2. Take the black tie option.
When an invitation says “black tie optional,” it’s a polite way of indicating that it’s not really an option. In general, it’s always better to overdress rather than underdress, and if the host is suggesting that everyone wear black tie, then everyone should.
3. Pick the right jacket and pants.
Even within the realm of the classic tuxedo, you still have many choices when it comes to the two main pieces. You can’t go wrong if you choose the classic notch lapel, single-breasted jacket. Other choices of lapel, like shawl, peak or Nehru, could seem out of place depending on the event you’re attending. When it comes to the pants, make sure you have a silk stripe down the outside of each leg and don’t cuff them. In terms of color, midnight blue or black are acceptable tuxedo hues in all situations.
Select a subdued shirt.
Tuxedo shirts come with two types of collars: traditional point collars and wing collars. The wing collar reveals the band of the bow tie going around the neck. Either shirt is acceptable for classic tuxedo style. You can also select either a plain front or a pleated front. No matter the shirt you choose, however, it needs to have French cuffs finished off with cuff links.
5. Don’t cut corners on the bow tie.
The daring modifications of the tuxedo that walk the red carpet at the Oscars have led many men to think tuxes can be worn with long ties or no tie at all. However, the best tie to wear is the classic bow tie that you tie yourself. It’s not hard to learn; a few practice ties will get you up to speed.
6. Wear a cummerbund or vest.
Unless you’re wearing a double-breasted jacket that you keep buttoned at all times, you’ll likely expose your shirt. Your tux will look incomplete if you’re not wearing a cummerbund or vest. When it comes to wearing a cummerbund, there are a couple tuxedo style rules to follow. First, don’t wear one with braces. Secondly, make the sure the pleats face up.
7. Wear patent leather shoes or highly polished Oxfords.
Either type is acceptable, but the shoes should be plain and round-toed. Avoid tassels, elaborate stitching, square-toed shoes, and spats. You should also avoid gimmicks like sneakers, sandals or cowboy boots.
8. Tuxedo accessories to add.
Wear black silk socks that stretch to mid-calf or the knee. Add a white pocket square or select one that matches your tie. You can add an extra touch by wearing a fedora or homburg hat.
9. Tuxedo accessories to avoid.
Men commonly wonder whether to wear a watch when dressed in black tie. If you must wear a watch, choose a thin silver watch that is understated. You don’t want a chunky sports watch on your wrist. Ideally, you’re out for a night on the town or attending a wedding where you won’t need to tell the time, so skip the watch. If you’re looking to add extra flourish in the form of a top hat and gloves, avoid the temptation. These accessories are meant for white tie and tails.
10. Wear your boutonniere properly.
Wearing a tuxedo well is an art that any man can perfect by paying attention to some of these details. If you need to pick up some new accessories for your tuxedo or want help in selecting the right formal wear, consider visiting JoS. A. Bank store. We offer a variety of tuxedos for sale and rental. You can also find the expert advice you need to dress smartly.
Ready to rent or buy a tuxedo? See our Tuxedo page today for more information and our latest offers!