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10 Tips For Tuxedo Etiquette



You have been invited to a formal event. You know you will need to rent or buy a tuxedo, but you have questions about style and decorum. Tuxedo etiquette can be a little intimidating. With the proper planning and attention to detail your tuxedo debut will be a success. Here are ten tips to keep in mind for your next formal affair.

1. Choosing A Jacket

When wearing a two or three button tuxedo jacket, you should always leave the bottom button undone. A single-breasted jacket is traditional, but men six feet or taller may be interested in a double-breasted jacket to accentuate their height.

2. Formal Shirts

When shopping for a formal shirt French cuffs and cufflinks are essential. A turn down collar shirt made with lightweight cotton is the most comfortable option. If you want a more formal appearance choose a wing collar. The tips or flaps on wing collar shirts should sit behind your bow tie, not on top of it. Many formal shirts also feature a different texture or pleats where the shirt will be visible under the jacket. We recommend going with something conservative.

3. Planning Ahead

If you plan to remove your tuxedo jacket during the event, opt for a fullback vest. It is a much cleaner, well-dress look when your coat is off. If you are renting a tuxedo at the last minute, always choose the pre-tied bow tie or a formal version of the hanging tie if you are not wearing a cummerbund. A traditional bow tie takes some experience to tie correctly and you want to look your best for the occasion.

4. Coordinating Your Socks and Shoes

Allow your trouser color to dictate the color of your shoes and socks, which should always be the same or darker than your trousers. Patent leather or polished oxfords make the best formal footwear. Keep it simple and go with a round toe lace-up or slip-on.

5. Cummerbunds

Cummerbunds are a fantastic accessory, especially if you plan to wear a bow tie. Not only do they make your midsection more appealing, they also help keep your shirts tucked in. Be sure to wear your cummerbund with the pleats facing up.

6. Dressing For The Occasion

A white dinner jacket is traditionally worn in the summer or in tropical climates as an alternative to a black tuxedo. Be sure to avoid wearing a black tuxedo to daytime events prior to 6:00pm. You will want to wear something less formal during the day.

7. Prom

Young gentlemen are not excused from proper etiquette. If you are renting a tuxedo for a prom be sure to ask your date what colors she is wearing and plan your accessories based on her dress. Resist the temptation to create a spectacle by wearing something comical or inappropriate. However, do not be afraid to show off your style by using subtle color combinations or throwing in accessories like a top hat or cane.

8. Accessories

Three common options for ties are pre tied bow ties, self tied bow ties and the formal version of a necktie. A Black Tie Event does not mean you have to wear a black tie. It simply means the event is formal. Be sure to showcase your style with any color formal accessory. Cufflinks are a must, but most events do not call for a watch. If you do choose to wear one, choose a thin silver style or one that will not dominate the suit. You will also want to substitute a money clip in place of a bulky wallet that may distort the look of your tuxedo.

9. Formal Pants

Your formal pants should always have a grosgrain, silk or satin trim down the leg. Use your outseam measurement (top of belt to the top of the shoe) when ordering formal pants. Be generous with the length to ensure your pants are not too short. The pants should break just at the top of the shoe. The waistband should rest at about navel level; this is not a time for wearing your pants low.

10. Deciphering the Invitation

If it is a Black Tie event go with a tuxedo and avoid settling with a black suit. Black Tie Optional is a bit trickier, but still err on the side of caution and choose a tuxedo. Save your suit for a Semiformal affair.

Keep these tips in mind and you will look stylish and distinguished at your next formal event. If you are interested in buying or renting a tuxedo from Jos. A. Bank please see our tuxedo site.

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