How To Wear A Tuxedo

How To Wear A Tuxedo

How to wear a tuxedo?  A simple enough question, right?  The look is quite simple; some black here, some white there.  But to appropriately and properly pull it off there are numerous variables that deserve consideration.  Decisions have to be made on everything from shoes to collars.

As we all know, I am a fan of rules (but I am also a fan of breaking them).  And as is the case in the Rules Of Men’s Dress, there are some rules in black tie that should not be broken and some that are free to be broken, in good taste of course.  I receive countless inquiries from both friends and readers on how to wear a tuxedo so I feel it is prudent to centralize a list of basic and not so basic rules on how to wear a tuxedo.  The list is by no mean comprehensive or complete, it will be added to as appropriate.  But it should be sufficient to get any gentleman off to a suitable start.  If you have any questions, comments or additions on the topic of how to wear a tuxedo; feel free to sound off in the comments.

1.  Thou shall only wear a self tied bow tie.  Long neck ties and pre-tied bow ties are perhaps the highest offense to black tie.  In some circles they could be considered grounds for being shot on sight.

2.  Thou shall avoid rental tuxedos as if they were the harbinger of death.  Because, well, frankly they kind of are.

3.  Tuxedo, black tie and dinner jacket are basically all just different names for the same thing.  That said, they will be used interchangeably going forward.

4.  Thou shall match the fabric of his bow tie to that of his lapels and stripe on his pants.  But, for a bit of flair, a velvet bow tie can look great against satin or grosgrain lapels and pant stripes.

5.  If thou is wearing a single breasted jacket a cummerbund, waistcoat or vest shall be worn. The primary concern is to conceal the bit of white shirting fabric between your jacket button and waistband.

6.  Tuxedo/dinner jackets should only have one button when in single breasted form.

7.  A tuxedo jacket/dinner jacket shall never have notch lapels.  They are not formal enough for a proper tuxedo.  Peak lapels and shawl collars are the only acceptable options, whether single or double breasted.

8.  Thou shall wear a pocket square.  White linen or cotton is ideal.  Some gentlemen look dashing with a red or burgundy one, however.

9.  Thou shall not match one’s tuxedo or associated accessories with the attire of his date.  It does not matter what your date says, the purpose of your tuxedo is not to match or compliment her dress.  Thou is meant to look stunning in one’s own right, changing one’s attire to suit her will only detract from the integrity of one’s tuxedo.

10.  Midnight blue tuxedos are making a comeback.  Although I normally eschew trends, I will say that midnight blue tuxedos are bad ass.  Including the shawl collared one worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall.

11.  A pleated front shirt is not necessary.  Although they are more formal and traditional, often times a man looks best in a button up shirt with a classic spread collar shirt and French cuffs.

12.  Opera pumps (court shoes) are to be reserved for formal (white tie) attire.  They are not appropriate for semi formal (black tie) attire.

13.  Patent leather shoes are acceptable for black tie, however, they shall be in lace up and not loafer form.

14.  If thou opts for calf skin shoes, they are to be well polished and free of brogues and medallions.  Many say that a well polished black cap toe is the ideal shoe to wear with a tuxedo.

15.  Belgian shoes and Prince Albert slippers are not appropriate at a club that you are not a member of/ do not have reciprocity at.  It would be presumptuous and rude to wear them.

16.  Belgian shoes and Prince Albert slippers are bad ass and the wearing of them is encouraged in appropriate settings like weddings and fundraisers.

17.  Bit loafers can be worn with a tuxedo.  The same rules apply as with Prince Albert slippers, however, bit loafers are a bit more snarky (understatement).  And if you choose to wear them, do so wisely.  For when worn inappropriately it can be quite an offense.  It’s one of those ‘The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club’ type of things…

18.  Thou can wear a club bow tie in place of a black bow tie, as long as thou is a member of said club and preferably if the event is at said club.

19.  Thou can wear a button down shirt, however, the same statements apply as with bit loafers.

20.  Needlepoint cummerbunds are badass.

21.  Thou shall not wear a belt with a tuxedo.  In fact, tuxedo pants should not have belt loops on them, ever.

22.  Thou shall wear suspenders with a tuxedo.  However, in the event that pants stay up without suspenders they are not necessary.

23.  Thou shall not don pants with either cuffs or pleats with a tuxedo.

24.  Velvet jackets, smoking jackets and jacket of colors other than black and midnight blue (including tartans) should be worn with caution.  They are of a lesser formality than the two traditional options.

25.  White or cream dinner jackets shall only be worn between memorial and labor days.  Unless one is in a warm weather or tropical climate.  They are not appropriate for cold weather falls and winters, like what we have here in the Northeast.

26.  Solid black over the calf socks are the only appropriate hoisery for a man to wear with black tie.  If one must change things up, black over the calf socks with clocks can also be deemed appropriate.

27.  Studs are not necessary, however, they can look dashing. Gold, silver, mother of pearl, onyx are all suitable options.

28.  White and black suspenders are the most traditional choices.  However, they are an ideal medium for one to use to change things up a bit.  The women seem to love pink suspenders

29.  Jacket pockets should be besom pockets, not flap pockets.  If a jacket has flap pockets, they can often be tucked in the pockets to look like besom pockets.

30.  Life is more fun in a tux.

31.  Thou shall carry himself in a courteous and respectful manner.  He shall also carry his liquor well.

32.  Semi-formal dress means black tie.  Formal dress means white tie.  Know your dress code definitions.  If you think the organizers of an event meant something else, do not be embarrassed to inquire; for it would be far more embarrassing to show up in the wrong attire.


Comments

How To Wear A Tuxedo — 151 Comments

  1. I recently when to a formalwear rental and sales store to buy a tux. I bought a white tux and tux pants. Just wondering do i wear black shoes or white. I read and looked around and i seen some say black others white. If i recall the sales guy said white. What would be the best choice?

    • Hector,
      Good question. I would vote for black shoes. They will tie in well with the black tie and cummerbund. I also think black shoes are really the only acceptable choice for formalwear, unless your wearing price albert slippers, then maybe you could have a little more fun.
      -JLJ

  2. Two comments/questions: A traditional semi-formal trouser is usually double pleated and meant to be worn higher at the natural waist; more modern cuts (which I personally don’t care for) are flat front an worn lower on the the hips. This makes coverage of one’s midsection with an evening waistcoat or cummerbund more challenging. And it should be noted that when one wears a cummerbund, the pleats should be upward-facing; an ideal place to stash one’s opera tickets, perhaps? – KF

    • Kevin,
      I have never heard of double pleated semi formal (tux) trousers, nor would I ever wear such a thing. I do, however, love double front pleats on suit trousers. On the cummerbund, yes, a place to stash your opera/orchestra/other ticket. Conveniently, they will also serve to catch your crumbs sometimes, if you so happen to drop any.
      -JLJ

    • the original intent for upward facing pleats was to catch crumbs while dining. but yes, the ticket stubs did become an adopted use

  3. Is it acceptable to wear a white tux jacket with black trousers? I heaven this style quite a lot recently, and I think it looks rather smashing.

  4. Dear Fineyounggentleman,
    My son was accompanied by his father to the local mens store where they purchased a tuxedo for my son for prom. The tuxedo jacket is nice but I’m concerned that the pants
    Have belt loops. Should he wear a belt or should I get him a cumberbund, which I really dont like. What to do, what to do. Please offer some advice. Kimberley

    • Kimberley,
      A good question. Whatever he does, do not let him wear a belt. The ideal move would be to remove the belt loops altogether, as they have no place on tux pants. If no suspender buttons are present, sew them onto the pants and have him use suspenders. Do not have him wear clip on suspenders, only button on. Lastly, have him wear a cummerbund, they cover up the waistband and make for a much more elegant appearance. These are all things that should not be strayed from, in my opinion. Please let me know if you have any other questions, hope this helps.
      -JLJ

  5. My son’s prom date is wearing a red dress. What complimentary tux should he wear? Black with red accents? Or gray?

    • Shelley,
      Personally, if you are set on coordinating with the date I would go for a black tux and red pocket square, of boutonniere. I wouldn’t really go for making anything else red. But then again, I am not a big fan or having anything on a mans tux coordinate with his date’s dress. A man in a tux is elegant in his own right.
      -JLJ

  6. Very helpful info. Fortuitous myself I came across your web blog accidentally, and i am stunned why this twist of fate don’t came into being before! My partner and i added that.

  7. 1. Cummerbund or vest?

    2. Is rule #4 Not to be broken or free to break? I have a smooth satin lapel and stripe on tux but I just bought a satin tie with ribbed texture.

  8. Marc:
    1. Whichever you prefer. Me, I like a proper waistcoat, but they can be much harder to find than cummerbunds. Whichever you choose, it’s purpose is to cover the waistline of your trousers. If at all possible, stay away from vests cut for 3 piece suits – you want as deep a swath of white visible as possible to create a more dramatic effect. A proper tuxedo waistcoat will be cut low to achieve this; a more standard vest is cut much higher.

    2. Check out blacktieguide.com. The standard is to match tie material to facings. I’m honestly not sure beyond that.

  9. The leather straps of my suspenders are showing above the cummerbund. Although I am shorter, I don’t think my height makes a difference as the cummerbund seems to be in the right place. Is this OK to be showing, or do I need to adjust the cb upwards?

    • William,
      Good question. The tips of my suspender leather straps also show much of the time. I have never thought much of it, I frankly don’t think the cummerbund can cover the entire bit of leather straps. So as far as I am concerned you’re fine. I think its most important that the cummerbund covers your waistband and the bit of shirting fabric between waistband and button on jacket.
      -Justin

  10. I have worn a tuxedo for a very long time. I have owned all of them and I have five currently-one a tail suit. I have always worn suspenders (braces to the Brits) with them and I find the positioning of them to be even with the pleats of the tuxedo trousers and then you can buckle the cummerbund so it does hide the leather strap. You don’t EVER wear clip-on suspenders with a tuxedo nor should you in daily wear. The main purpose in any case of wearing suspenders with a tuxedo is to allow more freedom of movement along the waist as well as positioning the top of the trouser properly so the cummerbund covers the waistline and the fourth stud (or button if not wearing studs-you should wear shirt studs with a tux shirt!) of the shirt. Then when the coat goes on, it looks seamless in every way. And if you prefer a vest/waistcoat you should wear suspenders as well. This way, you don’t risk a major faux pas during the event you attend.

    • If the purpose of a waistcoat/cummerbund is to hide the suspender tabs/waistline/buttons, then what is the difference if they are clip on or not, all things being equal?
      FYI I love my side suspenders by Duluth–made for truckers, but great on the plane, sitting at my desk or at the opera as there is nothing digging into my back. And the fact that it looks a bit like a shoulder gun holster adds some bad boy mystique.

      • William,
        You bring up a good point. To be honest , I am sure there is a reason that I do not know about. I strongly dislike clip ons because I think they look tacky and I don’t want something clipping the waistband of my trousers. But if the clips can’t be seen… I still wouldn’t want something clipping to my waistband. The guys from The Armoury seem to love clip ons, I don’t know why.
        -JLJ

        • One of the reasons I can see for not wearing clipons for suspenders is that a tuxedo is a very expensive item. Repeated use of clipons could be very damaging to the fabric of the waistband, even if you hid it under the cummerbund.

        • Two (and a half) reasons not to wear clip-on suspenders.
          1) Clip-ons are usually narrower than button suspenders and are almost always made of inferior materials i.e. elastic vs. silk. I’ve seen cheap elastic button suspenders, but never silk clip-ons. Also, silk button suspenders are usually the proper 1.5″ wide, while most cheap elasic clip-ons are 1″ or less.
          2) More importantly, though your waist covering will likely cover the clips, imagine your embarrassment and utter horror should one of the clips accidentally become unfastened while you’re “killing it” on the dance floor! This is extremely unlikely to happen with buttons.

  11. Hi,
    I am wearing a white dinner jacket accompanied with a buttoned shirt, black bow tie and black tuxedo trousers..do I wear black shoes that have a glossy finish or shine to it or simply go for a natural black? For a pocket square, is black the only colour suitable?

  12. Hi, I’m getting married soon, and my fiancee and I are leaning towards me wearing a white tie. My question is, what do I accompany that with? I am having difficulty locating a white cummerbund, and am not even sure that would be the proper thing to wear. Any help you could offer in setting up the right “look” would be greatly appreciated.

    • John,
      A white cummerbund is not an appropriate thing to wear. That’s probably why you haven’t found any. If your dress code is asking for people to wear tuxedos then just go for black tie – keep it simple and classic. If you are trying to do some ‘creative’ black tie type of thing you could do a patterned tie and cummerbund or madras if its summer. Hope this helps.
      -JLJ

  13. Hello! Can I wear a white jacket and pants, then a gray vest? I’m actually having a hard time with these kind of stuff. Thank you!

    • Carlo,
      I wouldn’t touch the gray vest. A white dinner jacket is fine, as long as its in season, keep the pants black. But the gray vest I can’t see working. Stick with a cummerbund with the white jacket. Hope this helps.
      -JLJ

  14. hey – could I please have some advice…I have a badass midnight blue velvet jacket. what colour / material trousers should I go for? what about the bow tie?

    • RP,
      Sounds like a great jacket. I would say the best way to go is with black wool trousers for more formal occasions. If you want to be a little more casual, you could do charcoal trousers. I would keep the bot tie black, again, for formal occasions. For non black tie occasions, depending on your personal style you could stick with black or go with burgundy, pink, lavender etc… Wear it with confidence.
      -JLJ

      • Thanks! Its for a formal occasion – for which i am hosting / compere – so i will go for the black trousers and black tie. fingers crossed!

  15. I am getting married soon and we are both wearing white. What can we do about the tux pants? They are a little see through and I don’t like seeing the pockets

    • H. Meeks,
      I would recommend having a tailor remove the pockets and sew them shut. That should eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t have pockets, but sacrifices must be made sometimes. Congrats on getting married!
      -JLJ

  16. hie
    I am getting married and tuxedo is a off white jacket which has a black collar and black pants.. wondering what color shirt I can wear? the options are have are wearing a black shirt and a black bow tie. em having a challenge getting a off white shirt that matches the jacket.

    • Hey Neville, go with a regular white tuxedo shirt – probably with a turn-down collar, as the wing collar is a bit formal with the pale jacket. The shirt and jacket aren’t meant to match exactly. Keep the black bow tie, and if you can see some shirt above the trousers, get a black cummerbund (or a very dark red if you want a splash of color).

  17. Hi
    I was wondering if it is appropriate to wear a hat with a tuxedo. If so, what hat? Also what kind of overcoat should I wear? I really enjoyed the article by the way. Thank you in advance, Ethan

    • Ethan,
      Yes of course you can wear a hat. A believe a black homburg would be ideal. A top hat should be reserved for white tie. For an overcoat a chesterfield or a classic dark solid overcoat in wool/cashmere would be appropriate. If you are of a certain mindset you could even go for a polo coat.
      -JLJ

  18. What are your thoughts on wearing a bow tie and a classic collared shirt? I just don’t like the traditional tuxedo collars.

    Thanks
    CW

  19. Those are a lot of rules, most of which are frequently broken by men, and that’s perfectly okay actually. These rules are very traditional rules. Versace, Zegna, Hugo Boss, among many other high-end brands break half of the traditional tuxedo style rules nowadays. For example, notch lapels are very common. Black ties (actual black ties) are worn all the time with a tuxedo.

  20. I’m the man of honor in a wedding in spain and I always wear a hat… I am going bald and just don’t feel comfortable not wearing one especially since I’ll be making a speech etc. What is appropriate for the occasion and the setting? The bride is supportive but would rather I didn’t for the ceremony. I don’t want to wear a top hat.. was thinking a fedora or dare I say – a kangol style cap. The bride is in fashion so she’s down for whatever… thoughts. help??!

    • Chris,
      I would not recommend wearing a hat for the ceremony, regardless of what the dress is. Especially if it is inside. It is just not appropriate and even worse you run the risk of drawing attention away from the bride, groom and ceremony and toward yourself. For the reception, photos and rest of wedding, I would also advise against wearing a hate except when outside. Hats are not appropriate when indoors at any type of more formal event. And don’t wear a Kangol hat, ever. A fedora is okay with a suit, but not at a wedding. Sorry to come down a little hard on this one but I just don’t think hats are appropriate at a wedding.
      -JLJ

  21. i wanna ask, can i wear a long tie with my tux? if i can, is it necessary to wear a long tie of same color and material as of my lapels or can i wear a tie of some other color? plz help

  22. i just wanna ask that can i wear a long tie with my tuxedo instead of a bow tie? and if i can, is it necessary to wear the long tie of same color and material as of my lapels? plz help…..

  23. Hi,
    Can I wear a black dress shirt with a white tux (Shawl collar; single button!!). Coloured self tied bow tie? Dressing semi formal for Caribbean cruising.

    • Denis,
      Avoid black dress shirts like the plague unless you are on the waitstaff and that is your uniform. White dinner jacket is a good call for a Caribbean cruise, however. You could change up the shirt color (pink or light blue), id recommend keeping the tie classic and black.
      -JLJ

  24. With a midnight blue dinner jacket, can one wear a black tie and waistcoat? Or do they have to match the lapels of the jacket?

    Thank you

    • Laura,
      Usually the lapels on a midnight blue dinner jacket are black, but in the event you (or your man) were able to find one with midnight blue lapels that is badass and I am jealous. Either way, I think it would be ideal if the tie and waistcoat matched the lapels, whether they are black or blue, but in the event they are blue, i think you could get away with a black tie and waistcoat.

  25. I’m wondering if a scarlet cummerbund, bowtie, and pocket square would be appropriate for a semi formal Christmas party. Also, I have a half inch pleated shirt and was curious as to the level of formality of both.

  26. Also, in terms of jewelry and watches, I wear gold rings (containing diamonds only, no other stones) and was wondering if I could wear my gold Rolex to match. Are watches frowned upon in formal/semi formal settings?

    • Adam,
      Traditionally, watches are inappropriate with a tux. The reason being, as far I know, is that it is rude to check the time in the presence of your host. That said, if one is to wear a watch with a tux I think it best to stick to dress watches – ones with smaller faces and leather straps. I always find metal banded watches to be too casual and eye drawing to be fitting with a tux. So depending on what rolex you have it could or could not work.
      -JLJ

  27. Are Black and White Wingtips ever permitted with a Tux? Seems strange but I have seen the look before (and not just in Mens Wearhouse Prom Catalogues…) and it actually looked rather tasteful. Thoughts?

    • SMM,
      Black and white wingtips (also known as spectators, if we are talking about the same thing) are by nature a more casual shoe. Personally, I would not wear them with a tux, I think most traditionalists would side with me on this, for what it matters. However, if the dress code is something like black tie optional or you really want to get creative I guess you could go for it. But do keep in mind that when others look at you they may also think of said Mens Wearhouse prom catalogue.
      -JLJ

  28. Heey!! Umm so i’m wearing a black tux and vest to a friend’s weadding, I was wondering if you could help me out with what color of tie and shirt i could wear..?

  29. Hi
    I just had a midnight blue tux tailored with black silk lapels.
    Im trying to decide on shoes and wanted to be a little different.
    Whats your feel on loafers or belgians and what colour? I was thinking brown velvet and no socks but am wondering whether I can pull it off..
    Thoughts?

    Thoughts?

    • Gunnar,
      Belgians over loafers. I would avoid loafers for black tie but there is something strangely right about Belgians. I think just wearing Belgians is enough to be a little different, no need to make them brown, black would be more appropriate, whereas brown not appropriate at all.
      -JLJ

  30. I’ll be wearing a black tuxedo for my friend’s wedding. It’s not the actual wedding but a party the day before where the dress code is tuxedo/gowns. I would want to remain formal but also add a bit of colour. I’m going to get mine custom-tailored so I can really do anything I want with it. Most websites say only one accessory should be colored but I was wondering if a deep vest and the pocket square could both be colored? Something like this – http://students.cardenarborview.org/diana/tuxedos.html (top right)

    PS. Bow tie remains black for sure!

      • Priyesh,
        I think a single button shawl collar jacket is very elegant, you can’t go wrong with it. For the vest and pocket square (accessory issue); personally, I am okay with colored vests, however, the key is to keep it tasteful (which obviously is a personal matter to you). I would shy away from the solid color ones like the purple one in that photo as I think they often look cheap. I think it would be fine to have the pocket square complement (but not match) the vest, keep it a solid color one, no patterns with tuxes. But I think a white square would still be best.
        -JLJ

  31. Can you also recommend what type of collar is more appropriate being the groom. I like the shawl collar jacket, black bow tie, appropriate pants without cummerband andbutton down shirt with black button n french cuffs. What do you suggest?

    • Chad,
      I think shawl collars are very elegant and a man can do no wrong with a shawl collared dinner jacket. I think the black buttons on the shirt are a tasteful way to do a slightly different take on black tie. Just make sure that the pants are fine to wear w/o a cummerbund (ie have a satin waistband or something of the like). It sounds like you are trying to do a little different take than the classic tux, you could also don some velvet slippers instead of the more formal lace ups. But all in all, sounds like a good look!
      -JLJ

    • Chad,
      I would stick to black for the waistcoat. But if you want to change it up a little a company called Favourbrook out of the UK makes some solid vests/waistcoats. Personally, however, I think that a waistcoat is better paired with peak lapels than a shawl collar. And a cummerbund goes better with shawl collar. But that is just my opinion on the matter.
      -JLJ

  32. I’ve got a tuxedo jacket and pants made. Black, shawl lapel, single-breasted and one button. Have to figure out the rest now.

    Shirt – Wing collar or turn down? I actually don’t mind the black band showing but I’m not sure which one to wear. French cuffs. Pleats/No pleats? Buttons?

    Tie – Black bow-tie. What material should it be/match?

    Vest vs Cummerband – Either way, it’s going to be black. Which one do you think looks better with a shawl lapel? I was going to go with a vest but looking around online, I think a cummerband would look better with a shawl lapel. I still probably like the vest. (I’ll probably have my button closed for half of it and there’s dancing after, so will have the jacket button open/no jacket for the second half)

    Shoes – I think patent leather is too flashy. Well polished cap-toes?

    Pocket square – White? Reddish maroon? I would like some colour somewhere.

  33. Hi. I see little written on a double-breasted jacket. I have both single and double. I am going on a cruise and want to cress in appropriate formal attire for formal dinners. Would your recommend the single or double breasted jacket. I have a cummerbund for the single jacket. And, I have an assortment of bow ties from black to blue, yellow and red with matching jacket pocket handkerchiefs. I normally use a lay down collar but have both lay down and standup. Thanks for any advice.

  34. Bought an amazing Black Velvet tuxedo jacket with satin trim on the lapels and buttons. I want to wear this with my normal black tux pants with the satin stripe but they aren’t as black as the jacket. Am I asking for trouble? Also what type of black bow tie do you rec with this?

  35. I hate to invoke the word “wrong,” but it applies to your rule #19. A button down shirt should NEVER ever be worn with a tuxedo. It looks informal enough with a suit and is totally inappropriate with black tie. And for what it’s worth, I cannot find a single reputable authority on the subject who agrees with you.

    • I think what Rule # 19 means is button-down collar. You can argue about how proper or informal it looks with a suit and business attire. But I have NEVER seen a tuxedo shirt – meaning a shirt with studs, or pleats, or a bib – with a button-down collar. That doesn’t mean I’ve never been to an event where some fool was wearing a rental tuxedo with a clip-on bow tie and short sleeve cotton-blend Oxford shirt with a button-down collar.
      But I agree with rule #19.
      DON’T DO IT! You might as well put elbow patches on your dinner jacket while you’re at it.

      • CORRECTION.
        What I meant to say is:
        I think Rule # 19 is referring to a button-down placket, (as opposed to the classier look of studs or a fly-front).
        What LAStyleGuy is referring to is a button-down collar, so I think that we’re all in agreement about button-down collars. Thus, I stand by the remainder of what I said in my original comment, which is:
        We can argue about how dressy or informal a button-down collar looks with a suit and business attire. But I have NEVER seen a tuxedo shirt – meaning a shirt with studs, or pleats, or a bib – with a button-down collar. That doesn’t mean I’ve never been to an event at which there some fool sporting a rental tuxedo with a clip-on bow tie and a short sleeve cotton-blend Oxford shirt with a button-down collar.
        I do agree though with rule #19 vis-a-vis the placket. Personally, I prefer studs or a fly-front. However, buttons aren’t the worst sartorial faux pax I’ve encountered.
        Just NEVER WEAR A BUTTON-DOWN COLLAR WITH A TUXEDO! You might as well put elbow patches on your dinner jacket while you’re at it.

  36. I read your article with interest and was surprised that I agreed with everything in there… apart from button down collars (no chance!). Also, wing collars should only be worn for white tie – a nice spread collar is the way to go.

    One rule I think you’re missing is that the jacket should have either no vents, or side vents. A centre vent is also considered inappropriate.

    WM

  37. Dear fine young gentleman~~

    It’s to do with night trousers~~

    It is the high winter season and~~I’m so sorry~~but~~we must disagree as to evening clothes on one point~~at which our paths diverge~~

    I always wear 1&3/4″ cuffs on my evening trousers–when I was very young I was at table fairly often with the Prince Ali Khan and he wore silk gray calf-length check socks and 1&3/4″ cuffs and full forward pleats~~and always a flower in his jacket~~with his evening clothes~~and His Day Grays as well~~I asked him the inches.~~

    I followed His lead with night trousers and many other habits~~as he was a Prince and as He was Italian~~as am I~~both from our mothers~~

    Prince was a great sportsman and was always out on the town at Washington with Jackie Kennedy and her girlfriends~~we’d known Jack and his family for a long time~~and he never seemed to go out socially with Jackie–ever~~and this was a good bit before Jack was President~~

    Prince Ali Khan was a fairly wild boy~~in particular as to girls~~ but very funny–and a professional racing jockey and an avid racing car driver~~a sport that proved out his undoing~~as he drove like a madman and while he had his mechanic in the car~~he insisted on taking the wheel~~and banishing the mechanic to the back seat~~and died in a terrible crash at Paris.

    Many tailors are startled that I wear cuffs at night~~once one said to me~~

    “Sir~~it is not my place to offer advice to you..”

    I said “Yes~~it is not~~so then~~don’t.”

    Happy Christmas and New Year’s Day~~2014

    Jack Begg~~

    • Wow! So you hung out with a prince who hung out with Jackie Kennedy.
      But I don’t get it. What? Because he was a “Prince” he automatically

      knew how to dress, or whatever he chose to wear automatically

      became proper fashion? That’s how most of the Hollywood actors

      think, and you can see how utterly ridiculous they look at award

      shows!
      Besides, from the tragic end of your story it doesn’t seem that this

      Prince of yours was all that smart. I hope you didn’t take driving

      tips from him too.
      Or was your point because many many years ago you sat at a table

      with a prince who occasionally hung out with Jackie Kennedy’s friends,

      and because you happen to be ITALIAN, that whatever you NOW decide is

      fashionable and appropriate is therefore sartorially unimpeachable?
      Perhaps you SHOULD take advice from your tailor. After all, though he

      may never have met an actual prince, it is his job to know proper style. I’m also pretty sure that he makes clothing for more than a few other people who also never met a prince.
      Bottom line: You may have seen someone “get away with it”; you may even think it looks good; but Italian or not, TUXEDO TROUSERS SHOULD NOT BE CUFFED. It’s just that if you happen to be a prince, none of the fawning women or glad-handing men in your posse will tell you that you look ridiculous. (One may actually crovel on the floor to measure the width of you bell-bottoms and then imitate your wardrobe down to the very stitch for the next five decades. But if you’re a prince, no one will tell you that what you’re wearing looks silly.)

  38. I am looking for a solid tuxedo for my wedding. I am considering wearing a single brested lapel jacket with cumberbun, braces, and bow tie a black paisely fabric. However the lapel and pants will not also have the black paisley pattern and am concerned this may be an issue.

    Also, wanting to slightly stand out from my groomsmen I was thinking of doing of the following:

    1) I would be the only one with cumberbun and bow tie combo while the others only wear braces and bow tie (from reading above I think this is a no no)

    2) I would be the only one with vest or waistcoat and bow tie combo while the others have the cumberbun braces and bow tie combo.

    Which option do you believe is best and/or if neither what would you suggest I do to subtley stand out from my groomsmen if we all will wear black tuxedos?

    http://www.suspendersinstock.com/calabria-black-paisley-tuxedo-suspenders/

    http://www.finetuxedos.com/white-tapestry-cummerbund-bowtie-set.html

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/200984162886?lpid=82

  39. As a woman, all of this is new to me, on top of the fact I don’t attend many formal events. I’m only just now researching this for my future wedding. What I would like to do is a white on white affair but formal. Is it possible/appropriate for the groom and his men to wear all white and still be formal? I was thinking white tuxedo jacket and pants with a satin shawl lapel, so satin stripe on the pants, and white accessories, but ties instead of bow ties. I’m mostly finding that white tuxedos are worn with black shoes. Is that just traditionally or do you think it would be distasteful to wear white ones? And if it is ok, would a polished leather still be suitable? FYI, we live in Louisiana. I want to be different but I don’t want to look stupid.

    • The short answer is that all-white is never appropriate for a dinner suit. A proper white dinner jacket is off-white or light ivory, as wool or mohair fibres don’t come in pure white, and worn with black trousers, a white evening shirt with double cuffs, a black bow tie and a black or if you want to bed daring a burgundy or patterned cummerbund. Black shoes are non-negotiable. Also, all dinner jackets and tailcoats are only worn in the evenings (after 6), and white is only appropriate during the summer months unless you live in a tropical climate. I don’t know if Louisiana qualifies. A white dinner jacket is always a slightly less formal option, and best suited for outside garden parties or country club events.
      I will offer you two pieces of advice:

      1. Do not try to be different. The risk that it will look stupid, especially in the case of a self-admitted novice, is too great.
      2. Please read http://www.blacktieguide.com

  40. Hi,
    I’m meeting a bunch of friends before a semi formal masquerade party on New Year’s eve. The weather looks to be inclement. I have a trench coat, but it is navy blue and the tux is black, can I get by with it? Secondly, we will be going to restaurant before the main event, can I take off my tux when we sit to eat or does it stay on?

    • Joe,
      Do not take your jacket off at dinner, especially in from of females. If you must, the trenchcoat will do. But technically, it is not a proper coat to wear with a tux, as it is not formal enough to complement the tux.
      -JLJ

  41. in the month of Feb. we have a istall of a lodge. at 1430 till 1630 very Formal! after we have a aperitiv – later at 1730 a Formal Dinner. it’s no time or place to Chance the Outfit! is it still good to Dress Black Tie????? sorry my englih is not up to Standard.
    regards
    p.p.

  42. I would like to ask your guidance for wearing an overcoat with a tux during cold weather. What type and color are appropriate? Thanks. B.

    • Ben,
      I think a chesterfield, polo coat or a simple single or double breasted overcoat in wool or cashmere (black being the ideal color, navy or camel also work) are the ideal solutions as far as I am concerned.
      -JLJ

  43. Dear Sir
    I wondered what your thoughts were on the accompaniment to a single breast black velvet dinner jacket. Cummerbund? Waistcoat? Should the trousers differ?

    Yours

  44. Hi,

    My wedding is this year. I’m getting a tux tailored, black or slight variation. Bridesmaid dresses are cranberry. Groomsman are wearing cranberry bow ties. I’m wearing cranberry cravat. Question is do I wear a cranberry, black, or an ivory waistcoat as is the brides dress. Thanks for your help in advance

  45. Iwas given a tux for Christmas that uses suspenders. I would much rather have the adjustable side straps with the cam buckles. I cannot find any tailor that has these. Can you tell me how I can get them?

    • Bill Carner,
      It sounds like you are doing exactly what I would do, search for a decent tailor in your area who can add them to your pants. Given that it is a tux it shouldn’t be too hard to find a black fabric that works with the black fabric of the pants. Depending on what brand the tux is, you could inquire with the brand to see if they can add them or have any recommendations. Godspeed.
      -JLJ

  46. I understand an off white (white) dinner jacket is out of season, but in the summer when paired with black bowtie and cummerbund, does one wear black tuxeo pants (typical side stripe) or black dress pants? ie. Dress for black tie then simply swap out jacket for satin no-notch lapel cream (white) jacket?

  47. We are having a non traditional, but classic look, wedding in late September. We are doing things very differently, including having the reception before the wedding, and the ceremony after sundown. I want to wear winter white trousers, with a white, pleated, wing tip shirt, with an aqua colored vest and tie. I also want to wear a black tuxedo jacket with peak lapels, for the ceremony. I think this will work with our “non traditional wedding” look…almost the reverse of a classic white tie dress. I am debating on shoe color…black or a white color that would match the trousers?? Your thoughts?

    • Duque,
      To be honest, I cannot imagine a situation in which having an aqua colored vest will look good. I think a slight off white (like cream) would look best for the trousers. And for the shoes go with black, they will tie in with the jacket, and with the stripe on the tux pants if you get white or cream pants (which I advise you get the satin stripe on). Congratulations on getting married!
      -JLJ

  48. I have a nice one button black shawl collar tuxedo. I’m going on a Med cruise on Nov.I & would like 3 different combinations to wear.{Would you consider possibly wearing white pants as a change?) I’ve only seen it once in a magazine.

    • Terri,
      I would potentially do cream colored pants with a black satin strip along the stitching as is done on black pants. I feel like white would be a little too much contrast between jacket and pants.
      -JLJ

  49. Hello! I was curious if you thought a grey dinner jacket with grey satin lapels and one button (similar to the one offered by brooks brothers) was an appropriate alternative to the classic white jacket during the warm summer months. Ceartainly many of the grey dinner jackets are terrible with the black satin lapels and the notch lapels and two or more buttons. I am asking this question because I am going to a themed formal party where a grey dinner jacket would be appropriate because of the theme and was wondering if I bought it instead of rented it whether it would have an appropriate aplication outside of this themed party. If not I will just rent it for this one event. Thanks! (and i really enjoyed the article)

    • Zachary,
      I think a gray dinner jacket could be quite elegant. For any season. Although to be honest, I don’t think there is anything wrong with black lapels on a gray jacket, nor a problem with gray lapels on a gray jacket. When wearing a black bowtie the black lapels will tie better with the bow tie than gray lapels. Just something to think about. Whatever you decide, would love to see the final jacket, feel free to email me at justin@thefineyounggentleman.com.
      -JLJ

  50. Dear FYJ
    I have inherited my grandfather’s circa 1930 tails and pants, and plan to wear them to a black tie prom in April. I have a feather bow-tie (brackish.com) to wear. My questions: what type of shirt and what type of vest should I wear? Can I wear white piqué for both shirt and vest? Should the shirt be pleated, or plain front? Must the shirt have holes for buttons and studs, or can it have sewn-on buttons? Should the vest be white or black?
    Thank you.

      • Dear FYJ

        Dress code for prom is creative black tie. The tails fit and look good, so I’m wearing them–less expensive than renting, and they look better.

        Really appreciate your advice.
        Thanks!
        James

  51. Dear JLJ
    Dress code for prom is “formal”, so I have some latitude. The tails look better than anything I could rent.

    Thank you for your advice!
    James

  52. This question does not regard a tuxedo however I’m still curious. I have a dark grey pair of pants as well as a charcoal grey jacket. The two do not match. Along with this I was planning on wearing a white shirt with a dark navy tie. For shoes and belt, I was considering either both black or both a matching lighter brown. Thoughts and suggestions on this ensemble please. Thanks

  53. I am putting together a custom tuxedo for my wedding in six months. I think I have a line on most of what I need. But where would I find a honeycomb textured shirt like the one in the picture at the top of this page? If I could find a shirt fabric like that and have a shirt made, I’d be set. Any advice is appreciated.

    • Mike M on April 2, 2014 at 3:37 am said:

      REPOST: I am putting together a custom tuxedo for my wedding in six months. I think I have a line on most of what I need. But where would I find a honeycomb textured shirt like the one in the picture at the top of this page? If I could find a shirt fabric like that and have a shirt made, I’d be set. Any advice is appreciated.

    • Kody,
      Either go the custom route (preferably), or get a well fitting one off the rack. Most rental places that I have seen charge 75-125, so after only a few rentals you will have paid off your investment.
      -Justin

  54. You have mentioned each and everything about how to wear a tuxedo but the only thing missing in your blog is a “Vent”. Traditionally a tuxedo should never have vents, but if you want to add vents than make sure to get twice. But most of the people are wearing single vented jacket to look unique. Daniel Craig while performing style icon James Bond role in Skyfall wore a single vented jacket. Thank your Blog again!

    Skyfall Suit

  55. Is it okay to wear a turn down collar shirt with a white marcella bow tie? Or is the wing collar the only acceptable option? Thanks for you help.

  56. I purchased a wool white dinner jacket with shaw lapels for a June wedding. I don’t have black pants with strip down the side, can I wear a nice pair of black wool pants with our a cuff instead?

  57. For a prom (great tux, all the other ducks in a row according to your rules) – can the pocket square be a fun pattern that coordinates with the bow tie? Or does it always need to be white?
    Thank you!

  58. I’m going to my prom this Saturday, I bought my own tux, however I have to option of a regular white tuxedo shirt or a dress up shirt. I am leaning towards the regular dress up just because it seems to complement my date without messing up the tux, I know I’m breaking the rules but is my girl and I can’t really say no. Do I put the cuffs and studs on the regular button up? Or just go complete classic and ditch the dress up shirt?

    Thanks!

    • Jonathan,
      I have no idea what you mean by a dress up shirt. But just on principle I would recommend that you do you and just wear the tux shirt. Don’t worry about complementing your date, that is too many times the downfall of a good outfit.
      -Justin

  59. Fantastic point, other than your useful tips you only mentioned some valid points in your blog. If you are wearing a tuxedo for special occasion than never never rent a tux because it wont give you a special looks, try to order the tuxedo cut and finish according to your measurements. I am completely agreed with your view about the come back of Midnight blue tuxedo, Daniel Craig in his three movies wore navy tuxedo two times they are seriously at their peak or you can say boom level. Again want to let you know that this is something a fantastic post, thanks for posting it!

  60. Hello,
    I am attending my prom in a couple of weeks time and am concerned that I may need to change my suit jacket. I have opted for a brown tweed jacket with black pants and brown brogues. Is this inappropriate for a formal event? Will I look smart enough?
    I feel after reading the rules and comments that I should change to a black jacket but when I first tried on my suit I was under the impression that it looked formal enough – now I am not so sure.
    Thank you,
    Andrew.

  61. Hi,

    I’m planning my outfit for my wedding, and want to go down the tux route rather than the top hat and tails. However, I want to mix things up a bit with my outfit and I’m thinking velvet. Do I play safe and opt for just a velvet jacket with black trousers, or do I go all out with a full 3 piece velvet suit? The colour in question would be a midnight blue or dark purple. I also would most likely be wearing a white shirt with a black bow tie.

    Great piece by the way!

    Thanks in advance!

  62. I am wearing a white dinner jacket and black tux pants for my wedding. Groomsmen will be in standard black tux. 2 questions – 1. would a colored pocket square or tie be appropriate for anyone to add some color, 2. What is the most appropriate shirt to wear with the white jacket?

    • Mike,
      Congrats on getting married. Aside from the white pocket square I see some men pull off a red or burgundy one well. Some have even done a black one well. For the shirt either a pleated front shirt with turndown collar or non pleated turndown collar shirt (ie a really nice french cuff spread collar shirt).
      -Justin

  63. I am wearing a midnight blue peak lapel slim fit Dior Tux for my wedding. Assuming i would wear a black satin bow-tie, black cap toe shoes? Or blue bow-tie? Would it be too much to wear a pocket square? What color would be best? I think white brings it down, but a midnight blue satin pocket square could be nice? Any other rules for a midnight blue tux?

    • Mike,
      A pocket square would definitely not be too much. Just go with a simple white linen one and you will be good to go. I wouldn’t wear a midnight blue one because it will not contrast with the midnight blue of the tux. I would match the color of your bow tie with the color of your lapels. None others that I can think of, simplicity is often best, the midnight blue speaks for itself.
      -Justin

  64. Hi,
    I am attending a fraternity ball soon and would be wearing a tuxedo. I have a medal (given by a fraternal order) which I want to pin on. Can I pin on my medal on a tux? Is it acceptable? If yes, where? On the lapel or on the chest itself?
    Very brilliant website you have going on here.
    Raymond

    • Raymond,
      I believe in the most technical and most appropriate manner you can only wear the medal when full dress is prescribed. The placement of the medal I believe depends on the type of medal, but I could be wrong. The lapel or chest would be the two most common places, the lapel the most. To be honest it’s not something I have a ton of experience with, I only have one medal and only wear it when full dress or medals are prescribed. That said, if you wore it, I doubt many people, if anyone would think it inappropriate.
      -Justin

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