Tuxedo Fashions

Real Men Wear Tuxedos

Real Men Wear Tuxedos


They are ever present in the celebrity laden, highest levels of society from which we draw our fashion and style inspiration. They are without question the one piece of clothing that is most synonymous with elegance and timeless élan. Tuxedos are universally flattering, capable of creating a dashing gentleman out of everyone, from first time prom-goers to dusty old diplomats.  Of course James Bond, perhaps the most prominent tuxedo wearer of all time, proves that even a man “Licensed to Kill” can do so while looking suave and sophisticated. The tuxedo’s cinematic connotations of style and charm are responsible for making the collective female species moon and swoon over any man wearing this timeless piece of formalwear. As the one garment worn at few, but the most special occasions, it deserves to be of the very highest quality and perfectly tailored. The bottom line is there is nothing that a man can, or will, ever wear that will instantly catapult him to the lofty height of Sexy Sophistication.

Now the big question: how to navigate that always elusive “Black Tie” dress code? Unlike less formal dress codes such as Beach Attire, Casual, Business Casual, Cocktail or Holiday, the “Black Tie” code is really quite strict, a very easy code to master. Just follow this simple guide below to get ready for your next cocktail party, gala opening, wedding, opera visit or high-speed Man-of-Mystery car pursuit.

The Dress Code

Technically, “Black Tie” is for eveningwear, appropriate at any formal evening events. It is not technically a formal dress code, such as “White tie” (i.e. Full-Dress Tails). Black Tie is the most formal of semi-formal events. Today, it is rare for events to be more formal than a Black Tie event (think White House State Dinner). Black Tie concisely means wear a tuxedo, a formal shirt a Bow Tie (not a ‘normal’ black tie) and a few other bits and pieces of formal accessories.

The tuxedo is always distinguished by satin faced or trimmed lapels and minimal detailing. The outfit should look “clean”. Following the Black Tie code is a sign of respect towards your fellow guests, as it has been put in place to ensure attendees are all (at least appearance wise) on the same level and that no man will ever outshine the women. On the other hand, exceptional fit, tailoring and quality are the best ways to stand out in a sea of black.  Perhaps that is why 007 always gravitated towards a white formal jacket. It’s impossible to ever imagine Mr. Bond not standing out in a crowd.

The Fabric

First, you must make a very essential decision for your tuxedo: the color. Traditionally tuxedos were of dark fabric, usually black. In recent years, midnight blue and burgundy have also become hugely popular colors. The complete opposite, namely white or ivory, are equally classic and appropriate for summer or warmer climates. Just be careful. It is a more difficult look to pull off and you are guaranteed that you will stand out.

Whatever color you choose, just make sure that you select a fabric with a rich sheen and a luxurious feel. Remember, the tuxedo is worn in glamorous situations, not the right occasions to make a denim or camo statement.  A Super-120 wool, mohair or silk is always perfect.

The Jacket

A safe and elegant option is a one-button single breasted tuxedo. Two buttons are fine, always worn with the lower button undone. Double-breasted styles of any button configuration are once again sneaking into the fashion scene, but keep in mind that they often appear to add some ‘bulk’ to the body. The buttons should be simple and satin covered.

The lapel style is also very important. The classic, formal option is peak lapel, or for the less adventurous, a notch lapel. Some people consider the shawl lapel to be somewhat less formal, but technically quite acceptable. Today, the shawl lapel has become very popular, especially in slim-skinny tuxedos favored by the young, gym-fit, fashion cognoscenti. Single or double vents, clean besom pockets and a no excessive ornamentation are all features of today’s fashionable tuxedos.

The Trousers

Today the trousers (pants) should feature no pleats or cuffs and have straight pockets following the side seam leg seams, in order to make them less visible. Tuxedos should never be worn with belts. If you need help keeping your pants up where they belong, use suspenders (braces). The front closure should be clip-only, avoiding the button. Classically, the trousers will have a satin silk stripe or beading along the outer side seam of each leg to compliment the lapel facing. This is a very classy detail, but nowadays sometimes considered old-fashioned.

The Waist Covering

The shirt should not be visible at the waist, which calls for a something covering the gap between trousers and jacket.  Most gentlemen will wear either a cummerbund or formal vest.  Traditionally, this is non-negotiable, but these days you often see people wearing no waist covering at all. The times they are a’changing.

The Shirt

The shirt should be plain white cotton or silk. It should have a ‘bib’ running down the front which provides stiffness (i.e. a higher level of formality). This is made either with vertical pleats in matching fabric or by attaching a textured pique fabric. The collar can be a normal laydown variety or a wing collar, which has little points turned down where the collar would be, exposing the collar band. The cuffs should be double (French cuff), to accommodate cufflinks. Most people also forego the buttons on evening shirts in favor of jewelry studs (often matched with the cufflinks). Finally, please don’t even consider a black or colored shirt unless you are attending the Grammys or an MTV award show.

The Bow Tie

This is THE crucial accessory: bow tie. Elegant, rich and ideally self-tied, as pre-tied ones tend to look artificial. With the bow tie, you can play around a little and add some subtle color, texture or pattern, but remember to pay due respect to the dress code.

The Accessories

Cufflinks and studs should be simple luxury metals and mother-of-pearl or onyx insets are nice touches. The shoes should be black patent leather. The style is personal preference, with slip-ons and plain lace oxfords are both acceptable. If you can’t bring yourself to buy a pair of patent shoes, make sure you spit-polish your dressiest black pair flawlessly. A slim wrist or pocket watch and boutonniere are other possible accessories. Finish it off with an elegant pocket square. You can fold it any way you like, but we’re fans of the simple “puff” fold.

That’s it; you’re ready to take your next Black Tie event by storm! If you have any questions or would like to be certain that you are perfectly attired, just call your formalwear specialists at Tuxedo Fashions.

Formally yours,



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