14 Rules for Wearing a Tuxedo

Let’s face it. Most men may only wear a tuxedo a handful of times in their lives. So it really is no wonder that we get questions about how to wear a tuxedo on almost a daily basis.  Black tie attire is fairly simple to achieve. However, there are some rules that should not be broken and some that are free to be broken, in good taste of course.

This is by no means a comprehensive listing of formal wear etiquette. However, it should be sufficient to get any gentleman off to a good start. Here are some helpful tips to properly don a tuxedo at your next formal event.

1. When wearing a single-breasted tuxedo, thou shall always wear a cummerbund or vest. The primary concern is to conceal the bit of white shirt fabric that will show between your bottom coat button and your waistband.

Slim Fit Tuxedo, Tony Bowls, notch lapel, Manhattan

A black fullback vest accompanies the Manhattan Slim Fit Tuxedo and is a classy accessory choice.

2. Thou shall never button all the buttons on your tuxedo coat. The only exception to the rule is when wearing a one button tuxedo. On two, three or four button tuxedo styles, the bottom button should always remain unbuttoned.

3. Thou shall not wear a belt with your formal tuxedo trousers. In fact, tuxedo pants should not have belt loops… ever.

4. Pleated front shirts are not necessary. Although they are more formal and traditional, oftentimes a man looks best in a microfiber, plain front shirt with a laydown collar.

formal shirt, microfiber

The modern look of the clean, non-pleated front and tapered sides of the Microfiber Formal Shirt creates a flattering silhouette.

5. When wearing a bow tie with a wing collar shirt, the wings should fall behind the bow tie.

formal shirt, bow tie, wing tip

The wing tips on a formal shirt lay behind your bow tie.

6. Thou shall wear formal shoes with your tuxedo ensemble – preferably a patent leather shoe style.

formal shoe, tuxedo shoe, patent leather

The Black Dunbar Formal Shoe: comfortable, stylish and an absolute must to wear with any tuxedo.

7. When wearing a cummerbund with your tuxedo, the pleats should face upwards.

8. Thou shall wear a pocket square. They are a must to complete any formal ensemble.  Choose a white satin pocket square with a black bow tie for a classic look, or choose a colorful tie and pocket square to liven up your look.

pocket square, tuxedo

Add a splash of color to your tuxedo with a coordinating pocket square.

9. Don’t be afraid to add color to your ensemble with the use of formal accessories. Unless you’re attending a White Tie function where pique’ accessories are required, colored accessories are fair game. It’s not necessary to match, but you shall try to at least coordinate with your date’s attire.

tuxedo color, fullback vest, formal wear color

Color coordination with your date makes the two of you look terrific for a night out on the town.

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

11. Thou shall not wear pants with cuffs. Traditionally, formal trousers should have a satin stripe down the side of the pant, and they should feature a straight leg hem.

12. Thou shall wear white and ivory dinner jackets only during the warmer months (Memorial Day to Labor Day) unless you are visiting or live in a warm weather climate.

dinner jacket, black trousers, James Bond look

The classic formal wear ensemble for events between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

13. Know your dress code definitions: White Tie Invited, Black Tie Invited, Black Tie Preferred. If you think the organizers of an event meant something else, do not be embarrassed to inquire, since it would be far more embarrassing to show up in the wrong attire.

14. Smile; you’re going to look great in your tuxedo!

Top 5 Tuxedo Trends at the 2014 Oscars

If you were tuned into the 86th Annual Academy Awards, you likely noticed some new (and some old) formal wear trends on the red carpet.  Any of these classic or fashion-forward Hollywood choices can add style to your upcoming wedding or prom. Here’s the top 5 in no particular order…

1. White Dinner Jackets – Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey chose to stand-out from the sea of black tuxedos with a white dinner jacket and black formal pants. Whether you pair the ensemble with a classic black bow tie and cummerbund or colorful accessories, it’s a great look for Spring and Summer weddings and proms.

Dinner Jacket, black formal pants, James Bond

Jared Leto stands out in a classic dinner jacket formal ensemble.

dinner jacket, James Bond
Resemble Mr. Bond… A classic dinner jacket look is available for rental from your nearest Jim’s Formal Wear Retailer.

2. Black Bow Ties – Hallelujah! Bow ties are back… and there was no shortage of them on the red carpet this year.  It’s an accessory that has always remained in style, but with the popularity of Windsor Ties in the last few years, we haven’t seen much of them on the runway. You can bet that bow ties are here to stay, since they add style and sophistication to any tuxedo ensemble.

bow tie, tuxedo

Leonardo DiCaprio sports the timeless black satin bow tie – a staple of men’s formal attire for more than a century.

tuxedo, bow tie, black satin

Concerned about being in style? You can’t go wrong with a black satin bow tie. Ever. Here, it’s shown with the Tony Bowls Manhattan.

 3. Slim Fit Tuxedo Styles – Bradley Cooper looked impeccable in his slim fit tuxedo with peak lapels. Not only did his tuxedo jacket fit perfectly, but his slim fit pants were the ideal length… without that bunchy fabric look at the top of his formal shoe. Slim fit tux styles can work for a variety of body shapes! You don’t have to be shaped like a stick to make it work. If you prefer your garments to “fit” your body, a slim fit styling may be the correct choice for your next formal event.

slim fit tuxedo, Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper dons a Slim Fit Tuxedo on the red carpet. Despite what the name might imply, Slim Fit Tuxedos can be worn by most body types with a flattering effect!

slim fit tuxedo, Super 130's fabric

Not only is the Tony Bowls Manhattan one of our best renting slim fit styles, it is also tailored of Super 130′s fabric which makes it one of the most comfortable tuxedos styles we offer.

4. Slate Blue Tuxedo – There’s no better way to stand out from the crowd than with a colored tuxedo. Kevin Spacey did just that with a slate blue tuxedo with black satin lapels. He paired his tuxedo with black classic accessories, but you should not be afraid to use colorful ties or vests to make a splash.

burberry tuxedo, slate blue, Kevin Spacey

As a stylish alternate to black, Kevin Spacey wore a deep blue tuxedo to the Oscars.

slate blue tuxedo, Aspen, burberry

5. Skinny Lapels – Long gone are the days of the wide lapel. I mean, let’s be serious, Dumbo’s ears had some stiff competition back in the 90’s. But those fly-away lapels have since been replaced with slimmer options. Choose a skinny shawl lapel for a super sleek look that will elongate your body. It’s sure to make every gentleman in your party look great.

Slim Fit Tuxedo,skinny lapels,hawl

Ethan Hawke’s tuxedo choice for the evening was a black tuxedo with skinny, shawl lapels.

 

shawl lapel,skinny lapel

The Stephen Geoffrey Cyprus, available from your nearest Jim’s Formal Wear Retailer, features stylish and slimming satin shawl lapels.

The Academy Award Celebration was a wonderful night to root for your favorite stars and get a look at today’s most popular trends in men’s formal attire.