Tips and Advice for Wearing a Tuxedo

I'm not accustomed to wearing a tuxedo. Do you have any fitting tips to help me?

You can count on your Jim's Formal Wear Retailer to ensure that your tuxedo fits properly before you leave their store. However, here are the answers to some fitting questions we commonly receive.

What are the differences in Fit?

Traditional Fit

A classic, fuller cut tuxedo.

Modern Fit

Fashion-forward styling with a flattering silhouette.

Slim Fit

Contemporary styling with a slimming appearance.

Ultra Slim Fit

Trim and tapered styling; fits close to the body.

Tuxedo Coats

Button your jacket!

During a fitting, make sure you button your jacket. If it produces a very defined hour glass shape, the coat may be too tight. If it looks 'boxy,' it may be too big. No matter whether you are slim, stocky or muscular, a properly fitted jacket will taper just slightly at the waist.

How many buttons should be buttoned?

You should never button all of the buttons on your tuxedo coat! As a general rule, you should leave the bottom button undone. This rule applies if you are wearing a two, three, four or five button coat. If you're wearing a one button style, however, you should button the one button!

Pay attention to your shoulders...

The shoulder padding of your tuxedo jacket should not extend beyond the tip of your shoulders and hang down your arm. If so, your jacket is too big! Conversely, if a significant crease or roll appears below the jacket collar in back, your jacket may be too small.

Formal Trousers

The pant leg should break where?

The perfect length pant leg breaks slightly on top of the shoe and angles a bit downward. To properly judge the fit of your trousers, you should wear your formal shoes when trying on your pants.

Your trousers' waistband...

Our formal trousers come with an adjustable waist band of three inches. Fear not, your pants won't be too tight! With the adjustable waist band, you'll have some flexibility and a comfortable fit. On a properly fitted pair of formal trousers, the waistband should be even with the gentleman's navel.

Formal Shirts

How much shirt sleeve should we see under the coat?

Shirt sleeves should extend one quarter to one half inch beyond the jacket's sleeves.

A properly fitted collar...

A formal shirt collar should wrap smoothly around the neck. If you can slip more than one finger between the collar and your neck, your shirt is too big. If no fingers fit, your shirt is too small.

Do the wing tips go above or behind a bow tie?

The tips or flaps on a wing collar shirt should sit BEHIND your bow tie; not on top of it.

Formal Shoes

What color of shoes should I wear?

Allow your pants color to dictate your shoe color. Black formal shoes and socks should be worn when your tuxedo pants are black. When your tuxedo pants are white, choose white formal shoes and socks. Likewise, follow that rule for ivory and chocolate...

Wearing formal shoes with your tuxedo is the best choice... always!

Any old pair of black leather shoes are not appropriate with a tuxedo. Black patent formal shoes are the best way to go!

Be sure to wear the correct color socks, too. Black socks with a black tuxedo, white socks with a white tuxedo, ivory socks with an ivory tuxedo and brown socks with a brown tuxedo. We have all the colors of socks you may need, so please ask your Jim's Formal Wear Retailer to order!


Rules for the bottom button on a fullback vest

If your vest is a five or six button fullback vest, it is OK to un-button the bottom button. This also keeps the vest from bunching when you sit down. If the vest has four or less buttons, all buttons should remain buttoned.

Cover up your waistband with a vest or cummerbund

Whether you are wearing a fullback vest or a cummerbund, both should cover the top waistband of your formal trousers when worn properly. Make some adjustments if they ride up higher on your torso.

When to wear suspenders

You may wear suspenders with a cummerbund. However, you should not wear suspenders with a vest unless you desperately need them to help keep your pants up!

The pleats on your cummerbund

Cummerbunds are worn with the pleats facing up. It's said they are worn that way to hold your opera tickets and catch any crumbs that fall in your lap during dinner!

Wearing flowers on your tuxedo jacket

A boutonniere should be worn on the left lapel and tilted slightly outward.

How to fold a pocket square

We have an informative video showing you five different methods to fold a pocket square! You'll find it on our ' View Our Videos' web page.