A tuxedo is tailoring at its most elegant and sophisticated. Designed to be worn for life’s smartest occasions - a fancy dinner, wedding, or full-blown gala - the tuxedo has long been the sharpest choice ever since it was first put on the map by New York’s high society members in the late 19th century. It’s gone through a number of subtle revisions since, but the core remains: a black or midnight blue jacket with satin lapels, and trousers with a matching stripe down the side. The finishing details, however, are up to you.
When To Wear a tuxedo
If your invite says “black tie”, that’s code for “get your tuxedo out.” While you might be able to get away with wearing a dark suit and black tie, it’s always best to go for a proper tux, complete with satin lapels and matching trousers. The kind of events you might be expected to wear one include gala dinners, weddings, parties, or other evenings of celebration. So if you invest in just one tuxedo now, you’ll be suiting yourself for countless occasions later down the road.
How To Wear a tuxedo
Traditionally there was only one way you’d wear a tuxedo: with a classic white dress shirt, black silk bow tie and patent leather shoes. But these days there are a few ways you can mix it up, which, depending on how definite the dress code is, can lend a more contemporary edge to the iconic suit.
Louche: With A Shirt
One effortless way to wear a tuxedo is by losing the bow tie. Combine the jacket and trousers with only a white dress shirt for a more relaxed, yet confident take that’s perfect for putting your own spin on “black tie optional” dress codes. To complete the more laid-back approach, finish the look with a pair of black suede loafers rather than patent leather derbies, and leave the jacket unbuttoned.
Contemporary: With A Roll Neck
This might be the coolest way to wear a tuxedo. It’s also the easiest and, by swapping the shirt for a roll neck, it takes on a certain Bond-villain feel. Opting for a sleek Merino roll neck in place of a white shirt and bow tie gives the tuxedo a more contemporary look, which is ideal for evening parties or fancy dinners. In terms of the colour palette, monochrome always works. Go for a black roll neck, complete the look with a pair of black Belgian loafers, and you’ll be good to go.
Traditionalist: With A Shirt And Bow Tie
For the most formal and traditional of invites, stick to the original way of wearing a tuxedo. Combine a black, shawl collar dinner jacket with a white dress shirt, finished with a black bow tie and silver cufflinks, and you're bound to look your sharpest. Top it off with a pair of black patent derbies, polished to perfection, and your favourite cocktail.