Tuxedos, suits and men's formal wear

Fubu_brown_tuxedoWhen choosing a tuxedo for your wedding, you need to take certain key aspects into account. The first consideration is whether you actually want to wear a tuxedo or would rather wear a suit.

A suit, an alternative to a tuxedo

The main differences are that a tuxedo has satin on the lapel, satin-covered buttons and a satin stripe down the pant legs. It may also have a satin trim on the pockets and a satin stripe down the side of the jacket. The lapels usually have more unusual designs. Tuxedo pants are never worn with a belt (wear braces if you are worried they might fall down!). A tux can be worn with either a bow tie or a long tie, and with a vest or a cummerbund (vests are popular choices amongst modern grooms). Many US grooms choose tuxedos for themselves and their groomsmen, as it is a simple, elegant, classic style that never goes out of fashion.

Baroni_tan_suitIn comparison, suits do not have satin anywhere on them, and are usually in more simple designs, with either a notch or peak lapel. They are made in either wool or polyester, and in striped or solid colored fabrics. Grooms may choose to wear a suit, the ideal choice for young, hip grooms who are planning a more informal wedding. The suit has come into fashion for weddings in recent years, and offers a practical alternative for the modern groom, particularly one on a budget or who wants to make his own fashion statement. If you want the height of fashion, go for a suit by Hugo Boss, Armani or Prada. Try a light-colored suit for a beach or outdoor wedding. Shirts to be worn with suits often have a front pocket, whereas tuxedo shirts never have pockets.

In general, it is wise to discuss preferences with your bride once you have both decided on the style of your wedding. If she is planning to pull all the stops out with a show-stopping, romantic bridal gown, you may prefer to choose the timeless appeal of a tuxedo. If she plans to wear an informal, funky wedding dress, you may prefer the modern feel of a suit. The choice is yours.

Choosing the fabric, color and style

Here we are talking about tuxedos, so the next thing to bear in mind is the color: the most popular tuxedo color is black, but colors like white, tan, blue, light gray, brown and ivory are also popular, depending on the wedding venue, time of ceremony, chosen color scheme, and the color of the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses. If you are buying a tux, remember that a black one can be used again at other formal “black tie” events, but other colors such as gray or white can generally only be used for weddings.


The fabric is also important, with 100% worsted wool suiting being a popular choice. A natural fiber, wool is lightweight, wrinkle resistant, breathes well and is very comfortable to wear. Polyester, an artificial fiber, is more often used to make white and ivory tuxedos.


The lapels on tuxedo coats vary greatly. There are three basic styles, known as notch, peak and shawl. More atypical lapel styles include diamond-shaped, layered or satin edged. Another style that is gaining in popularity and ideal for fashion conscious grooms is the mandarin collar jacket, also known as the Mao or Nehru jacket, with a high rounded neckline and band collar.

 tuxedo_notch_lapel  tuxedo_peak_lapel tuxedo_shawl_lapel 

A typical tuxedo jacket measures 32 inches from collar to tail, but they may be longer, depending on current trends. Jackets reaching just above the knee or just below are currently in fashion for trendsetters who want tradition with a different feel.

Traditional tuxedos have one or two buttons, but jackets with three or four buttons are also available. It is worth remembering that the higher the buttons and the more there are, the less will be seen of the tie, vest and shirt underneath.

Accessorizing your tux

A tuxedo can be worn with a huge variety of matching colored vests and ties, depending on the colors of your wedding. The bride will usually discuss the colors with the groom before he orders tuxedos and accessories (she is usually the one who makes this decision, although it is only right to take the groom’s preferences into consideration!). Although a whole rainbow of colors is available, many grooms prefer black or silver accessories as they coordinate with the bride’s gown.


Different shirts are also available depending on the look you want to achieve: choose from collared shirts, pleated-front shirts, ribbed shirts and French cuffs (you will need cufflinks for this style, this could be a good gift for your groomsmen.



You need to choose between a long tie and a bow tie. One option is for the groom to wear a long tie, and the groomsmen wearing bow ties; this is a way of distinguishing the groom from the rest of the party. A matching handkerchief or pocket square adds the finishing touch. Cummerbunds are now starting to go out of fashion for weddings but are another option.

Accessories worn with tuxedos are usually made of satin or silk, and are not worn with suits.


Last but not least, the shoes to be worn with a tuxedo should be made of patent leather, picking up on the sheen of the satin trim, and shoes to be worn with a suit are usually made of matte leather.


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