It’s always better to over-dress than to under-dress.
This one right here is one trend that took the Fashion Industry by storm with its revival in the recent past. Not everyone gets an opportunity to put on a Tuxedo. Consider yourself lucky if you’ve ever put it on. On the other hand, there’s a lot of confusion as to what they’re supposed to look like. So, what makes a tuxedo a Big Deal?
Whether buying tuxedos or writing about them, I love men’s formal wear. If it’s traditional, modern or fashion tuxedos, there’s a place for all formal wear in today’s culture. I’m dedicated to seeing men’s tuxedos stay in the public eye, and accessible to the public, for any occasion they’re warranted. For the special occasions in life, Formal is Normal!
White – Tie vs Black – Tie
In our gloriously dressed past, the lives of many men included a variety of events to which black tie and white tie were worn. Through most of the past century, formal referred to white tie and tails, and semiformal referred to dinner jackets, tuxedos, and other forms of black tie. Now, alas and totally alack, formal is generally taken to mean tux, and semiformal is taken to mean dark suit.
With this you might get the basic idea. Though, I shall be writing about White-Tie real soon. Till then, bear with me and get to know more about Black-Tie in this article.
What makes a proper Tuxedo?
First and foremost, tuxedos are not suits. Ahoy! They both involve jackets and trousers made from matching materials, but the garments serve different purposes. On one hand, Suits are a bit more casual and appropriate for daytime wear to the office, out to lunch, and that sort of thing.
Tuxedos (Black-Tie), on the other hand, are Semi-Formal, are classically referred to as dinner clothes, and are to be worn exclusively in the evening. If you’re invited to a Black-Tie event, that means; Thee must wear a Tuxedo!
With a basic Tuxedo, men don’t have the sartorial freedom they do with a business suit. You gotta put on a Tuxedo, there a set of guidelines you must have, in tune with its history as a non-sporty garment.
Here are some pointers for the first-time tux buyer:
Très importante is the fitting. Since, Tailored Suits are quite expensive and it might not fit your budget, you get an option to buy Company-stitched(ready-made) suits. You gotta keep in mind to give them your measurements and ask them to alter your suits accordingly. Lastly, once the suit is altered, check if it completely fits you!
- The Tuxedo Jacket
A tuxedo jacket is a tailless dinner jacket made of black or midnight blue worsted wool, with lapels’ facing covered in black silk. There are two options for Jacket Style; Single-Breasted and Double-Breasted with three collar options for both; Notch Lapel, Peak Lapel and Shawl-Collar.
- It is totally up to you as to what Jacket Style you want to buy. If you ask me, hands I’d go for a Single-Breasted Tuxedo and not the other since I find it more elegant.
- As far as the facing is concerned, Satin silk provides a smooth, high-luster surface that emphasizes the lapels. Grosgrain, with its ribbed texture, is subtler and less reflective. Both are equally acceptable. Since your neck-wear will match your lapels, be aware that a satin facing means a shinier bow tie as well.
- Peaked Lapel is the Formal style among the three but the other two are equally acceptable. In both, Peaked and Notch Lapels, the left lapel should have a working button hole so that a boutonnière may be worn.
- For the slimmest silhouette and strictest formality, a non vented jacket is preferred. However, double vents are acceptable as they also add elegance to the style but single vent is a big no-no, as they are way too casual.
- The sleeve must have four touching buttons and they should all match.
2. The Trousers
The trousers must be of the same material as the jacket. Well, there are two ways two get to the trousers; 1. You go for normal trousers; 2. You go for typical trousers.
- Normal trousers are pretty darn straightforward, but the catch here is that it must not have loops, since, You are not supposed to wear a belt. No! NO! Th
ey must also be high-waisted (NO low-waist, plis! -_- ) so that the waist covering (either a waistcoat or cummerbund) can cover the waist fully. Suspenders are optional.
- As far as typical trousers are concerned, the outer seams are concealed beneath a strip of ribbon (called the “braid”) made from the same material as the jacket lapel facing, they do not have cuffs, and the pockets are usually accessed by vertical slits at the back edge of the braid. Pleats are optional, but plain fronts will give the most elegant look.
3. The Shirt
The shirt that accompanies a tuxedo should always be plain white. What’s different?
- There are two collar options for you: turn-down collar (traditional point collars) and wing collars. The wing collar reveals the band of the bow tie going around the neck.
- You can also select either a plain front or a pleated front (go for it, I say). No matter the shirt you choose, however, it needs to have French cuffs finished off with cuff links.
It should go without saying, but your shirt should always be tucked into your trousers.The bottom of the shirt should be covered by the cummerbund or waistcoat.
4. The Bow-Tie
The tie from which black tie takes its name should, of course, be black, and the material should match the jacket lapel facings. Try not use a pre-tied model! (Alright, guilty as charged! But I’m in the process of learning 😛 ) There are different bow-tie styles; Butterfly, Semi-Butterfly, Straight-end, Pointed etc etc. Suit yourself, I won’t babysit you on this one!
5. The Shoes
Traditionally, the shoes worn with Tuxedo were called Court Shoes, now referred to as Opera Pumps. These are the classic footwear that must be worn. Such a fancy name, huh!? What’s the deal? Opera Pumps are basically slip-ons made of patent leather or highly-polished calfskin, with a black grosgain ribbon on the top. If the ribbon has a bow tied in it, with a band lengthwise across the center, it is called a pinched bow pump, while a pump with only a flat ribbon crossing the top is called a flat bow pump. These formal shoes are the ideal complement to a tuxedo, but as they are expensive (and by expensive I mean, VERY!) and single-purpose, many men shy away from purchasing them.
It is then when comes in The Oxfords. A pair of highly-polished oxfords are also acceptable. For all the other shoe styles, visit this. Personally, I had gone with oxfords as pumps look way too matured and yes, they’re EXPENSIVE!
With the jacket, trousers, waist covering, shirt, and shoes done right, you’re good to go. But, the finishing touch. To add more elegance to your style there are a few accessories you might want to go for, like; The Pocket Square and The Boutonnière. You might also go for a Fedora or Homburg Hat. Top Hat and gloves are strictly meant for White-Tie and Tails.
Looking over this article, you may think black tie attire sounds awfully strict — and if you want the gold standard, with everything done just right, it is. Lastly remember to have a kempt, neat hairstyle and beard as well.
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