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The Elements of a Tuxedo
Whether it’s for your wedding day or a black tie occasion, the tuxedo is the ultimate in men’s formal wear. So what makes a suit a tuxedo? We’ll give you a hint—it’s more than just the jacket. Take a look at our guide to make sure you’ve got all the right elements to rock a tuxedo on your big day.

Tuxedo Color
Color: Tuxedos are classically black, but can be found in other dark shades, like navy. Because of the dark color, they are considered evening wear and are traditionally only be worn after 6pm.

Tuxedo Jacket
Jacket: The tuxedo jacket is a tailless dinner jacket that is usually single-breasted with one button, though other variations can be found. The lapel is faced in black silk or satin and is usually a shawl lapel, though peaked lapels are also acceptable. There may be two vents in the back, but no vents is considered the most formal style.

Trousers: The distinguishing feature of tuxedo trousers is that seams on the outside of the legs are covered by a strip of ribbon made from the same material as the lapel facing. The trousers are high-waisted and worn with suspenders rather than a belt. They are not cuffed and typically flat-front, though pleats are acceptable.

Third Piece: The third piece of a tuxedo may be either a formal waistcoat or cummerbund. A tuxedo waistcoat (vest) is cut differently than that of a normal three-piece suit in order to show off the formal shirt underneath. A cummerbund is a pleated sash that wraps around the waist and fastened in the back. It is worn with the pleats facing upward.

Evening Shirt: The formal shirt worn with a tuxedo has a decorated panel in front that features either vertical pleats or pique. It has decorative studs rather than buttons, with only three or four to a shirt. The sleeves have French cuffs that fasten with cufflinks. It may have either a wing collar or turndown collar.

Bow-tie: Bow-ties are generally worn with tuxedos, and may be tied in several styles, such as butterfly, thistle, straight-end, or pointed.

Shoes: Formal pumps (also called court shoes or opera shoes) are the most formal footwear with a tuxedo and feature a bow or ribbon rather than laces. Black balmoral oxford dress shoes can also be worn. Either option should have a high shine (usually patent leather).

Pocket Square: A pocket square, usually made of white silk, is worn in the pocket of the tuxedo jacket. It may be folded in any style.